How to Help Stroke Rehabilitation With Acupuncture
Stroke rehabilitation is a critical phase in the journey toward recovery for individuals who have experienced a stroke. While conventional therapies, such as physical and occupational therapy, play a crucial role in regaining lost functions, acupuncture has also gained attention for its potential to enhance the recovery process. Research has demonstrated that the combination of acupuncture with traditional stroke rehabilitation methods yields the most effective results in stroke recovery, particularly when implemented as early as possible.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability for individuals over the age of 20 here in Canada, affecting approximately 878,500 Canadians (about the population of New Brunswick).
A stroke is a medical emergency event that occurs when the flow of blood to some part of the brain is blocked, starving that part of the brain of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, while a hemorrhagic stroke is characterized by the rupture or leakage of a blood vessel within the brain. These types of strokes lead to neurological deficits that can impact motor abilities, speech, cognitive capacities, and overall quality of life.
How a person goes through the recovery process after a stroke can make a huge difference in the ultimate outcome. Stroke rehabilitation aims to help patients regain lost abilities and improve their functional independence through targeted therapies.
Can Acupuncture Help Stroke Rehabilitation?
Stroke can lead to damage in some regions of the brain due to disrupted blood flow. A study by the National Library of Medicine found that acupuncture may be helpful in the early stages of stroke recovery by increasing blood flow to injured areas. It works to enhance the flow of Qi and blood to blocked areas of the body. By increasing blood circulation to these injured areas, acupuncture supports the healing process and potentially aids in the restoration of functions that were affected by the stroke.
Acupuncture has been explored as a complementary therapy to aid in stroke rehabilitation. While it’s not a standalone solution, it can play a beneficial role in promoting recovery alongside conventional treatments.
More Benefits of Acupuncture for Stroke Recovery
Stroke survivors may experience various secondary effects including spasticity, difficulty swallowing, and/or imbalance. Fortunately, many of these effects can be properly managed by combining therapy and acupuncture.
Many stroke survivors experience pain and discomfort, which can hinder their progress in rehabilitation. By stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, acupuncture can help alleviate pain and improve the patient’s comfort.
Motor Function Improvement
Acupuncture could help enhance hemorrhagic stroke patients’ motor function and muscle strength, primarily by improving lower limb ability. This has the potential to provide benefits to stroke patients by contributing to better motor function and coordination—both of which are crucial aspects of stroke recovery.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize and adapt by forming new neural connections. Acupuncture might enhance neuroplasticity, thereby promoting the repair of damaged neural pathways. It could compensate for damaged areas and aid in the brain’s rewiring process.
Muscle spasticity is a common complication after a stroke, causing muscle stiffness and involuntary contractions. Acupuncture’s ability to relax muscles and ease tension can contribute to the reduction of spasticity. Through the stimulation of specific acupuncture points, it may promote a more balanced muscle tone, enabling smoother and more controlled movements.
When the area of the brain responsible for swallowing is damaged, it can result in dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. This presents a significant challenge for stroke survivors due to weakened or uncoordinated throat muscles. Acupuncture can target points related to the throat and muscles involved in swallowing. Through point stimulation, it enhances muscle function, coordination, and overall swallowing ability. As a result, it can effectively reduce the risk of aspiration and related complications.
Reach Out to Simple Cures for Stroke Rehabilitation
This is where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture treatment works to enhance the flow of Qi and blood to blocked areas of the body, reestablish connections in the nervous system, and stimulate muscle and organ tissues to aid in healing after stroke.
At Simple Cures, our experienced practitioners specialize in Acupuncture. We’re happy to do a free consultation with you to see if Acupuncture might be a fit for your Stroke recovery.