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The recovery from stroke, accidents, or surgery may be a long and complex process, because the physical injury to the body may lead to subsequent sequelae and other complications. Until recently, the mainstream approach to post-accident and post-operative care is to control the pain through the use of opioid medications until the wound recovers. For stroke, there is a short window of time when medication can be given to dissolve the blood clot or stop the hemorrhage in the brain that caused the stroke. After this, rehabilitative therapy such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are needed in efforts to regain some of the lost functions and skills.
What can acupuncture do for these mentioned conditions?
According to research conducted by Duke University Medical Center, the use of acupuncture before and after surgery is able to reduce surgical patients’ post-operative pain, as well as their need for powerful pain medications, and therefore reducing the risks of the side effects that can delay recovery. Other research presented at an American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting showed that acupuncture was able to reduce the rates of post-operative nausea by 32%, severe itching by 25%, dizziness by 38%, and urinary retention by 71%, as compared with the control groups. Its action in reducing the occurrence of post-operative nausea and vomiting was even shown to be more effective than current medications. Those concerned with the swelling and scarring from the surgery can also use acupuncture to speed up the recovery.
As the number one cause of severe adult disability in the United States, stroke causes the death of affected brain cells, which leads to loss of motor, sensory, cognitive and speech functions, as well as atrophy of muscle groups and parts of the nervous system.
In China, where stroke has been treated with acupuncture, herbs, and tuina for thousands of years, the recovery rate for stroke patient has been once documented in 1984 to be 95% within 3 months from the occurrence of the stroke. How does acupuncture contribute to the difference in stroke rehabilitation in Asia and the West?
Acupuncture combines needling along the scalp, ear, face, and different body parts to stimulate the nervous system and muscular system functions that have been disrupted or loss. When needles are inserted into the scalp in correspondence to the region of the brain affected, blood flow and hormone levels are increased to the targeted area. As a microcosm of the entire body, the ear is also needled to affect the specific body or brain parts that need stimulation and correction. Lastly, the restricted and atrophied muscles in the face and body can be released and strengthened by acupuncture. When these muscles are overly contracted through a long period of time, the flow of blood and nourishment are blocked from the local tissues. By opening up the meridian system and promoting energy and blood to circulate, acupuncture can promote healing and prevent further local deterioration.
If you are interested in finding out more about your symptoms and what acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can do for you, contact us today.