For a doctor of Chinese medicine, lowering high blood pressure is not the most important thing, because it is more important to solve the cause of the high blood pressure. In Part 1, we looked at mood and how things like anger, nervousness, and fear can activate the sympathetic nervous system, driving the blood pressure higher. This time we will look at what to do when the cause is stiff shoulders or cold weather.
Treating a stiff neck and shoulders is effective in lowering high blood pressure
Having a stiff neck and shoulders is another reason for hypertension. Many office workers or supervisors always stare at the computer in a tortoise-neck posture and sit still all day long. After returning home, they lie on the sofa and don’t want to move, or bow their heads to scroll on their phones. These behaviors cause stiffness in their necks and shoulders, which in turn causes hypertension.
I had a patient. Every time he went to the hospital for an examination, his systolic blood pressure was around 200. The strange thing was that all the antihypertensive drugs, whether it was for lowering cholesterol or expanding blood vessels, made him feel very uncomfortable after taking them. Later, I helped him relax the carotid artery and his hypertension problem disappeared.
There is an acupuncture point to solve stiffness of the neck and shoulders, the Chize Point (尺澤穴).
Bend the arm up lightly and find a large indentation on the elbow line. Gently press the Chize point on each arm for three to five minutes every day. While pressing, you need to twist and move the neck to let the blood circulation in the neck become better and allow the blood in the carotid artery to circulate to the brain. With sufficient blood supply, blood pressure naturally drops.
In addition to the Chize point, there are two points that can enhance blood circulation. One is the Zusanli point (足三里穴) and the other is the Sanyinjiao point (三陰交穴).
The Zusanli point is four fingers below the indentation of the outside of the knees.
The Sanyinjiao point is on the inner side of the calf, four fingers width up from the sharpest point of the ankle bone and the indentation on the back edge of the tibia.
People who are unable to accurately press the acupoint can also use the tapping method. Sometimes you may tap higher than the acupoint, sometimes lower than the point, and sometimes on the point, and the effect is still very good. However, those who are pregnant should not massage or tap the Sanyinjiao acupoint.
Cold weather hypertension
Cold weather can also cause your blood pressure to rise. The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic book says: “To protect against pathogenic factors such as virtual evil and thief wind, you should avoid them promptly, and your mood should be calm and restful, and you need to get rid of distracting thoughts and delusions so that your true qi is smooth and the spirit is maintained. In this way, the disease will not happen.” What is “the virtual evil and thief wind”? It’s the cold and wind.
When it is cold, to keep the heat in the body, the blood vessels will shrink, that is, the blood vessels will become narrower. There is no blood flowing through the surrounding area and all the blood stays in the large vessels. The blood pressure then becomes high.
How to solve it? It’s very simple. Just wear an extra layer of clothes or drink a cup of hot soup to restore the narrowed blood vessels to their normal width, and blood can be transported to all the blood vessels evenly. Even if you don’t take antihypertensive drugs, this will be effective in lowering high blood pressure.
Translated by Patty Zhang and edited by Helen