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How Effective is Acupuncture in Managing POTS Symptoms?

Updated: Apr 14

pots, acupuncture, chris eddy

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects millions worldwide, primarily young women. It's characterized by a significant increase in heart rate upon standing, leading to symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and fainting.

Managing POTS can be challenging, often requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. Among the alternative therapies gaining attention is acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to restore balance and promote healing. In this blog post, we delve into the potential of acupuncture as a treatment for POTS, backed by scientific research.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) can manifest through various symptoms, which can range in severity from mild to debilitating. While the symptoms may vary among individuals, some common ones include:

1. Tachycardia: A significant increase in heart rate, typically by 30 beats per minute (bpm) or more, upon assuming an upright posture. This rapid heart rate may lead to palpitations, chest discomfort, or feelings of a racing heart.

2. Orthostatic Intolerance: Difficulty standing for prolonged periods due to symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or feeling faint. These symptoms typically improve when lying down.

3. Fatigue: Persistent feelings of exhaustion or weakness, which may be disproportionate to the level of activity or rest.

4. Brain Fog: Cognitive difficulties, including difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or confusion.

5. Dysautonomia Symptoms: POTS is a type of dysautonomia, so individuals may experience symptoms related to autonomic nervous system dysfunction, such as temperature dysregulation (excessive sweating or intolerance to heat/cold), gastrointestinal issues (nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea), and urinary problems (frequent urination or urinary retention).

6. Headaches: Recurrent headaches, including migraines, may occur in individuals with POTS.

7. Syncope (Fainting): Some individuals with POTS may experience fainting episodes, particularly when standing for prolonged periods or when experiencing a sudden change in posture.

8. Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or poor-quality sleep may be reported by individuals with POTS.

9. Exercise Intolerance: Symptoms may worsen with physical exertion, leading to exercise intolerance and post-exertional malaise.

10. Anxiety and Depression: Chronic illness and the limitations it imposes can contribute to anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders in individuals with POTS.

It's important to note that not everyone with POTS will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity and combination of symptoms can vary widely among individuals. Additionally, symptoms may fluctuate over time and may be influenced by factors such as hydration, weather, stress, and hormonal changes. Proper diagnosis and management by a healthcare professional familiar with POTS are essential for effectively addressing symptoms and improving quality of life.

pots, acupuncture, chris eddy

Understanding Acupuncture:

Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced "chee"), the vital energy that flows through pathways in the body known as meridians. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), illness occurs when the flow of Qi is disrupted, and acupuncture aims to restore balance by stimulating specific points along these meridians.

Acupuncture and POTS: Research Findings:

While acupuncture is often sought for pain relief and stress management, its potential in treating autonomic dysfunction disorders like POTS has gained interest among researchers. Here are some key findings from studies exploring the effectiveness of acupuncture in managing POTS:

1. Improved Heart Rate Variability: A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2018 investigated the effects of acupuncture on heart rate variability (HRV) in patients with POTS. HRV is an indicator of autonomic nervous system function. The results showed that acupuncture significantly improved HRV parameters, suggesting a positive impact on autonomic function.

Most patients are women between 15-50yo, and develop POTS after a virus such as COVID, Epstein Barr, or after pregnancy or trauma.

If you are looking for some other options than you already have already tried, please call us or send an email to see if acupuncture and herbal medicine may be an option for you.

Dr Chris Eddy

The Neighbourhood Clinic, 329 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy Nth Phone: (03) 9043 6568

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