Acupuncture is an alternative healing method that has been used for hundreds of years. Originating in various Asian countries, it spread across the Western world to become an accepted treatment for various conditions by many individuals and institutions.
One modern use of acupuncture is to alleviate stroke symptoms. But can this traditional treatment method really help in the challenging task of stroke rehabilitation? Here’s what various studies conducted around the world have found.
Acupuncture in Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine is the concept of using a variety of medical treatments to manage health and treat health problems. These methods may include both traditional medicine and alternative healing procedures.
A practioner writing for Huffington Post reported that acupuncture, particularly a protocol called Xing Nao Kai Qiao, is commonly used to treat symptoms of strokes. In fact, it has been used ever since the 1970s to manage many health problems. It has been applied to treat a variety of stroke symptoms, including aphasia, dyslalia, central facial palsy, shoulder pain, and even incontinence.
Ways It Can Help
What is the science behind this stroke recovery method? Understanding it requires taking a look at the nature of a stroke and why it affects the body.
Strokes are caused by a clog in brain arteries that decreases blood flow to the area and causes brain cells to die. Although an article on the Science-Based Medicine website concludes that no reliable studies have shown positive effects of acupuncture in the treatment of stroke, it acknowledges that some studies have found a positive effect in managing neurological impairment and dysphagia. However, is also states that it unlikely to be a successful treatment to prevent death or disability caused by strokes.
What About Its Tradition?
While the double-blind studies discussed in the Science-Based Medicine article may be inconclusive, there is a centuries-long history of this ancient treatment for stroke victims. This tradition states that acupuncture helps alleviate many of the symptoms of a stroke and can contribute to a restoration of functionality to a person’s life.
As reported by Medical Acupuncture, there have been studies in China, Japan, and Scandinavia indicating that this method appears to help with stroke rehabilitation.
Many American studies ignore or discard the findings found by these groups, pointing to a lack of scientific grounding in the studies or results that were carefully picked to show success that wasn’t sustainable.
The use of acupuncture for stroke recovery is likely to remain controversial for some time. While there are thousands of people who claim that it has benefited their lives, scientific skepticism casts a shadow over its effectiveness.
It can be confidently stated that acupuncture is a safe treatment method, so it is probably okay to try it in combination with traditional medicine to promote healing of stroke and other conditions.