A German study has found that acupuncture can improve exercise tolerance in patients suffering from chronic heart failure. Dr. Johannes Backs, is the study director at Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany. Dr. Backs said: ‘ This is the first indication that acupuncture may improve exercise tolerance in CHF patients- when given in addition to optimised standard heart failure medication.’
It was a small study, that included 17 stable patients with chronic heart failure receiving conventional medication. The patients in the acupuncture group were given ten acupuncture treatments using acupuncture points which boost general strength according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. From a Western medical perspective these points are also known to influence the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and inflammation markers. The control group was treated with special placebo needles that simulate a needle prick but do not break the skin. The patients who received acupuncture increased their six-minute walk test by an average distance of 32 meters. They recovered more quickly and tended to feel less exhausted.
This study is published in the medical journal Heart.