How Does Acupuncture Benefit Stroke Patients?
Having a stroke is one of the scariest events that can happen to a person and family. A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Depending on the severity of the blockage, symptoms may be short-term and mild, or long-term and severe.
Western medicine has made its share of advancements in the treatment of strokes. In the United States, post-stroke care typically starts with a seven-day hospital stay, which is often followed by one or two weeks in a rehabilitation facility. The patient may undergo physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. In addition to these services, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have proven to be incredibly valuable in minimizing the long-term effects of a stroke.
In my experience, there are four crucial elements to consider when treating a stroke patient:
Time is truly of the essence when it comes to a stroke. The sooner a patient receives treatment, the better the outcome. Acupuncture is most effective within the first 3 to 72 hours. After 72 hours, a buildup of excess fluid may begin to occur in the brain. This is known as cerebral edema and can then lead to cell death, or necrosis. Acupuncture can help to restore blood flow to the brain. Current research suggests that it may activate alternate circulation around the blockage or dissolve fibrin, which causes blood to clot. More research is needed to understand the mechanism, but the benefit for stroke patients is evident.
Acupuncturists, true to traditional Chinese theory, tend not to limit themselves to just one mode of treatment. For example, in addition to acupuncture, we offer non-invasive forms of therapy such as Tui Na, Cupping, and Gua Sha. We also offer auriculotherapy, which involves placing small seeds or pellets on the external ear to alleviate symptoms and address issues in other parts of the body.
For stroke patients, scalp acupuncture has proven to be quite effective. Depending on the presentation of the patient, the practitioner will apply stimulation to the needles in a painless way to address symptoms such as speech impairment, loss of mobility, and other issues often seen after a patient experiences a stroke.
Amount of Treatment
Recovery from a stroke is a process. Often, treatments will be needed two to three times per week for several weeks. Each case is different, and a treatment plan is made after a thorough evaluation.
There are often complications following a stroke. Our job, along with all others involved in your recovery, is to manage and prevent them. Acupuncture has been proven as a safe and effective way to address complications without the side effects of pharmaceutical medications. Spasticity is a common complication following a stroke. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can assist the body in regaining the ability to move freely.
If you or a loved one have experienced a stroke, remember that the sooner treatment has begun, the more likely you will be to regain your health. We are happy to assist you in determining if you would be a candidate for the treatment of stroke and the symptoms associated with it.
New Jersey Natural Family Health offers unique natural healthcare strategies that will address both recent health issues and chronic disease. Dr. Shannon DiCarlo RN LAc DAOM utilizes her nursing background with her extensive experience in Chinese Medicine to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Through acupuncture, Chinese Medicine therapies, and an on-site herbal dispensary, Dr.DiCarlo can restore true health to the body, mind, and spirit. Please call (973) 650-8053 or visit in-person at 366 Passaic Ave, Nutley or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.