What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the heartbeat becomes irregular — increasing the risk of stroke and heart diseases. Irregular heartbeat — also known as arrhythmia — occurs when the electrical signals of the heart are not working properly. Arrhythmia can be harmless in many cases, but if an abnormality occurs and results in weakness or damaged hearts, arrhythmia can lead to severe and sometimes fatal problems. Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke or other heart-related complications.

What happens during Atrial Fibrillation?

With an irregular heartbeat, the upper two chambers of the heart beat out of coordination with the two lower chambers or ventricles of the heart. Although atrial fibrillation isn’t always life-threatening, it should be considered as a serious medical condition that will sometimes requires emergency treatment. If atrial fibrillation isn’t treated effectively, it can form a blood clot in the heart which eventually can flow to the organs, leading to blocked blood flow (ischemia).

Causes of Arrhythmia

The heart of a healthy person beats from between 60-100 beats per minute. Atrial fibrillation can occur due to congenital heart defects, high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, coronary artery disease, stress, sleep apnea, or rheumatic fever. With increasing age, the chances of developing arrhythmia increases. Additionally, heart diseases are increasing especially in women after menopause. Acupuncture tries to restore the balance of the flow of energy through the body and treats atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia by restoring the balance of the nervous system and hormones so that cardiovascular function can be improved.

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

The symptoms of atrial fibrillation vary from person to person. Some people have no symptom while the many of the people suffering from this condition experience a multitude of symptoms;

Let us figure out some important signs and symptoms related to atrial fibrillation:

• Palpitations
• Irregular heartbeat
• Weakness
• Reduced ability to exercise
• Fatigue
• Lightheadedness
• Dizziness
• Breathlessness
• Chest pain

Some cases of atrial fibrillation are not serious, but many individuals will have an increased risk of suffering from a stroke or cardiac arrest.

How Acupuncture Can Treat Atrial Fibrillation

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, helps in decreasing the sympathetic activation of the heart, or increased activity of the heart. It aims at restoring the sinus rhythm of the heart, so that blood clots do not form in the heart and the chance of stroke is reduced. The treatment of acupuncture involves the insertion of sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, such as PC6, Ht6, and SP4. Since this process is minimally invasive, it prevents the patient from going back into arrhythmia once a cardiovascular procedure has been done.

Acupuncture is used in conjunction with Western medicine for treating atrial fibrillation and has been found to be one of the most effective treatments. Practitioners use traditional Chinese herbal medicines to treat patients with atrial fibrillation. The advantage of using acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment is that it prevents the need to have more invasive procedures.

Acupuncture is considered as one of the best forms of alternative medicine, and a person who has suffered from atrial fibrillation can recover to a good quality of life after seeking treatment from a trained acupuncturist.

Author's Bio: 

Li Zheng is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist and a graduate of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine with 11 years of formal training, including 6 years of residency. She holds a Ph.D. in neuro science from the US and is a Harvard Medical School-trained researcher and a professor at the New England School of Acupuncture. Her two practices are located in Needham, MA and Boca Raton, FL. She has 26 years of clinical experience. Here she is sharing the information about
Acupuncture For Atrial Fibrillation