Acupuncture for Stroke Patients & Rehabilitation

Acupuncture For Stroke: A Brief Intro

Acupuncture as a healing mechanism has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese, and more recently, all around the world. Acupuncture’s potential benefits have been used to treat ailments such as chronic pain resulting from a wide variety of ailments, sleeping patterns, digestion issues, stress, anxiety, and more.

When it comes to acupuncture for stroke patients and stroke rehabilitation, acupuncture is not only safe, with little side effects compared to standard of care, but acupuncture for stroke can also provide significant benefits as far as improved neurological deficits, reduced cognitive impairment, and improvement of other stroke symptoms as well.

Acupuncture For Stroke: The Research

A persuasive study showed the significant benefits of acupuncture for stroke patients, in particular, for post-stroke rehabilitation.

  • The acupuncture participants consisted of 250 post-stroke subjects that were randomly divided into two groups.  One group received acupuncture and another did not have any additional therapy beyond standard of care.   This is important as they did not use so called “Sham acupuncture” or any placebo.  It compared those that received acupuncture treatment vs. those not receiving any acupuncture treatments. non-acupuncture groups.
  • Those subjects that received acupuncture had 18 acupuncture sessions over the course of three weeks.  That is 6 out of 7 days of acupuncture which is a much greater frequency that one would receive in a typical western clinic.
  • The primary outcome measured was neurologic deficits. The secondary outcomes were motor function, swallowing function, cognitive function, and acupuncture adverse reactions.
  • Participants who underwent acupuncture treatment displayed significant improvements in their neurologic health, as well as their abilities to swallow and think. Interestingly the acupuncture group did not demonstrate significant improvements in their motor function.  Lower body motor function showed non-significant improvement with acupuncture.
  • All measured variables except for upper body motor function demonstrated a positive effect from acupuncture treatments.
  • The acupuncture group that did the best were those recovering from stroke related dysphagia.
  • As is inherent with acupuncture the adverse events were minimal and mild.

This trial showed acupuncture is safe and has additional multi-effect in improving neurologic deficits, swallowing disorder, cognitive impairment, and lower extremity function, …during this short-term study period.

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Chen L1, Fang J2,3, Ma R1, Gu X4, Chen L5, Li J6, Xu S7. Additional effects of acupuncture on early comprehensive rehabilitation in patients with mild to moderate acute ischemic stroke: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Jul 18;16:226. PMID: 27430340. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]

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