Alternative medicine in atrial fibrillation treatment—Yoga, acupuncture, biofeedback and more
The last decade has seen a significant improvement in the management of atrial fibrillation (AF) with the development of newer medications and improvement in catheter ablation techniques. Recurrence of AF remains a significant problem in these patients and medications offer limited supportive role. Complementary and alternative treatment strategies therefore remain a viable option for these AF patients. Several studies have shown improvement in AF symptoms with yoga therapy, acupuncture and biofeedback. There are also several herbal medicine and supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, barberry, motherwort, cinchona, Shensongyangxin, hawthorn, Kella and Wenxin Keli that have been evaluated as potential therapeutic options in AF. These studies are however limited by small sample sizes with mixed results. Besides the pharmacological action, metabolism, interactions with other medications and the adverse effects of the herbal medications and supplements remain poorly understood. In spite of the above limitations, complementary therapies remain a promising option in the management of AF and further studies are necessary to validate their safety and efficacy.