Acupuncture can help chronic heart patients tolerate exercises well, says a clinical pilot study.

Patients with chronic weakness of the heart muscle, one of the most frequent diseases and cause of death in Europe, suffer from a reduction in work capacity. Shortness of breath and fatigue brought on by physical exercise are other signs of the disease.

The needles do not increase the heart’s pump function, but they seem to influence skeletal muscle strength and thus can increase the distance that heart patients can walk.

The research team was headed by Johannes Backs, physician at the Department of Internal Medicine III (Cardiology, Angiology, and Pneumology) of Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany.

The results of the clinical study, which was conducted with a comparison group treated with placebo acupuncture using dull needles, have been published in the journal Heart.

Scientists examined patients with heart failure who were treated with the conventional medications and were in stable condition, said a statement of Heidelberg University.

Besides, patients in the acupuncture group were given 10 sessions of acupuncture focusing on the acupuncture points which boost general strength according to traditional Chinese medicine.

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