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“I really appreciate all the information on your website as it allows me to be a better informed patient and to know what questions to ask my EP. 

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Baltimore, MD


Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...


"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

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"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su,
Cavanaugh Heart Center, 
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"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

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"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA


Acupressure/Acupuncture

FAQ: Natural Therapies & Holistic Treatments – NEW!

Want alternatives to traditional drug therapy? We started a new Frequently Asked Questions category: FAQ: Natural Therapies & Holistic Treatment. Many A-Fib patients have questions about treatment alternatives such as naturopathic doctors and Holistic medicine as well as mind/body practices such as chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga and meditation. For questions/answers for you to browse, go to FAQ page.

FAQs Natural Therapies: Acupuncture for A-Fib

 FAQs Natural Therapies: Acupuncture

Complementary & Natural Therapies

Complementary & Natural Therapies

“What’s the research on acupuncture and Atrial Fibrillation? I’m willing to try it if it will help ease or reduce my A-Fib episodes.”

Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. It is one of the practices used in traditional Chinese medicine and is generally considered safe when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles.

Some conventional medical practitioners—including physicians and dentists—practice acupuncture.

Articles in peer-reviewed medical journals describe the successful use of acupuncture to deal with conditions as varied as cocaine dependency, hiccups, and pregnancy-related pelvic pain. Results from a number of studies suggest that acupuncture may help ease types of chronic pain and reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches.

But what about A-Fib patients? Will acupuncture help reduce Atrial Fibrillation episodes or ease symptoms? Should A-Fib patients consider acupuncture treatments?” Read on…

However, clinical practice guidelines are inconsistent in recommendations about acupuncture.

Acupuncture and Arrhythmias

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, stimulation of the Neiguan spot has been utilized to treat palpitations and symptoms related to different cardiovascular diseases.

A 2010 study found acupuncture prevents arrhythmic recurrence after cardioversion in patients with persistent A-Fib. And there’s ample evidence that acupuncture is effective in treating both hypertension and supraventricular tachycardia. The article identified three acupuncture points to be stimulated:

•  Neiguan (PC-6): used to counteract palpitations, and there’s evidence that it help restore autonomic nervous system balance.
•  Shenmen (HT-7): helps calm anxiety, heart palpitations and irregular heart beat.
•  Xinshu (BL-15): has a modulating effect on the autonomic nervous system.

They concluded: “Acupuncture treatment prevents arrhythmic recurrence after cardioversion in patients with persistent AF. This minimally invasive procedure was safe and well tolerated.”

In 2012, researchers in another study observed a similar antiarrhythmic effect in both persistent and paroxysmal A-Fib patients. Two small groups of AF patients received 10 acupuncture sessions once a week with puncturing of the Neiguan, Shenmen and Xinshu spots. (For comparison, a control group was also used as well as a “sham acupuncture” group.) Research findings, through preliminary, “strongly suggest that acupuncture may be an effective non-invasive and safe antiarrhythmic tool in the management of these patients”.

A systematic research review in 2011 looked at 10 randomised controlled trials of acupuncture treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. The researchers concluded that, despite encouraging results, there was not conclusive evidence in support of acupuncture treatment for cardiac arrhythmias.

Is Acupuncture Effective for A-Fib?

Articles in peer-reviewed medical journals describe the successful use of acupuncture to deal with a variety of medical conditions.

According to the British Acupuncture Council:

“In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.”

Do the same medical journals have conclusive evidence that acupuncture works for Atrial Fibrillation? No—not yet.

Are there early indications that acupuncture may have an anti-arrhythmic effect in patients with atrial fibrillation and warrant large-scale trials? Published studies say—Yes!

So you may want to talk with your health care providers about trying acupuncture as a non-invasive and safe treatment for your Atrial Fibrillation.

Credentials and Insurance Coverage

If you decide to visit an acupuncturist, check his or her credentials. Most states require a diploma from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for licensing.

Some insurance companies may cover the costs of acupuncture, while others may not. For more information, see NCCAM’s fact sheet Paying for Complementary Health Approaches.

References for this article

Last updated: Saturday, February 11, 2017 

Return to FAQ Natural Therapies

FAQ: Natural Therapies & Holistic Treatment for A-Fib

Complementary & Natural Therapies

Complementary & Natural Therapies

FAQ: Natural Therapies & Holistic Treatment

Many A-Fib patients have questions about treatment alternatives such as naturopathic doctors, complementary or integrated medicine as well as mind/body practices (such as chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga and meditation).

1. Holistic approach: How do I find a doctor with a more “holistic” approach? I want nutritional counseling and a more integrated approach to my A-Fib treatment plan?

2. Complementary Medicine: I’ve read that yoga and acupuncture are considered ‘Complementary Medicine‘. What is that? How does it relate to conventional medicine?

3.  Naturopathic Medicine: “A dietitian friend referred me to a Naturopathic doctor. What is naturopathic medicine? Are they ‘real’ physicians?”

Related question:Have any A-Fib.com readers reported success working with a Naturopathic doctor? Anyone controlling their A-Fib with supplements?”

4. Vagal: What is the ‘vagal maneuver’? I’ve heard it might help me during an A-Fib episode. What is it and how is it done? Is it safe?”

5. Diet: Is a whole food or organic diet helpful for patients with Atrial Fibrillation? Is there any research recommending one or the other?”

6. Chiropractic:  Do A-Fib patients find chiropractic adjustment useful? If so, what are their results? In the past, I’ve found it helpful for other ailments. Could it help with my A-Fib symptoms?”

7. Yoga: I do Yoga. It relaxes me and helps with my stress level. Is there any evidence on Yoga helping with other A-Fib symptoms?”

8. Acupuncture: What’s the research on acupuncture and Atrial Fibrillation? I’m willing to try it if it will help ease or reduce my A-Fib episodes.”

9. Natural blood thinners: “Have there been any tests comparing natural blood thinners to the new anticoagulants (NOACs) in terms of efficacy and speed of onset?”

“Most people use non-mainstream approaches along with conventional treatments. The boundaries between complementary and conventional medicine overlap and change with time.” ∼ US National Institutes of Health

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Saturday, February 11, 2017
Return to Frequently Asked Questions

Acupuncture Helps A-Fib: Specific Acupuncture Sites Identified

Acupunture needles 150 pix at 95 res

Acupunture pressure sites for A-Fib

by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

Hans Larson, in his 2010 October The AFIB Report, states that Italian researchers found acupuncture effective in preventing A-Fib in persistent A-Fib patients who had just undergone successful cardioversion. The acupuncture points used in the Italian clinical trial were:

1. Neiguan (PC-6)

2. Shenmen (HT-7)

3. Xinshu (BL-15)

Acupuncture at the Neiguan and Xinshu points help modulate and stabilize the autonomic nervous system. Stimulation of the Shenmen point has a calming and sedative effect on cardiac excitability. Patients received 10 weekly acupuncture sessions. The article also includes two stories of patients whose A-Fib was eliminated primarily by acupuncture:

Editor’s Comment: As Hans Larson points out, now that we know the exact points to be stimulated, why not use acupuncture for Paroxysmal A-Fib as well?

References for this Article

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