Can Acupuncture Really Benefit Stroke Recovery?

Acupuncture can be a major benefit to stroke rehabilitation when administered correctly. Results are most remarkable in the acute stage. First, treatment must begin promptly. Earlier intervention promises fewer deficits. Second, an effective acupuncture system should be employed. Scalp acupuncture excels over body acupuncture in treating neurological conditions such as strokes. After insertion, needles should be manipulated to ensure qi flow. Third, appropriate Daoyin must be carried out simultaneously. Finally, treatments have to be repeated frequently for reinforcement. In this manner a stroke patient will achieve a faster and more complete recovery.

Case Reports

1.    In December 2010, a man in his fifties suffered an ischemic stroke. Three days after the stroke onset, he presented himself at our clinic with slurred speech, right hemi paresis and wheelchair bound. After two hours of acupuncture treatment, he was able to move his right upper extremity. The next day, less than 24 hours later, he stood up and walked on his own. On his third day of treatment, he climbed the stairs. He recovered all motor functions within two weeks.

2.    One night in 1992, Mr. Shen, president of an acupuncturist association in California, suddenly dropped on the floor and became stupor us. A CT scan of his brain revealed a big lesion in the left cortex and basal ganglia, due to hemorrhage of the middle cerebral artery. Within seven hours, we started Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture treatment on him, and continued for 20 consecutive days. Two weeks later, he started to talk. After three months, he was able to return full-time to his acupuncture practice and administrative work.

3.    In 1998, a 55 year-old man discharged himself from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital of Taiwan despite his doctor’s advice. It was the 8th day after his stroke when he arrived at our clinic in a wheelchair. His ischemic stroke left him paralyzed on the right side. Twenty minutes after applying scalp acupuncture needles, he stood up. An hour later, he took a few steps. After two weeks of daily acupuncture, he started walking with a cane. He ultimately regained all his gross and fine movements. Today he is living his life as a fully-recovered stroke patient and still persists in his daily exercise routine to stay healthy .

4.    In 2007, an MD referred his 58 year-old male patient to us. This patient had an ischemic stroke and was bed-ridden for 20 days. On the first visit, he came in a wheelchair but left our clinic walking down two flights of stairs without assistance. After 10 daily Scalp Acupuncture treatments of three hours each, he returned to work.

These four case histories are a small representative sample of the large number of stroke cases we have treated. What is common in these patients is that all were treated very early and had nearly full functional recovery.

- by Ming Qing Zhu, L.Ac., OMD (China)