According to a recent article in Cardiology Journal, approximately 6.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from symptomatic cardiac disease—usually involving fatigue and chest pain. For most of these Americans, drug therapy or surgical procedures like cardiac bypass or angioplasty will cure their suffering. However, about 5 to 15 percent of cases cannot be helped by standard therapies. Those who continue to suffer with chest pain are known to have “Refractory Angina Pectoris” or simply RAP (also known as “Intractable Angina Pectoris” or IAP). For these people, there is no clear cure.
While there are numerous, new experimental methods of helping, from spinal stimulators to the latest drugs, there is a very old therapy that has also shown to help reduce pain: Acupuncture.
In a 2005 study, researchers at Liaocheng Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Shandong, China randomly divided up 70 RAP patients into two groups of 35 each. The control group received the standard medications including nitric acid, beta blockers, calcium antagonists, aspirin and heparin. The study group received the same drugs and acupuncture once daily for 10 consecutive days. The group that received the addition of acupuncture improved significantly over the group that only received drug therapy on measures of perceived pain (89% vs. 60%), electrocardiogram readings (63% vs. 31%) and even sudden death (6% vs. 20%). The researchers concluded that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for reducing angina symptoms when used in conjunction with medications.