Managing heart disease can be complicated. After your diagnosis, you'll likely begin meeting with your doctors to determine your best course of action. The odds are high that the guidelines you receive will center on well-known measures such as managing your diet, eliminating harmful lifestyle factors like smoking, and establishing a healthy exercise routine. Your doctors may also prescribe medications to curb the effects or symptoms of your condition.

While all of these are necessary steps to mitigate heart disease, you may want to try alternative treatments as well. A number of patients turn to acupuncture for helping to maintain heart health. Take a look at some of the benefits of this practice and steps you can take to integrate it into your existing heart-health regimen.

Acupuncture and blood pressure

One of the foremost possible benefits of acupuncture for heart patients is that it might help to lower your blood pressure. In fact, reports that in one study, some individuals who received weekly acupuncture sessions reduced their systolic blood pressure by roughly 20 points. This is thought to have to do with the precise placement of acupuncture needles in certain areas of the body believed to help regulate blood pressure. While Prevention specifies the elbows and knees as target areas, you'll want to speak with your acupuncturist regarding what kind of treatment plan may be best for reducing your blood pressure.

Managing lifestyle factors

Acupuncture may also play a role in helping you manage lifestyle factors that may harm your cardiovascular system. Acupuncture has been shown in some studies to possibly aid in helping people to stop their addictive behaviors, such as smoking. Though tobacco can be extremely hard to quit, claims that the process may aid individuals in detoxing their bodies of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco. Further, acupuncture is believed to help curb side effects of nicotine withdrawal, such as irritability or nausea.

Integrating acupuncture into your life

As is the case with any medical or lifestyle change, it's important that you discuss acupuncture with your physician prior to making it part of your heart-health routine. This is important because your doctor will be able to advise you on whether such a change may interact with your current treatment regimen, and he or she will be able to offer you support and advice. For example, your doctor may be able to recommend an acupuncturist who has experience working with cardiac patients, or may be able to advise you on how to best begin treatment.