Acupuncture combined with rehabilitation is beneficial for patients suffering from infantile cerebral palsy. Both techniques have already been used separately in the management of this condition, but when applied at the same time, they offer greater advantages, researches show.
The infantile cerebral palsy is a condition that affects the body movements, the posture, as well as the normal speech and mental function of the individual. It is due to different brain damages or malformations and manifests during early childhood. There are three major different forms of infantile cerebral palsy (CP): CP with muscle stiffness, CP with muscle hypotonia (decreased muscle tone), CP with athetosis (involuntary movements). The early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important as they increase the chance of positive outcome for the patients.
Physical rehabilitation is an inseparable part of the therapy in patients with cerebral palsy. Recently, scientists from the Heilongjiang University of TCM suggested that if combined with acupuncture, physical rehabilitation could be even more useful. In order to prove that hypothesis, they’ve conducted a controlled study with fifty-four patients attained from infantile cerebral palsy. They were divided into two groups- the first one was receiving only acupuncture treatment, while the second one- acupuncture in combination with physical rehabilitation.
During the study, acupuncture for patients with cerebral palsy included head acupuncture as well as other acupoints applied through various needling techniques, depending on the condition of the patient. Acupuncture is helpful for such patients as it stimulates the nervous cells and therefore improves motor functions and speech.
On the other hand, physical rehabilitation also plays a major role in the therapy of infantile cerebral palsy. To be successfully performed, the physical rehabilitation requires the active cooperation of the parents. In the study the rehabilitation complex was based on the form of the cerebral palsy and included head and limbs rehabilitation as well as sitting rehabilitation.
Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) score and Barthel rating were measured in the beginning and in the end of the study for the two groups of patients. The GMFM score is a clinical scale used to determine the motor functions and their changes over time, while Barthel score indicates the degree of independence of the patient and his ability to perform activities of daily living. The first group of patients, receiving acupuncture only, showed improvement of these parameters in the end of the trial. However, patients from the second group, who were treated by both acupuncture and physical rehabilitation, obtained even greater results in terms of motor functions and independence.
In conclusion the study confirmed the initial suggestion that acupuncture brings benefits in the complex treatment of patients with infantile cerebral palsy, but when combined with physical rehabilitation the results obtained are even better.
HealthCMi Acupuncture Plus Rehabilitation Treats Infantile Cerebral Palsy 01 JUNE 2010 Link
Li SQ. (2015). Clinical Observation on Acupuncture Combined with Rehabilitation Training for Treatment of Infantile Cerebral Palsy. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine on Cardio/Cerebrovascular Disease. 13(2). Link
CHEN Ying-ru,ZHU Jiang(School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion,Beijing University of Chinese Medicine,Beijing 100029,China);Literature review of clinical application of acupuncture in child cerebral palsy in resent 10 years in China[J];China Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy;2010-06 Link