Can Acupuncture Help Stroke Rehabilitation?

Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that stroke is the third largest cause of death in the U.S. as well as the number one cause for long-term disability in those that have one.

One half to three quarters of a million of people suffer from a stroke each year with 150,000 dying and the rest having to live with its effects.

Can acupuncture help with the recovery from stroke?
The Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine conducted a pilot study to determine the effects, if any, that acupuncture can have on stroke patients during their rehabilitation.

The goal of the study was to determine if their was any statistical improvement using acupuncture in stroke rehabilitation.  The study was conducted on 29 patients by 8 licensed acupuncturist with a minimum of a year of clinical experience.

The results?
Interestingly, the initial analysis didn’t show any real differences or improvements. But, when looking closer, patients receiving the treatments had a significantly better improvement in a variety of functional independent test scores compared to the control group.

The acupuncture group had a score of 11.2 as compared to the control groups 8.5. In fact, in all 7 daily living activities that were measured, the acupuncture group had a .1 to .8 higher score than the other group.

This doesn’t seem like much, but in terms of functionality on a daily basis, this was significant for the  participants.

These treatments were included in conjunction with their standard treatments by their primary care physician. It’s never suggested that acupuncture be administered alone for stroke, but as an adjunct therapy.

What are some other new research findings that shows acupuncture can help stroke victims?
Brand new research has suggested that acupuncture can have a significant role in assisting brain regeneration following a stroke. The study conducted at the Shenzhen Traditional Medical Hospital in the Guangdong Province of China, has shown that acupuncture on the main acupuncture points of the major meridians of the body (Ren, Conception Vessel and  Du, Governing Vessel) promotes the differentiation and proliferation of brain stem cells, accelerating formation of cells.

This is basically saying that new blood vessel growth can occur from the preexisting vessels. There’s a lot more that is discussed and revealed from this study, but it indicates that the correct treatment of acupuncture can have a significant effect on brain health and repair after a stroke.

If you have suffered a stroke, you might consider how acupuncture can help you in conjunction with your current rehabilitation and therapy. Recovering from this devastating condition can be difficult, but with the right type of therapy, there is great hope of making improvements and getting back to the best health possible.