Heart Health Matters: Supporting Cardiovascular Wellness with Acupuncture 

 February 22, 2024

By  Steve Hoffman

As muscles go, the human heart is one of the most vital for health. No vacations for this workhorse muscle system! Unlike other muscles that take breaks when not in use, like legs, such as legs when a person is lying down, the heart never stops pumping. Not only is the work of the heart unceasing, but it is also critically important. Other movements can be managed with co-occurring tendons or outside supports: not the heart. The heart must circulate blood constantly and consistently to maintain well-being. Blood flows from the heart, delivering oxygen and nutrients.

Heart health, therefore, is critical. There are many diseases and problems that can occur in the heart in people of any age. Heart disease alone accounts for about 20% of all deaths in the US. Worldwide, the rate is nearer to 30%. Thus, it is incumbent on all people concerned about avoiding illness to be aware of ways to support their cardiac health.

One often overlooked option is acupuncture. Acupuncture can promote cardiac wellness and an additional means of treating heart issues when performed by a trained professional.

How Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture is a treatment that can work on any part of the body, based on centuries-old Chinese practice and study. Specifically, acupuncture effectively improves blood circulation, reduces stress, and manages common cardiovascular issues. Other symptoms of heart illness that can be addressed with acupuncture include anxiety/depression, pain, numbness, weakness, irregular pulse, swelling, weakness, fatigue, and persistent cough. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting, see a medical professional immediately or call 911.

Not only does acupuncture address the symptoms of heart disease, but it can also address the risk factors and lifestyle changes that can help alleviate, prevent, or recover from cardiac events.

Acupuncture and Lifestyle Changes

There is a significant amount of research about ways to support heart health. One of the most critical is being smoke-free. Which sounds well and good, except quitting a long-term addiction isn’t exactly the easiest journey. Acupuncture can help! Not only can treatment from professionals help with cravings, easing the withdrawal process, but acupuncture can also encourage the body to release positive chemicals, deepen rest, and help the body clear chemicals.

The American Heart Association also suggests eating heart-healthy foods such as those high in fiber, lowering sugar, salt, and alcohol intake, and increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Other recommendations include regular physical activity. If a person hasn’t been consistently active for some time, resuming too quickly can lead to some discomfort- which can be eased with acupuncture! Additionally, if the reason for avoiding physical activity is joint pain- you guessed it! Acupuncture is an effective form of treating osteoarthritis.

Other recommendations to improve cardiac well-being include keeping track of blood pressure and cholesterol. These should be done under the care of a professional; however, regular treatment with acupuncture has been shown to lower high blood pressure and lower LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, in randomized clinical trials.

Managing Weight and Stress

The final common suggestions for maintaining or improving heart function are managing weight and stress. These two issues often come hand-in-hand. As stress increases, some people feel too tired or overwhelmed to prepare and eat nutritious meals, or they use unhealthy treats to manage stress, either at home or in the workplace. We’ve previously discussed the benefits of acupuncture treatment on stress, discussing how it helps both the body and the mind and addressing the resultant physical effects. But acupuncture can also benefit people looking to lose weight by addressing the imbalances in the body that create cravings for unhealthy or excessive amounts of food.

Next Steps

If you suspect you have a cardiac issue, you should absolutely seek professional guidance. However, if you have already been diagnosed and want to make changes, or you’ve been warned that this is a potential outcome and want to prevent any further risk, acupuncture is an appealing option. Acupuncture can be an extremely effective tool to support these goals when performed by a trained professional. Every individual is unique, so a treatment plan needs to be personalized for each person.

Acupuncture treatment has few risks and is appropriate for patients of all ages. There are no interactions with other medications or treatments, meaning it can be performed as an adjuvant to other healing practices, including Western medicine. There is very little discomfort associated with acupuncture. Despite media portrayals of many shiny needles, most patients report that they feel little to no pain during or after treatment.

Acupuncture is a safe, effective treatment and preventative for all cardiac ailments. If you’ve been concerned about your heart health and want to make more progress than simply taking pills, consider speaking to an acupuncture professional about how their care could improve, benefit, and assist you in meeting your wellness goals.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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