Acupuncture therapy will be provided to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. The mild to moderate hypertensive patients will not be on hypertensive medications. The course last for 8 weeks and the frequency is once a week.
Improvement in BP control rates would lead to one of the largest impacts in improving life expectancy and the quality of life for over 100 million people in the United States and 1 billion people worldwide with immediate and measurable results. In the United States, 80% of patients with HTN are treated, but BP is controlled in only half of these individuals, with control worsening with increasing age1,2. The reasons for inadequate treatment and BP control are complex, but one reason for this therapeutic misalignment may be an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development and progression of HTN. The aging process leads to dysfunction of the ANS, resulting in neuroendocrine abnormalities and chronic low-grade inflammation.
The investigators have previously shown that electroacupuncture (EA) at four targeted acupoints, can decrease sympathetic activity [sympathoinhibitory (SI)], approaching levels close to those present prior to onset of HTN and may address this unmet need in HTN management. The investigators are now testing and have preliminary evidence that EA at two additional acupoints (SP6-7) increases parasympathetic activation, thereby decreasing circulating and tissue inflammatory biomarkers [thus anti-inflammatory (AI)] and when combined with SI-EA can improve measures of vascular health including endothelial function and arterial stiffness in preclinical model with overall greater reduction in BP. Together these combined six acupoints, when simultaneously activated by EA may restore optimal autonomic control of the immune system and target an important mechanistic pathway not addressed by BP-lowering pharmacotherapy alone.