The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Acupuncture: Complementary or alternative blood pressure therapy?

    When Tufts|ebcam reviewed this topic, they concluded, “while the results of some RCT [randomized clinical trials] and case series suggest some benefits of acupuncture for managing hypertension, the results must be treated with caution because of serious methodological limitations.”

    To address these shortcomings the NIH funded a rigorously designed study titled “Stop Hypertension with the Acupuncture Research Program” (SHARP).

    Acupuncture as alternative therapy
    In SHARP, 192 people with untreated high blood pressure (140/90 to 179/109 mm Hg) were weaned off their blood pressure medicines and randomly assigned to 3 treatments.

    • Individualized traditional Chinese acupuncture
    • Standardized acupuncture at preselected points
    • Invasive sham acupuncture

    The mean decrease in blood pressure 10 weeks later didn’t differ significantly between groups. Treatments lowered blood pressure a modest 3 to 5 mm Hg.

    Acupuncture as complementary therapy
    But that’s not the end of the story. This study published after SHARP concluded that acupuncture offered “an additional benefit to ongoing treatment of hypertensive patients.”

    • 41 volunteers with blood pressures of at least 120/80 mm Hg were randomly assigned to real or sham acupuncture.
    • Treatment lasted 8 weeks.
    • The real acupuncture group showed a significant decrease in average blood pressure from 137/84 to 122/77 mm Hg.
    • That’s an 11% reduction in systolic pressure and an 8% reduction in diastolic blood pressure.

    The sham acupuncture group showed no significant change in blood pressure.

    The bottom line?
    The goal of blood pressure control is less than 140/90 mm Hg, according to the 7th Report of the Joint National Committee on the Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VII), which is associated with a decrease in cardiovascular complications. In people with high blood pressure and diabetes or kidney disease, the goal is less than 130/80 mm Hg.

    Acupuncture appears to be an option for people who are about 10% shy of achieving JNC VII blood pressure targets.

    3/17/07 14:56 JR

    Leave a Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.