Strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide according to WHO. Patients who survive strokes usually face symptoms including paralysis, numbness, severe dizziness, aphasia (difficulty in speech) and dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing).
Strokes are classified into two groups: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels that lead to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The leaked blood increases pressure on brain cells such that they become damaged.
Scalp acupuncture is an evidence-based (1)(2) treatment that is frequently used in treating
symptoms during stroke recovery. This therapy employs the Traditional Chinese Medicine
needling method to target key areas of the nervous system. The area that is needled on the scalp is designated according to functions. These include the motor area, sensory area, chorea/tremor controlling area, speech area, vertigo/auditory area, praxis area, balance area and vision area.
Scalp acupuncture is contrasted from traditional body acupuncture, as the needle is inserted over an area between the skin and cranium instead of at a single point. Furthermore, greater needle manipulation is required as practitioners must twirl the needle 200 times per minute for 2 to 3 minutes between 10 minute intervals to alleviate symptoms. Patients also actively participate by moving the affected area themselves or with assistance from others.
For reference, the following six needling methods are used in scalp acupuncture:
1. Triple method
2. Adjacent method
3. Parallel method
4. Opposing method
5. Crossing method
6. Relay method
Two factors must be considered when determining whether to use scalp acupuncture during stroke recovery. First, timing is considered. In general, the earlier the treatment, the better the response. However, for hemorrhagic strokes, the patient must reach a stable condition first. Second, scalp acupuncture is most effective when used in conjunction with other Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies. These include body acupuncture, ear acupuncture, electric acupuncture and bleeding cupping.
In conclusion, acupuncture effectively alleviates symptoms during stroke recovery, particularly when used in conjunction with other Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western therapies. Use acupuncture to improve your health today by booking an appointment with Philip Wu, a Registered Acupuncturist, at QubeCore Sports & Rehab. Our clinic offers a full range of Acupuncture in North Vancouver for a wide range of conditions. Call 604.210.2274 or simply book online!
(1) In a clinical case study, a 50 year old male patient reported relief from numbness after scalp acupuncture treatment. This patient had a fall many years ago and experienced high blood pressure. His symptoms included numbness starting from the hip to ankle. Just a few minutes after two needles were inserted to the foot motor-sensory area on the scalp, the patient reported relief of the numbness.
(2) In a clinical case study, a 60 year old male patient reported relief from stroke-related symptoms after acupuncture and cupping treatment. This patient had experienced a stroke one year prior to treatment. His symptoms included numbness at his extremities and apnea which woke him frequently during the night. Following one visit which included acupuncture over the Traditional Chinese Medicine locations known as Shi Xuan (on the fingers) and Qi Duan (on the toes), and bleeding cupping near T5 (Fifth Thoracic vertebra on the back), the patient reported significant relief regarding apnea. Following ten treatments, it was also observed that his ability to hold a pencil improved significantly.