Q: My doctor recently prescribed atenolol for high blood pressure. The day after I started on atenolol, I felt ill. When I went back to my doctor, he asked if I had ever tried acupuncture. I had not, but I was willing to try anything.

Immediately after the procedure I felt no better, but by the third day, when I got out of bed I felt like I had risen from the dead. It has been more than a week, and I still feel better than I have in years. I do not know how much this improvement is due to acupuncture, but I am grateful.

Answer: Acupuncture is most often used to help people cope with pain, but one study of 32 people found that acupuncture lowered blood pressure significantly from baseline (Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2012). Nitric-oxide levels in the blood also increased. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure.

This study is preliminary, small and not placebo-controlled. Still, it’s an interesting finding. We are glad you got benefit. You may need to continue with acupuncture sessions to keep your blood pressure under control. A single treatment of any sort does not reverse hypertension.

Originally posted On People’s Pharmacy