Atrial Fibrillation and Acupuncture

Atrial fibrillation is a condition where you have a rapid heartbeat. There is lack of coordination in the beating of the heart in the atria and ventricle. A patient experiencing atrial fibrillation feels shortness of breath, weakness, fainting and heart palpitations. Atrial fibrillation is dangerous because it causes the formation of blood clots in the cardiovascular system which could lead to other medical emergencies: heart failure, neuropathy, kidney failure, stroke, or other complications. Sometimes patients having atrial fibrillation may not have any symptoms. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation will come and go and stop on its own. Persistent and long-standing atrial fibrillation will need outside intervention to restore the rhythm. Permanent atrial fibrillation needs medications combined with alternate means of treatment such as acupuncture.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

It is the upper chambers of the heart or the atria that start to experience chaotic electrical signals that lead to the heart beating at a rate of 100 to 175 beats per minute. Atrial fibrillation may be due to congenital heart defects, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, coronary artery disease, stress, sleep apnea, or rheumatic fever. The chances of getting atrial fibrillation increases as you grow older or have previous heart problems, especially women after their menopasue. Obesity and alcoholism could also make you susceptible to atrial fibrillation. Acupuncture tries to restore the balance in the flow of energy through the body and treats atrial fibrillation by restoring the balance of the nervous system and hormones, so your heart function can be improved, especially when a person has no structural changes in their heart. Insomnia can lead to AF because your nervous system will be out of balance when you do not have sufficient sleep.

Controlling Atrial Fibrillation with Different Treatment Methods

Treatment for atrial fibrillation includes an ECG and Holter monitor to analyze the heart rhythms. Blood tests, echocardiogram, TMT, and chest x-rays are other investigations that could be undertaken to evaluate what are the real causes of atrial fibrillation. Preventative methods of treating atrial fibrillation include eating a heart healthy diet, avoiding smoking, too much coffee and drinking, being more active and fit, learning to handle stress, having deep 6 to 8 hour sleep, not being obese or overweight. Treatment is aimed at restoring the sinus rhythm of the heart so that no blood clots are formed and there is no chance of a stroke. Acupuncture treatment involves insertion of sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, such as PC6, Ht6 and SP4. This is a minimally invasive procedure which is successful in preventing the patient from going back into arrhythmia once a cardioversion procedure has been done.

The Role of Acupuncture in Treating Atrial Fibrillation

Acupuncture for atrial fibrillation has been shown in studies to result in reduction of palpitation, dyspnea, and chest discomfort. This in turn has helped patients to maintain some control over their atrial fibrillation. Acupuncture, when used in conjunction with Western medicine to treat atrial fibrillation, has been found to be really effective. Boston Acupuncture practitioners also use Chinese herbal medicines and breathing exercise with quite a bit of success. The advantage of using acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment is that it prevents the need to have more invasive procedures. Patients are able to reduce the medicines they need to take and are able to lead a reasonable quality of life.

Boston Chinese Acupuncturist has accumulated many successful stories to help patients restore a regular heartbeat and stop using blood thinner and avoid using a pacemaker. If you would like to know more about the successful cases, please go to www.bostonchineseacupuncture.org to see how acupuncture can make 80 or 90 years old have stronger heart beats without a pacemaker.

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