Acupuncture lowers blood pressure in mild hypertension patients: a randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded pilot trial

Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):658-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.06.014. Epub 2015 Jul 15.


Objectives: To preliminarily assess the effects of acupuncture on prehypertension and stage I hypertension, and to provide data for further research.

Design: A randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded study with an 8-week intervention period and a 4-week follow-up.

Interventions: Participants were patients with systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 120-159mmHg or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 80-99mmHg.Thirty participants were allocated to acupuncture group or untreated control group at a 1:1 ratio. The acupuncture group received standard acupuncture twice weekly for 8 weeks, and was followed-up for 4 weeks after treatment; the control group did not receive any type of anti-hypertensive treatment for 12 weeks.

Main outcome measures: Primary outcome measure was SBP and DBP at post-treatment. The secondary outcomes were SBP and DBP at follow-up; Euro Quality of life (EQ-5D), heart rate variability (HRV), body mass index (BMI), and blood lipid profile.

Results: DBP (-5.7mmHg; P=0.025), but not SBP (-6.0mmHg; P=0.123), was significantly different between groups at post-treatment. Both DBP (-7.8mmHg; P=0.004) and SBP (-8.6mmHg; P=0.031) were significantly different at follow-up. Among the HRV indices, only high frequency power was significantly different between groups at weeks 4 and 8 (P=0.047 and P=0.030, respectively). There were no differences between groups in EQ-5D, BMI or lipid profile.

Conclusion: The results of this study show that acupuncture might lower blood pressure in prehypertension and stage I hypertension, and further RCT need 97 participants in each group. The effect of acupuncture on prehypertension and mild hypertension should be confirmed in larger studies.

Trial registration: KCT0000496.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Blood pressure; Heart rate variability; Prehypertension; Stage I hypertension.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prehypertension / physiopathology
  • Prehypertension / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Lipids