Other Therapies » Post Stroke Therapy
Acupuncture is inexpensive, effective and safe therapy after a stroke. It is widely used to improve motor, senses, speech and other neurological damages in patients who have suffered a stroke. Acupuncture has the ability to increase neural activity or to create new neural pathways inthe brain areas that were damaged by a cerebral vascular accident.
Treatments should be given as quickly as possible following the stroke and should be performed at least once a day, every day for approximately 30 – 60 minutes per treatment for the first month. If left untreated the more difficult stroke damage is to reverse.
Because different areas of the brain can be damaged during astroke, no two stroke patients are entirely alike. So, treatment for stroke and its sequela depends on the nature of the symptoms and the time since the stroke occurred. Just as stroke itself is life threatening and requires emergency attention, full recovery is more likely the sooner rehabilitation treatment can begin after the stroke has passed.
To Americans acupuncture may seem to be a new treatment for stroke, but in Asia it is the preferred treatment modality.
There are hundreds of stroke studies from China and Japan, some involving large groups of patients, which show acupuncture’s efficacy in treating stroke. In fact, this is such a well-established procedure in Asia, that control groups are no longer used in acupuncture research studies on stroke patients as it is thought to be unethical to withhold acupuncture treatment from any stroke patient.
A study carried out at the Lund University Hospital, Sweden involved 78 patients with severe hemiparesis (paralysis of one side of the body) within 10 days of stroke onset. 40 patients received daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and 38 patients received acupuncture treatment twice a week for 10 weeks. Patients treated with acupuncture recovered faster and to a larger extent than the controls with significant differences in measures of balance, mobility, quality of life index, and fewer days spent at hospitals/nursing homes.
Acupuncture can play a pivotal role in these patient’s rehabilitation and help to alleviate and reduce symptoms such as: hemiplegic, muscle spasticity, aphasia, dysphasia or difficulties swallowing, sudden confusion (dementia), mental processes impairment, depression and urinary incontinence and retention.