Acupuncture can be beneficial for those who have already suffered a stroke as well as prevention. Contact our office now at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help.
Acupuncture for Stroke Recovery
Strokes are quite common. In fact, strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. Approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year. A stroke results from an acute lack of blood supply to a portion of the brain. Because brain cells are very dependent on oxygen, a few minutes without proper blood flow can be quite damaging. Symptoms of a stroke may include numbness or weakness of the limbs, difficulty swallowing, headache, mental confusion, paralysis, problems with coordination, sudden visual loss and slurred speech. Modern imaging such as MRI’s can help detect how bad the brain damage is following a stroke.
Typical post-stroke care in starts with seven days of hospitalization followed by a couple weeks of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Unfortunately, even after all of this, most stroke victims still have deficits and disabilities. Acupuncture can help with stroke recovery.
How acupuncture can help stroke recovery
After a stroke, acupuncture should be started as quickly as possible. In most cases, three treatments per week is recommended to begin with following a stroke. Studies show patients get well faster, require less nursing and rehabilitation, perform better self-care and use less money to recover when acupuncture is added to the recovery treatments.
In recent studies, it has been found that acupuncture could reduce infarct size and improve neurological function in those with recent stroke as well as demonstrating neuroprotective role in via its antioxidant potential.
Acupuncture theory and techniques
Scalp acupuncture seems to be the most effective method of treating stroke patients. Specific body acupuncture points in addition to scalp acupuncture prevents or reduces brain swelling or edema, thus halting further damage to brain tissues. Acupuncture can work to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain and damaged tissues, which can restore tissue, nerve, and brain cells. It helps break down blood clots and it can accelerate functional recovery.
Scalp acupuncture views the scalp as a microcosm of the whole body. Scalp acupuncture works on zones rather than specific points. The correlation between scalp acupuncture and stroke is fairly easy to figure out, as the scalp is close to the brain. Acupuncture increases blood flow and oxygen to the areas of the cerebral cortex that were damaged from stroke and helps revive the cells and nerve function. It also incorporates a lot of what we know about the brain from a biomedical standpoint. Things such as the idea that one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. So if a patient had paralysis of the right leg, the acupuncturist would needle the left side of the scalp.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can also be used in a preventive way to avoid a stroke from occurring. Getting regular acupuncture treatments can help with relaxation and relieving stress that can contribute to strokes. Also adopting a traditional Chinese diet can be beneficial, as it is high in fiber, low in fat, sugar and dairy products. It is proven, populations that eat this kind of diet have a decreased chance of stroke and heart attacks.
As we can see, acupuncture can be beneficial for those who have already suffered a stroke. But it can be just as beneficial in preventing strokes. This is just one more reason to add acupuncture to your arsenal of weapons when it comes to your health.
Contact our office now at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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