Hypertension is a common disease. The morbidity of adult group is about 13 - 20 %. Forty to sixty percent of patients who have hypertension have a family history of the condition. Food and dieting style seem to noticeably affect blood pressure levels. Reports show: intake of sodium, potassium, calcium, alcohol and calories will make a difference in blood pressure (Bp) Reducing sodium by 5 gm/day can bring down Bp 4 mmhg; increasing potassium 60 mg/day can bring down Bp by 4% (after four weeks). Taking 600 mg of calcium as a daily supplement can also lower Bp 4%. Smoking, alcohol and obesity increase blood pressure.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.) has its own view, theory and treatments for hypertension. Besides regular differentiation and herbal treatment, acupuncture and qigong exercise offer more options for helping hypertension. According to T.C.M. theory, the onset of hypertension is closely related to the excess of seven emotions, sex, and food and body aging. These cause liver Yang ascending, Liver and kidney deficiency, and Chong and Ren meridians imbalance. The main clinical manifestations are headaches, dizziness, red face, palpitation, chest suffocation, numbness in limbs and insomnia.
The following are principals of T.C.M treatment:
1. Subdue the Ascendant Liver Yang: This can relax the nervous system and relieve the symptoms. (Tian Ma Gou Ting Ying) is an effective formula which helps lower Bp and heart beat rate, dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the heart and brain.
2. Clearing Phlegm and Dampness: Accumulating phlegm and dampness in the body system can aggravate Bp level. (Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang) has the effectiveness of lowering Bp for this category.
3. Invigorating Blood and Removing Stasis: Some herbs can help invigorate blood circulation and remove stasis, dilate blood vessels and promote the function of platelets, which are good for people who have high blood pressure. (Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang) plus Dang Sheng, Yi Mu Cao and Zhe Lan works well for this category.
4. Tonifying Liver and Kidney: This method can control liver Yang ascending due to liver and kidney Yin deficiency. (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan) and (Yi Guang Jian) will strengthen kidney function and help lower Bp.
5. Regulating Chong and Ren meridians: More commonly used for menopausal women. Because liver and kidney deficiency cause disharmony of Chong and Ren meridians, irregular menstruation and menopausal symptoms occur. (Er Xian Tang) is reliable to help lower Bp of this type. Huang Bai and Yin Yang Huo, two herbs from the above formula are very effective for lowering Bp.
Using acupuncture to treat hypertension has had some positive results and has become popular in the acupuncture clinic. For Liver Yang Ascending choose acupoints: Liv3, G37, G34, Du20, G20, LI11, Tai Yang. For Dampness and Phlegm stagnation use: St40, LI11, Du20, Ren12, P6. For Liver and Kidney Deficiency choose: G20, P6, B23, K3, Sp6, Liv2
I will share with you one case study from my office. C.C. , a female age 57. Her initial visit was 11-15-01. She has had high blood pressure for the last 3 years. She was on high blood pressure medicine, but it didn't control well. The Bp in the right arm was 160/100 and the left arm was 165/105 mmhg. She has gained 30 lbs. during the last 3 years and is now about 60 lbs overweight. Her energy was low and she suffered from lower back pain on and off for the past 5 years. Her tongue was slight purple with a white sticky coat and pulses were very deep and weak. The differentiation was Qi and Blood deficiency and stagnation along with damp-phlegm stagnation and kidney deficiency. I gave her an herbal formula consisting of Dang Gui, Huang Qi, Gou Teng, Xi Xian Cao, Dang Sheng, Huang Qin, Fu Ling, Bai Zhu, Chuan Xuan, Du Zhong, Bai Mao Gen, and Dong Gua Pi and used acupoints: B23, 28, G30, 31, 34, St36, 40, Sp9, 6, K3.
After six visits her Bp was down to 120/75 in both the right and left arm. She is taking herbs and acupuncture to maintain the results.