Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine | Cardiovascular Disease

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal medicine for cardiovascular disease

If you are interested in making an Appointment with one of our team or would simply like to see if Acupuncture may be appropriate for you, please feel free to contact the Clinic on (03) 87197373 or Book Online below 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to all diseases and conditions involving the heart and blood vessels. The main types of CVD in Australia are coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure/cardiomyopathy (1). One in six Australians are affected by cardiovascular disease, accounting for more than 4.2 million Australians (2). CVD prevalence increases with age, with 36% of Australians aged 55-64 reporting a long term CVD condition, increasing to 66% for Australians aged 75 and over. (2). However the good news is that the risk factors such as High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, weight and a sedentary lifestyle are almost all completely manageable.


Lets look at the tests for Heart conditions commonly used;


  1. Chest X-Ray
  • Whether the heart is enlarged
  • Whether there is congestion in the lungs

2. Electrocardiogram (ECG)

  • Whether you’ve had a heart attack
  • If the left ventricle is thickened (enlarged heart muscle wall)
  • If the heart rhythm is abnormal (noting any arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation)

3. Echocardiography (Echo)

  • The images produced by the echo can show how thick the heart muscle is and how well the heart pumps. This is the most common test used to assess your heart’s ejection fraction

4. Exercise Stress Test

  • Whether your heart responds normally to the stress of exercise.
  • Whether the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply your heart.
  • Can help determine the kind and level of exercise appropriate for you

5. Radionuclide ventriculography (MUGA)

  • How well the heart muscle is supplied with blood
  • How well the heart’s chambers are working
  • Whether part of the heart has been damaged by heart attack

6. Cardiac catherization 

  • Blockages in the coronary arteries are visible on the x-rays.
  • The parts of your heart that are fed by the blocked or narrowed arteries may be weakened or damaged from lack of blood.

7. MRI

  • The test can show your heart’s structure (muscle, valves and chambers) and how well blood flows through your heart and major vessels
  • MRI of the heart lets your doctor see if your heart is damaged from a heart attack, or if there is lack of blood flow to the heart muscle because of narrowed or blocked arteries



The current Gold Standard to determine a coronary occlusion (blockage) is an angiogram, which is usually only ordered after a patient fails a treadmill test or has severe angina, as angiograms are expensive and invasive. Treadmill tests can only register blood flow blockages of 70% or more so there are many people unknowingly walking around with early stage heart disease.

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine use in Heart Disease


Acupuncture is considered an ancient practice of TCM that began thousands of years ago. It has been reported to have potential effectiveness for treating cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, with few reported adverse effects (5, 6). We recommend the use of Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in heart disease starts at prevention and early stage. Our approach at Balanced Life Health Care is to working with you on reducing the risk factors such as;


  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • High stress levels


Research into Acupuncture’s effect on Heart Disease Risk Factors and Heart Disease


In research terms Acupuncture has a potential positive effect on the following risk factors (3);


High Blood Pressure (hypertension)


  • Wang (2013); Acupuncture plus medication super to sham plus medication (7)
  • Li (2014) Acupuncture plus medication superior to medication (8)
  • Shao (2015) Acupuncture plus medication superior to medication (9)




  • Esteghamati (2015); Acupuncture superior to medication, sham and lifestyle modification (10)



In research terms it is currently unclear if Acupuncture has a positive effect on Heart Disease but we do have some promising studies (3);


Heart Failure (Heart failure happens when your heart muscle gets damaged, then becomes weak and doesn’t pump properly)


  • Lee (2016); Acupuncture improved exercise capacity, quality of life, hemodynamic parameters, and time domain heart rate variability parameters (11)



Angina Pectoris (Angina is pain or discomfort that happens when your heart can’t get enough blood and oxygen)


  • Xu (2013); Acupuncture shows effectiveness rates of 80% to 92.6% without adverse effects of medication (12)

    Yu (2015); Improvement in symptoms and ECG (13)

    Zhang (2015); Acupuncture plus medication superior to medication alone in improving symptoms and ECG (14)

If you are interested in making an Appointment with one of our team or would simply like to see if Acupuncture may be appropriate for you, please feel free to contact the Clinic on (03) 87197373 or Book Online below 


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011. Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011. Cardiovascular disease series. Cat. no. CVD 53. Canberra: AIHW
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2014/2015
  3. John McDonald & Stephen Janz (2017); The Acupuncture evidence project, Found at;
  5. Xu X. Acupuncture in an outpatient clinic in China: a comparison with the use of acupuncture in North America. Southern Medical Journal. 2001;94(8):813–816. [PubMed]
  6. Napadow V, Kaptchuk TJ. Patient characteristics for outpatient acupuncture in Beijing, China. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2004;10(3):565–572. [PubMed]
  7. Wang J, Xiong X, Liu W. Acupuncture for essential hypertension. Int J Cardiol. 2013 Nov 20;169(5):317-26
  8. Li DZ, Zhou Y, Yang YN, Ma YT, Li XM, Yu J, et al. Acupuncture for essential hypertension: a meta-analysis of randomized sham-controlled clinical trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:279478.
  9. Zhao XF, Hu HT, Li JS, Shang HC, Zheng HZ, Niu JF, et al. Is Acupuncture Effective for Hypertension? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLOS ONE. 2015;10(7):e0127019
  10. Esteghamati A, Mazaheri T, Vahidi Rad M, Noshad S. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of obesity: a critical review. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Apr;13(2):e19678.
  11. Xu L, Xu H, Gao W, Wang W, Zhang H, Lu DP. Treating angina pectoris by acupuncture therapy. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2013;38(1-2):17-35
  12. Yu C, Ji K, Cao H, Wang Y, Jin HH, Zhang Z, et al. Effectiveness of acupuncture for angina pectoris: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015;15:90
  13. Zhang Z, Bai R, Zhang L, Qi W, Wang Y, Li B, et al. [Acupuncture combined with Western medicine for angina of coronary artery disease: a systematic review]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2015 Apr;35(4):407-11.