Acupuncture for Stroke Treatment

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Acupuncture for Stroke Treatment

Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.

--Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stroke is a medical emergency which when not prevented ASAP will either cause permanent brain damage or worse, death. In the US alone, stroke is the reason for the death of around 140,000 Americans yearly—that is equivalent to one out of twenty deaths (1:20). Stroke happens when the blood supply to a part of a person’s brain is reduced causing the flow of oxygen and essential nutrient to get disrupted.

The risk factors include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes and family history of stroke. And as much as these people want to avoid the probability of having a stroke, it is not always easy since the lifestyle of a person alone can induce a stroke attack. Binge drinking, physical inactivity, obesity due to overeating, and the use of drugs are the most common reasons as to why someone can be prone to it. A sedentary lifestyle, for example, can lead to stroke even if someone is not obese.

The degradation of brain cells when stroke occurs may negatively affect a person’s abilities for speech and language, bowel and bladder control, sexual ability, and self-care. If not, it may lead to various impairments such as weakness or paralysis, memory problems or loss, inability to recognize simple objects, and inability to walk. There is a long list to go through, but these are only some of the usual effects that are left to a person once he/she experiences stroke.

Because of the aforementioned negative effects of stroke, people usually just rely on physical therapy of drugs to either be able to recover from stroke. Some would even fall into depression thinking that no matter what they do, stroke has left them permanently disabled. In both cases, acupuncture has been proven to make the recovery from stroke faster. In different studies including that of Chavez et al., acupuncture has been beneficial in the recovery from ischemic stroke. Also, the World Health Organization has recommended acupuncture “as an alternative and complementary strategy for stroke treatment and for improving stroke care.” One important thing to consider, however, is for people to become more active in their lifestyle to avoid stroke, as well as incorporate acupuncture for their overall wellness.

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