William Harvey described the circulatory system in his book published in 1628. Chinese doctors knew about the central role of the heart “ruling the vessels and pulses” at least 1500 years earlier. Careful examination of pulse opened one of the most important door into the functioning of human body providing solid basis for diagnosis. Acupuncture, as a part of Chinese Medicine, strongly influences the heart and circulation. Following article discusses the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of ischemic heart disease, irregular heartbeat  and hypertension. Fascinating molecular and neural mechanisms of increasing oxygen supply for the heart muscle, influencing the electric activity of the heart, and regulating the blood pressure are also presented.  

INTRODUCTION

Heart diseases constitute the essential problem of contemporary developed societies. Despite the continual progress in pharmacotherapy as well as invasive cardiology, the number of heart disease cases has been systematically increasing, and that is partly connected with the complex aetiology of these diseases, with non-trivial impact of life style, quality of a diet, sleep and physical activity.

It is not surprise, therefore, that patients more and more often search for treatment methods which are outside the mainstream, and which are seen as more comprehensive, including the alterations in various aspects of functioning. Acupuncture is one of these methods.

In the initial period of research on acupuncture, the primary attention was paid to its efficiency and mechanisms of activity in treating various kinds of pain. None the less, in recent dozens of years different teams of scientists have intensely been researching on the influence of acupuncture on cardiovascular system functions. Lately these researchers have published lots of articles summarizing the findings of their experiments. Additionally, the process of elaboration of most possible clinical trial protocols [free from disturbances and at the same time reflecting real therapeutic situations] has been continuing. Several of the recently published meta-analyses of current findings give hope for finding the proper methodology of research and also shows- without doubt – the vital role of  acupuncture in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Contemporary science does not only confirm that acupuncture is the effective therapeutic method, but also reveals molecular, neuro-endocrine mechanisms of its efficiency.

The following article reviews the present status of research concerning three groups of disorders

Ischaemic heart disease and angina pectoris

Western Medicine has failed to find effective methods of treatment of coronary disease so far. The efficiency of acupuncture in treatment of ischaemic heart disease manifesting as angina pectoris was proven beyond any doubt.

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Arhythmia

Already in 2008, the review of available eight controlled clinical trials was published and it concluded that 87% to 100% patients, after the acupuncture treatment, returned to their normal sinus rhythm.

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Hypertension

In 2009, American Journal of Hypertension published the meta-analysis and their elaboration proves that acupuncture is the effective complementary treatment for pharmacotherapy.

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