Research: MACKLIN and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 141


MACKLIN and co-authors, New England Research Institutes, Inc, 9 Galen St, Watertown, MA 02472, USA, have treated high blood pressure with acupuncture.


Case studies and small trials suggest that Acupuncture may effectively treat hypertension, but no large randomized trials have been reported. The aim of this study was to fill that gap.


The Stop Hypertension with the Acupuncture Research Program pilot trial enrolled 192 participants with untreated blood pressure in the range of 140/90 to 179/109 mm Hg. The design of the trial combined rigorous methodology and adherence to principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Participants were weaned off antihypertensives before enrolment and were then randomly assigned to 3 treatments: individualized traditional Chinese Acupuncture, standardized Acupuncture at preselected points, or invasive sham Acupuncture. Participants received up to 12 Acupuncture treatments over 6 to 8 weeks. During the first 10 weeks after random assignment, blood pressure was monitored every 14 days, and antihypertensives were prescribed if it exceeded 180/110 mm Hg.


The mean blood pressure decrease from baseline to 10 weeks, the primary end point, did not differ significantly between participants randomly assigned to active (individualized and standardized) versus sham acupuncture. Categorizing participants by age, race, gender, baseline blood pressure, history of antihypertensive use, obesity, or primary traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis did not reveal any subgroups for which the benefits of active Acupuncture differed significantly from sham acupuncture.


Active Acupuncture provided no greater benefit than invasive sham acupuncture in reducing blood pressure.


Macklin EA et al. Stop Hypertension with the Acupuncture Research Program (SHARP): results of a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Hypertension 48 (5): 838-845, Nov 2006.

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