What Is Blood Pressure?

We have all had our blood pressure measured at some point in time. Those 2 strange numbers, that when are measured amongst a group of people always ends in some sort of competition. But what exactly is blood pressure?


Blood pressure is one of those medical terms that actually means exactly what it sounds like. It is literally the measurement of pressure against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps. Unlike the pressure, of say, a car tyre, which is one consistent number, blood pressure is measured by two numbers.

The first, or top, number is known as Systolic pressure. This is a measure of when the heart is contracting and pumping blood into the arteries. The second, or bottom, number is known as Diastolic pressure. Diastolic pressure is the measure of pressure when the heart is relaxed and the ventricles are filling with blood. Because of the nature of this, the top number will always be higher than the bottom number.

So what numbers are considered high?

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is present if the top number is higher than 140 and or the bottom number is higher than 90. However, these guidelines have been reviewed recently in the United States and a GP may advise you that you have hypertension if your blood pressure is 130/80 or higher.

But I have no symptoms, is high blood pressure still a problem?

The short answer is yes.  Hypertension may not have any other visible symptoms. Yet the whole system is having to work harder due to the increased pressure. Hypertension, if left unchecked, can lead to very serious illness such as heart disease, stroke or heart failure.

What is causing my high blood pressure?

As with most things in life, there are many factors at play and one or more of them may be relevant to you. Firstly, there is the resistance of the blood flow from the arteries. So, if the blood vessel is too narrow, resistance is higher and blood pressure increases. Narrowing of blood vessels is usually caused by fatty deposits within the vessel. the blood vessel is too long, as can be the case if you are heavier than normal, the blood will have a longer distance to travel and as such blood pressure will rise. The final factor that will increase resistance is the viscosity or thickness of blood. If the blood is too thick, it will require more pressure to move it. In addition to the resistance, the volume of blood and the output of the heart will also affect blood pressure.

So how does Traditional Chinese Medicine view Hypertension?

Hypertension can conceivably involve any of the various systems and their respective interactions with each other. Hypertension can often be as a result of the interaction and feedback systems between the heart and other organs. However, as a general rule, Chinese Medicine will regard Hypertension as an issue with qi flow around the body. The liver system governs this flow and therefore most common patterns relating to Hypertension involve the liver system.

More specifically, probably the most common pattern is what we call Liver Yang rising. This is when the Yang (warmer, ascending) energies rise too quickly. Symptoms can include; irritability and/or anger, a flushed red face, bloodshot eyes and a dry mouth, possibly with an unexplained bitter taste in the mouth.

Other patterns can include Qi and blood stagnation, which as its name suggests, your qi and blood is not moving around the body as efficiently as it perhaps could. When this happens, you may suffer from poor memory and headaches. There may be pain on the flanks of your body near your ribs. Trouble sleeping may be an issue and heart palpitations may also be present.

On last pattern that is worth mentioning here is accumulated dampness and phlegm. These two Chinese Medicine terms are used to describe excess (adipose) fatty tissue. As discussed above when you are carrying excess weight, this will usually have a detrimental effect on your blood pressure as the blood simply has further to travel and will require greater pressure to do so.

So, what do you do for my hypertension when I come into Eternal Dragon?

After we have identified the Traditional Chinese medicine pattern of disharmony, we look to address this pattern – and bring your body back into harmony. If your liver Yang energies are rising too fast – we seek to subdue them. If your blood and qi do not flow correctly and efficiently – we seek to soothe them and help them flow properly again. If your body carries excess of dampness and phlegm – we seek to resolve by drawing these out of your body.

How do you do this?

We use all the tools in the Chinese Medicine/ Energy healing toolbox. Acupuncture and energy healing are usually the main methods. We also may use gua sha (scraping), cupping, tui na (manipulations) and moxibustion. In the case of hypertension, we will usually also provide Chinese Medicine dietary and lifestyle recommendations. Which methods we use will depend on the particular pattern and what is most comfortable for you.

If you are suffering from Hypertension and wish to try a different approach with Acupuncture and Energy Healing. Book your first session now.

If you have any further questions – contact us here.

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