Strokes are the leading cause of cerebral and physical long term-disability within the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures.
Loss of oxygen to the brain causes brain cells to die; resulting in physical, emotional, and/or cognitive injuries to an individual. The severity of the damage caused by a stroke, is entirely dependent on the location of the stroke within the brain and the timeframe in which medical help was administered.
Although the effects of a stroke vary from person-to-person, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture as a complementary strategy for treatment and rehabilitation to anyone who has suffered from a stroke.
International clinical research and trials have demonstrated the success that Acupuncture can have in improving motor function, increasing muscle strength, enhancing cognitive abilities, and general well-being post-stroke.
How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help
The acute stage after a stroke, the first 72 hours, is critical in terms of preventing further brain cell death or other life-threatening complications. If treatment is delayed more than 72 hours, a cerebral edema, swelling of the brain, can start to form; rendering the chances at a full-recovery even harder and less viable.
Numerous clinical cases have shown Acupuncture to be exceptionally valuable in this vital stage of rehabilitation. Acupuncture triggers changes in the brain that result in the protection of non-damaged brain cells from necrosis, thereby preventing or reducing edema and consequently promising a better prognosis. Acupuncture also activates afferent fibers that send signals to the spinal cord again; promoting blood circulation to the already damaged brain cells and reducing extensive brain tissue damage.
What does an acupuncturist do?
There are many different styles of Acupuncture, so it is imperative that a post-stroke patient receive an individualized and comprehensive Acupuncture rehabilitation plan to ensure a full-recovery. An acupuncturist will start by developing this treatment schedule for their patient.
Concentration and repetition are necessary to provoke and reinforce positive changes in the brain after a stroke; therefore, the frequency and duration of the Acupuncture sessions must be explicitly followed, especially within the first three months.
What is out of balance?
A stroke restricts oxygen to the brain and depending on the location and severity of the restriction – the effects can be severe. Most patients post-stroke have trouble with basic motor skills and often require months, if not years, of physical rehabilitation.
The growing referrals of Acupuncture by doctors and credited health organizations, is in-largely due to the increase in blood flow, oxygen, that Acupuncture delivers. Acupuncture and herbal medicine increase oxygen being supplied to all parts of the body, stimulating nerve activity in regions of the body most affected by a stroke.
The psychological impact on a person post-stroke, can also be brutal. Depression, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, and rapid mood changes are a few of the disorders patients might experience after a stroke. Acupuncture works on these symptoms as well to retain as much of the healthy nerve responses as possible.
To better understand how our clinic can assist with treatment of after a stroke, call to schedule your free consultation.