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Health Education Articles

Acupuncture and Stroke

By Kimberly Guorong Du

In the U.S., more than 700,000 people suffer strokes each year and approximately two thirds of the individuals survive and require rehabilitation due to the resulting hemiplegia and aphasia. The treatments usually last for a long time and the outcome is quite uncertain. In fact, three quarters of stroke survivors are defined as permanently disabled and unable to fend for themselves.

Studies in China indicate that a combined treatment of acupuncture with conventional rehab can significantly improve the treatment result for post stroke, such as hemiplegia and aphasia. The benefits of the combined treatment include patients getting well faster, and more stroke survivors leading a normal life. Even after a half year period of recovery, patients still show more improvement than those in self-care, require less nursing and rehabilitation therapy, and use less healthcare dollars. Many patients and their family member say, "It's amazing!"

Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments for stroke-caused conditions such as hemiplegia are commonly used in China. Acupuncture treatment is based on traditional Chinese medical theories of the flow of Chi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to the theories, acupuncture allows Chi and blood to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from where it is in excess. This way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body.

Using acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments after stroke has been medically recorded in China for over 2,000 years. It has accumulated the experiences of doctors of countless generations. Many hemiplegia and aphasia patients were healed using combined medical methods like acupuncture and herbal medicine. Acupuncture is a safe therapy where doctors insert hair-thin needles into the body at specific points. Those points have been recorded, summarized and practiced by the Chinese medicine doctors for over two thousands years. Even discomfort is generally minimal. When patients compare the benefits of acupuncture with its minimal risks, most who have tried the treatments believe that acupuncture is worthy to attempt for stroke therapy.

Conventional medical treatment is absolutely necessary in the emergency after the stroke. Rehabilitation including acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments should start soon after the patient's condition is stable. This is important for optimal recovery. Although conventional rehab usually loses its effectiveness for patients who haven't received timely treatment, many of these patients could still benefit from acupuncture and herbal medicine for their post-stroke ailments, even several years after the stroke.

Patients can receive acupuncture treatments. Can they get herbal medicine? It depends on what medicine they are already taking, and their conventional doctors must agree to adjust their medicine to make sure it is safe. The number a post-stroke patient will need depends on the individual, their condition and their response to ongoing treatment. If the patient starts acupuncture treatment early and receives enough treatments, then the patient may only need treatment for a few months to a half-year. And also it depends on the patient's goal for recovery. Usually if the patient continues the treatment, the patient will continuously improve.

In the United States more and more people recognize that acupuncture treatment are an effective, safe and less costly medical method. Some insurance plans even have coverage for the treatment. Please check with your insurance provider.

 
 
 
 

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