Stroke is a condition when a part of the brain region does not get enough blood. This condition occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked by blood clots or a blood vessel bleeds, leading to a loss of function of the affected brain area. Symptoms depend on where the affected brain area is located. In general, a patient has a sudden severe headache, numbness on one’s limbs, vision problems, difficulty talking or walking, and lightheadedness.
There are two types of stroke: blockage and leak.
A blockage happens when a blood clot is stuck inside a blood vessel in the brain. This causes a reduction of blood flow in the brain, or even a complete blockage of a vessel.
A leak happens when a brain vessel becomes weak and thin, causing blood to leak out. This is called a hemorrhage.
Stroke is a life-threatening disease that can lead to disability or death. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2007, 10% of patients who died of stroke were under the age of 65. In 2009, around 1% of Canadians were living at home with stroke symptoms.
Approximately 30 – 60% of patients with stroke will lose their daily routine or will not communicate with other people because of the difficulty walking or talking.
How can acupuncture help?
There have been a variety of clinical trials about the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy on stroke patients conducted mostly in China and other parts of the world.
- Many studies have shown that acupuncture has a positive effect on general recovery, improving motor function, speech, swallowing and cognition if combined with standard care and rehab.
- Acupuncture found to be effective for the management of secondary symptoms related to stroke such as shoulder pain, urinary incontinence, constipation, depression and fatigue.
How does acupuncture work?
Some researchers suggest that acupuncture:
- May reduce inflammation in the brain after the stroke
- Prevents or reduces edema in acute stage of stroke.
- Triggers some changes in the brain that result in the protection of brain cells from necrosis.
- Improves blood circulation within the brain , thus can protect from ischemia.
1. Public Health Agency of Canada; (2011); Tracking Heart Disease and Stroke in Canada – Stroke Highlights 2011 Link
- British Acupuncture Council ; (2015); Stroke.Link
- Acupuncture Helps Stroke Recovery HealthCMi 02 JANUARY 2016 Link
- Acupuncture Causes Brain Repair After Stroke Research HealthCMi 19 FEBRUARY 2012 Link
- Acupuncture Helps Stroke Recovery Research HealthCMi 07 AUGUST 2013 Link