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Aifei Wang, LAc, MAc
Post-Stroke Treatment Using Acupuncture
NABACU Eastern Medicine Centers
. http://www.nabacu.com/

Post-Stroke Treatment Using Acupuncture

A stroke can be one of life's most challenging episodes. It is often a moment of incredible confusion for the patient who is experiencing the disruption of blood supply to the brain; and a moment of fright for those witnessing the incident. This disruption of blood, whether ischemic (lack of blood) or hemorrhagic (bleeding or abnormal blood flow), temporarily reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood that is able to reach the brain, subsequently leading to the death of vital brain cells.

The immediate response to this episode should always be to seek emergency medical attention. Upon proper evaluation, the cause of the episode may be determined, and treated. Additionally the doctor will be able to provide lifestyle adjustment recommendations that should seriously be taken into consideration to reduce the risks of a repeat occurrence.

The aftermath of the stroke and the journey to recovery can sometimes be more challenging than the episode itself. The disruption of oxygen to the brain during the stroke can result in vision, speech, and motor impairment including paralysis. The abilities affected are determined by the extent of injury to the brain, including the location of the brain, cerebellum, or brain stem affected. Once a patient has been classified as medically stable by their treatment team, acupuncture is a therapy that can be used to greatly assist with the patients' recovery.

While the causes of the stroke may vary, Eastern Medicine can often determine the root cause of the stroke to be blood deficiency, stagnation or stasis; liver yang rising generating internal wind; internal cold, or a combination of these patterns. Once the pattern has been determined, the acupuncturist will develop a treatment plan to address the root cause in addition to offering lifestyle adjustment recommendations.

Scalp acupuncture is the leading technique used that can yield significant results in the motor, sensory and speech capabilities of the patient. The scalp contains areas designated for motor, speech, sensory, and balance functions that when needled and stimulated either manually and/or via electric stimulation, can assist with regenerating the functions that were impaired by the stroke. For motor impairment, including supervised exercise of the limbs while the motor points corresponding to the affected hemisphere of the body are needled can further improve and restore function.

The sooner acupuncture treatments are started after the stroke, the sooner the body can begin to regenerate and heal. The recovery process can be challenging, however with the support of your acupuncturist, you can regain independence, function, and freedom.

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