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  • Writer's pictureDr Shawn M. Carney

Have a heart to try acupuncture!

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Did you know the heart meridian in acupuncture is used to treat more than just physical heart issues? It can be used for anxiety with palpitations, insomnia, menstrual bleeding, and has an 'emergency heart attack point'!

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There are 12 classical meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese theories of the flow of qi (a fine, essential substance which nourishes and constructs the body) through distinct channels that exist in and around us. Imbalance and obstruction to this flow correlates with disease; acupuncture is a tool used for millennia to correct health problems by regulating this flow properly.

The Heart Meridian (H1 - H9)

Acupuncture has been used for treating heart failure in China since the Han Dynasty.1 and can be applied to many diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.2 The heart meridian travels the length of the inner arm. Several of the acupoints are indicated for palpitations, chest pain, a sense of fullness below the heart or local concerns to where the acupoints are found. "Many animal experiments have explored the mechanism of acupuncture in the treatment of heart failure [and] ... [m]any studies have shown that the acupuncture effect is closely related to the sympathetic nervous system, which is believed to play an extremely important role in the multipathway and multitarget [ways] acupuncture ... can simultaneously intervene in multiple cardiac function-related indicators".1

But the heart meridian can be used for much more than supporting physical heart issues. Since there is no classical meridian in TCM for the nervous system, much of what we think of as anxiety and depression could be treated from a selection of these points. "Disturbances of the spirit", "emotional imbalances" and "restlessness" are some of the indications for these acupoints. It is intriguing to think about how the ancient Chinese who discovered acupuncture were so in-tune with the mind-body correlations our contemporary Western medicine is validating more and more.


  1. Bingxue Liang, et al. "The Effect of Acupuncture and Moxibustion on Heart Function in Heart Failure Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis",Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,vol. 2019,Article ID 6074967,13pages,2019.

  2. World Health Organization, "Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials", 2003.

The content and any recommendations in this article are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to replace the advice of the reader's own licensed healthcare professional or physician and are not intended to be taken as direct diagnostic or treatment directives. Any treatments described in this article may have known and unknown side effects and/or health hazards. Each reader is solely responsible for his or her own healthcare choices and decisions. The author advises the reader to discuss these ideas with a licensed naturopathic physician.

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