Integrative medicine is playing a larger role in health care in western countries. Acupuncture, a form of traditional medical therapy, involves stimulating acupoint along meridians. Stimulation of the acupoints with needles activates underlying neural pathways. Although acupuncture has been used mainly to treat pain, investigation over the last two decades has shown that acupuncture can reduce myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary disease. Our studies employing electroacupuncture (EA) show in a model of demand-induced ischemia that demand is reduced and ischemia reversed during stimulation of certain acupoints along the pericardial and stomach meridians.
Dr. Longhurst is a professor in the Department of Medicine, with joint appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics and Pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine. He holds two endowed chairs. In 1999 he worked with the Samueli Family to endow a center for integrative medicine at the university. In 2003 he became the director of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. The mission of the center is to conduct rigorous fundamental research, teach students and residents, faculty, staff and practitioners and provide clinical care in integrative medicine. He has been on the faculty at the University of California since 1982, including time spent at UC San Diego, UC Davis and most recently at UC Irvine. His research interest is in integrative physiology, particularly focusing on peripheral and autonomic regulation of the cardiovascular system. His early career was in the areas of exercise physiology and mechanisms of activation of sensory nerve systems important in cardiovascular reflex regulation, for example during myocardial ischemia. For the last decade he has studied the central autonomic regulation by electroacupuncture. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1978 and currently has three R01 grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, two of which are focused on acupuncture regulation of cardiovascular function.