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Acupressure for High Blood Pressure

Acupressure for High Blood Pressure

Acupressure is an effective method for managing high blood pressure. It can be used as a trick to lower blood pressure almost instantly, and it can address the issues which cause it in the first place. While consulting a health professional is necessary, acupressure can work wonderfully as a first aid fix.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is an issue which affects 1 in every 3 adults in the USA alone. Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. What makes it especially dangerous is that in most cases it does not show any symptoms.

There are a variety of reasons why hypertension can occur. Some medical conditions can result in hypertension as a symptom, and certain unhealthy habits can cause it even if you are generally healthy.

If you are suffering from hypertension, it is always recommended to consult a health professional. Acupressure, on the other hand, is excellent if you need to address hypertension, manage it, and lower it on the spot. In this article, you will learn the best acupoints for high blood pressure and how you can use acupressure to manage this condition.

The Symptoms of Hypertension

Hypertension is known as “the silent killer,” as in most cases it does not show any signs of being present. This is why many people do not even realize they have it, and thus leave it untreated.

The best way to know if you are suffering from high blood pressure is to measure it. Blood pressure is considered normal when it is 120 over 80 mmHg or lower. When elevated, it ranges from 120 to 129 over 80 mmHg.

High blood pressure starts from 130-139 over 80-89 mmHg at stage 1, and above 140 over 90 mmHg at stage 2. At its highest (higher than 180 over 120 mmHg), it is known as hypertensive crisis – and this is the only state when you might encounter noticeable symptoms.

During a hypertensive crisis, you may experience headaches and nosebleeds. Additionally, in rare and severe cases, high blood pressure may cause sweating, blushing, sleeping problems, and anxiety.

If such symptoms occur and are accompanied by a high blood pressure measurement, you should immediately consult a health professional or call 911. In the meantime, you can try to lower it by applying acupressure as a first aid fix.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure can occur without an obvious reason, as a result of stress and unhealthy habits, or because of an underlying condition. The main culprits behind hypertension are related to fluid buildup in the system (mainly due to kidney issues or high sodium content) and the thickening or hardening of the arterial walls (atherosclerosis).

These can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from lifestyle choices to medical conditions.

Risk Factors Related to Hypertension

Family history, age, gender, and race play a role in how likely you are to develop high blood pressure. Generally, there is a greater chance you will have hypertension if you have parents or close blood relatives who suffer from it, and it can occur as the result of age (being most prevalent at the age of 60 and up).

However, there are some instances which can lead to hypertension regardless of how likely you are to develop it because of hereditary or physical risk factors. These are generally related to your lifestyle and can include the following:

Smoking or tobacco use. Smoking and secondhand smoke are known to increase blood pressure temporarily, while also affecting the long-term health of the arteries.

Drinking too much alcohol. Regular and heavy use of alcohol can have a toll on your cardiovascular health and increase blood pressure dramatically. 

Stress. Too much stress can raise your blood pressure directly, while also putting you at risk of developing unhealthy habits which contribute to it.

Lack of physical activity. Physical activity is good for your cardiovascular health, and the lack thereof can contribute to its deterioration. This can lead to hypertension as one of the consequences.

An unhealthy diet, especially one high in sodium and low in potassium. Food with too much salt, high in calories, saturated and trans fats, and sugar, puts you at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

Being overweight or obese. Carrying too much weight can affect your heart and circulatory system by putting an extra strain on them. This can result in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other serious health conditions.

Underlying Conditions which Cause Hypertension

From pregnancy, conditions which can be controlled, and those which are chronic and need treatment, certain underlying conditions can lead to high blood pressure as one of their symptoms. These include:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Sleep apnea;
  • Diabetes;
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD);
  • Pheochromocytoma (a rare cancer of the adrenal gland);
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia;
  • Hyperthyroidism;
  • Hyperparathyroidism; and
  • Cushing syndrome (caused by corticosteroid drugs).

While you can use acupressure to address hypertension in most of these cases, it is generally recommended to avoid acupressure if you are pregnant, because it may induce labor.

The Science behind Acupressure and How It Can Help with High Blood Pressure

Acupressure is one of the ancient approaches to treating various health issues dating back over 3000 years. Based on the principles of acupuncture, it works by applying pressure on acupoints located on the main energy channels known as meridians.

It is a non-invasive method which helps to remove energy blockages and imbalances, and the medical community has confirmed its effectiveness in many instances. In the case of high blood pressure, acupressure has been shown to be effective by a range of studies conducted throughout the years.

Acupressure is generally seen as a first aid approach to lowering high blood pressure with immediate effects which can last from 1 to 24 hours. When combined with acupuncture or its electroacupuncture variation, one study suggests that it can even have a long-term effect on lowering hypertension, affecting the sympathetic and renin-aldosterone systems.

Acupressure helps to lower high blood pressure by addressing it directly or indirectly, and there are several acupoints which can do the job. However, despite its effectiveness, acupressure should not replace professional medical care.

Acupoints Related to High Blood Pressure

If you need immediate blood pressure relief, massaging certain acupoints can help you out. The following are the best acupoints for lowering high blood pressure:

Bigger Rushing (LV-3)

Image credit: Modern Reflexology

This is the best acupoint for lowering blood pressure. It can help reduce hypertension almost instantly, while also being useful for addressing anxiety, irritability, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, indigestion, and other issues.

It is located between the big toe and the second toe. Place your finger at the webbing and slide back one inch. You should be able to feel between the two bones.

Gates of Consciousness (GB-20)


Image credit:
Acupressurepointsguide.com

Also known as the Wind Pool, these acupoints are one of the most potent points for high blood pressure treatment. They can also be stimulated to relieve headaches and migraines, neck tension, fever, and other issues.

They are located at the base of the skull, in the hollow between the vertical neck muscles.

Hundred Convergences (GV-20)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

This is another potent acupoint for addressing hypertension. Among other things, it helps to calm the nerves, strengthen memory and concentration, and reduce headaches, dizziness, and irritability.

You can find it at the top of the head, at the center of the imaginary line drawn from ear to ear.

Crooked Pond (LI-11)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

This acupoint is another frequently used point for high blood pressure treatment. It also helps with reducing high fever, abdominal and menstrual issues, blood circulation issues, skin diseases, and other conditions.

To find it, bend your forearm toward your neck. It is located at the end of the crease at the elbow, about halfway up the side of the arm.

Inner Gate (PC-6)


Image credit:
Explore IM

Applying pressure to this acupoint helps to soothe and facilitate proper functioning of the heart and circulatory system, while simultaneously lowering hypertension. This acupoint is also useful for headaches, nausea, and vomiting, among other things.

It is located at an approximately three-fingers length above the wrist crease on the inner side of the arm.

Leg Three Miles (ST-36)


Image credit:
Smarter Healing

This acupoint is effective in the treatment of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and circulatory disorders. It also aids in tonifying the blood, treating digestive disorders, general weakness, and other health conditions.

It is located four fingers below the bottom of the kneecap, along the outer boundary of the shin bone. You will feel a muscle pop up when you move your foot up and down.

Yang Hill Spring (GB-34)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

This is another acupoint that helps to control blood pressure naturally, helping to channelize any stagnation of the liver energy. It also helps with addressing shoulder and knee pain, vomiting, and jaundice.

You can find it on the lateral side of the lower leg, in the hollow beneath the head of the fibula.

Spirit Gate (HT-7)


Image credit:
Miridia Tech

This is a vital acupressure point for hypertension, and it helps to calm stress, irritability, nervousness, and anxiety. It is also good for heart problems like pounding heart, irregular heartbeat, angina, as well as sleeping disorders, mania, and insomnia.

It is located at the wrist crease, on the radial side of the flexor carpi ulnaris tendon, between the ulna and pisiform bones.

Bubbling Spring (KD-1)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

This acupressure point helps to relieve hypertension, eliminate tension, and calm irritability, anger, and anxiety. It is also good for sleeping disorders, headaches, tinnitus, lower back pain, post-menopausal symptoms, nausea, and other conditions.

It is located on the foot sole between the second and the third toe bone, at approximately two thirds of the distance from the heel to the base of the second toe.

Union Valley (LI-04)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

Mainly used to treat various types of pain and headaches, this acupressure point can also be helpful in addressing high blood pressure. It is situated on the web between the thumb and the index finger.

How to Use Acupressure for Hypertension

Once you have managed to locate the acupoints properly, use gentle pressure to massage them for some time in order to achieve hypertension relief. To achieve successful acupressure self-treatment, follow these steps:

  1. Place your thumb or index finger on the acupoint and press gently enough to move the skin;
  2. Begin moving the finger in slow and gentle circles;
  3. Add gradual pressure with every few circles, allowing the muscle tissue to relax. If there is no muscle tissue at the acupoint, increase the pressure steadily and slowly;
  4. You should sense a dull aching sensation, but do not allow yourself to feel pain;
  5. Keep applying pressure for at least a minute;
  6. Repeat the procedure after a short break if necessary.

When You Should Be Careful with Acupressure

Acupressure is generally a harmless technique which you can perform on yourself at any time. However, you should avoid acupressure in the following circumstances:

  • If the acupoint is under scar tissue;
  • If there is a wound, swelling, or other damage to the skin;
  • If you have varicose veins;
  • If you have rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease, or spinal injury;
  • If you are pregnant (as some points may induce labor).

Regardless of its effectiveness, do not rely on acupressure as your only means of treatment. Consulting a health professional is paramount for any medical condition. Also, it is smart to consult an acupressure or acupuncture specialist before starting self-treatment.

How an Acupressure Mat Can Help with High Blood Pressure

Acupressure mats are designed to provide deep pressure to acupoints when you stand, sit or lie on them. The effects from an acupressure mat are similar, if not as effective, to those of manual acupressure, and it is recommended that you use them for at least 5-10 minutes at a time.

If you are interested in using acupressure for high blood pressure and are looking for a high-quality, long lasting acupressure mat made of eco-friendly material, check out the acupressure mat by Dosha Mat.

The Bottom Line

Acupressure is a proven method for addressing many different health issues, including high blood pressure. It can work wonderfully as a quick method for instant hypertension relief, and it can address underlying issues which may lead to it in the first place.

So, next time your measurements show that your blood pressure has risen, give this self-help method a try to lower it. However, do not replace acupressure for professional medical treatment. Hypertension can be fatal if not treated properly.

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