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  • Writer's pictureCat Calhoun


Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80, for the most part. That's true for most of the general public, but that increases slightly for older patients. See the Blood Pressure Reference Guide at the end of this writeup for more specifics on that.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a fairly common condition caused by one or more factors. Blood pressure has to do with:

  • The amount of blood the heart pumps I think of this as hydraulic pressure. High blood volume (like when patients have kidney problems and edema) is like too much fluid in the brake lines of your car - just too much fluid for the system.

  • The resistance to blood flow in the arteries. Conditions like atherosclerosis, arterior sclerosis, and even stress will narrow the vessels, increasing pressure. This is similar to crimping a garden hose - this increases the pressure of the fluid in the hose. Atherosclerosis and arterior sclerosis will additionally stiffen the blood vessels and reduce flexibility.

Many people have hypertension for years without symptoms. . . or without recognized symptoms. This results in damage to the vessels and damage to tissues supplied by those vessels. Think about using a high powered sprayer on something delicate - it blasts it with pressure for which it was not designed. (One of my neighbors did this a few years ago - blasted a coat of paint right off of the hood of his car!) Tissues in the eyes, kidneys, and more can be damaged by the pressure, causing scar tissue and loss of function. Vessels impacted by this kind of pressure form scar tissues as well, damaging the mechanisms that keep the arteries clean.

Some symptoms of high blood pressure that might be perceived as something else:

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue and/or confusion

  • Vision problems

  • Chest pain and/or difficulty breathing

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Insomnia

There are many ways to treat hypertension. Consider herbal therapy, lifestyle changes (such as diet modifications and exercise), Qigong or Yoga, stress management, etc. These are key to lowering blood pressure. Acupuncture is adjunct help and buys time for lifestyle and herbs to begin working.

I recommend you treat these patients 2-3 times per week in addition to the changes above until the numbers come down to a healthy level.

Option 1

You could add auricular points for blood pressure and heart, PC 6 or the Xin Ling points, etc.

Option 2

This is a three needle protocol. Down and dirty, but it works!

Herbal Formulas for Hypertension

What you prescribe for hypertension is not the fix. This will help, but really it's diet and lifestyle that give the best hope for patients to be blood pressure normal and medication free. When you do have to prescribe herbs, be sure your herbal Zangfu diagnosis and differentiation is based on good information from the patient.

  • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang + Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin Long Dan Xie Gan Tang treats liver yang rising, which can result from stress, crappy diet, and poor emotional states. Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin treats heat in the liver causing wind.

  • Qi Ju Di Huang Tang + Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan Qi Ju Di Huang Tang treats and nourishes the Kidney, which is the mother of the Liver energy. When one is weak, so is the other and we're usually referring to a deficiency of Kidney and Liver yin. That allows the Liver yang to rise and causes the high blood pressure. Jia Wei Xiao Yao San is the Xiao Yao San formula with the addition of mu dan pi and zhi zi which cool the body. Jia Wei Xiao Yao San cools people down, chills them out, and helps the Liver Yang sink back where it belongs.

  • Also consider Evergreen's Gentiana Complex, Kidney DTX, and Gardenia Complex if you want a good quality patent for patients to take.


Blood Pressure Reference Guide

  • Normal: 120/80 110/80 is fine too. If the diastolic pressure is 70 that's ok too. Anything lower is sliding down toward low blood pressure or hypotension. If your patient is a very fit athlete with lower pressure, that could be ok. If the patient is age 65 or older, normal looks different. 130/80 is a good pressure for these patients.

  • Elevated blood pressure: 121-129/80 This systolic + a diastolic lower than 80 is still elevated blood pressure. This can be reversed with a healthier lifestyle. This is a warning flag! If the patient is 65 or older 130/80 is ok.

  • Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139/80-89 This patient could need herbal or pharmaceutical help plus they need to change their lifestyle. If the patient is 65+ years old, 130/80 is ok.

  • Stage 2 hypertension: 140+/90+ This is the uh-oh zone. This is toxic hypertension.

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