Find an acupuncturist...

Can stroke victim benefit from acupunture and how?

A: We have published a rather dense review paper on our website please click here  
which is perhaps aimed more at the medical reader than the public, but the bottom line is that there is an increasing amount of eviden which suggests that acupuncture may be of considerable benefit for treating people who have suffered strokes. However, since much of the research takes place in China and is not always as methodologically rigorous as in the West, it is not yet considered good enough to make a firm recommendation. This is not because the research is sloppy, by the way. The main problem is that acupuncture is already believed to work by the Chinese, so research is often focused on what works better or best. In the West people still aren't wholly convinced that it works, so take issue with studies which don't make this the priority.
In China acupuncture is often used to treat stroke victims, often within hours of the stroke and as much as possible within the first few weeks. The underlying belief is that the stroke has severely disrupted the flow of energy, called 'qi', in the channels of flow, and it is this disruption which causes the temporary paralysis and spasms associated with strokes. The acupuncture is used to reinstate the proper flow, and that's why it is administered so quickly. The longer it is left untreated, the more the untoward patterns become locked in and harder to shift. In the West, where people often come to acupuncture as a last resort after six months of other treatments, this can reduce the effectiveness of treatment a little.
Everyone is different, though, and it is this factor which is central to diagnosis and treatment planning in Chinese medicine which makes it difficult to generalise about all cases. The best advice always is to discuss the unique presentation with a BAcC local to you and see what they say. Most of our members are more than happy to give up some time to assess with a potential patient face to face whether treatment may be of benefit, and we trust that they are honest enough to tell you if they think it isn't.        



Post a question

If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.

Ask an expert

BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

Browse the facts