American researchers who have spent twenty years investigating the mechanisms behind acupuncture’s ability to regulate blood pressure, have now summarised their work in a review paper detailing four specific fundamental findings. They conclude acupuncture has potential to regulate cardiovascular function in patients with conditions such as hypertension, because repetitive treatment can, through a molecular mechanism, cause prolonged cardiovascular changes, far outlasting the duration of needle stimulation. Their work identifies nerve pathways through which acupuncture modifies blood pressure by reducing activity in the brain stem, in turn affecting the autonomic nervous system.
(Acupuncture regulation of blood pressure: two decades of research. International Review of Neurobiology, 2013.)