New Integrative Medicine for Arrhythmia: Electroacupuncture Vs. Traditional Acupuncture in the 21st century

Arrhythmia is the sporadic fluttering of the heart rate that usually lasts 30 seconds, 1 minute or longer. Fatal arrhythmia occurs in association with coronary heart disease, blockage problems in the arteries and valve problems included. Often this is the result of intense physical exertion and becomes even more lethal when combined with drug intoxication as in most cases. Another term for the malignant arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation. Though considered by many as non-threatening and treatable, the symptoms when taken for granted can be fatal. Alternative medicine has paved the way for it to be treated by undergoing acupuncture therapy. Western medicine having reviewed the effective application and documentation of age old Eastern medicine in treating medical conditions has sought to conduct the clinical testing of acupuncture effectively and for some improve the results by combining the old with new technologies.


Clinical studies done and published by the Shanghai Research Center for Acupuncture and Meridians last 2009 have shown the effective of use of traditional acupuncture for cardiac arrhythmia. 

Acupuncture is defined as a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with hair-thin needles of varying lengths to stimulate certain points on the body or acupoints. Having originated in China, this therapy has been used for thousands of year which with the stimulation of specific acupuncture points, which is said to correct imbalance in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians. The balance provides the patient overall wellness and calm bringing vitality back in ones’ life.

In a published abstract by Van Wormer AM, Lindquist R, Sendelback SE of the University of Minnesota last 2008, it was said that according to eight studies reviewed, 87% to 100% of participants converted to normal sinus rhythm after undergoing traditional acupuncture.

Further studies would need to be done for acupuncture to be declared more viable intervention in Western medicine. There is a significant need for standards to be set in treatment protocols, including but not limited to diverse patient population and extensive patient follow-up for long term beneficial effects.

On the other hand, Integrative medicine, also called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the last two decades has noticed the increased appreciation and patronage of integrative medical therapies in various health care treatments. 


Electroacupuncture is defined as a form of acupuncture where the use of electric current is made to pass between pairs of acupuncture needs. A more scientific term being used is percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS).

For the time being, there is no sufficient scientific evidence supporting the safety nor efficiency of the said procedure.

Recent studies conducted both in China and in North America show the potential of treating patients with Electroacupuncture. It is said that in the future, this may serve as a replacement for antiarrhythmic in patients who do not want to undergo the traditional form of treatment through drugs which cause several serious side effects.



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