Choosing the right treatment regiment for post stroke patients is a major factor in their recovery and plays a vital role in determining their quality of life after a cerebral accident. Most physicians agree that post stroke care should be delivered by experienced health care practitioners within different treatment disciplines to help improve all of the various aspects of the patient’s life.
Chinese medicine theory recognizes four main pathological factors (agents) of stroke: Wind, Fire, Phlegm and Stasis. There are also considered to be four leading contributing factors to stroke, related to lifestyle: emotional stress, overwork, poor diet and excessive sexual activity.
Acupuncture can play a pivotal role in these patients rehabilitation and help to alleviate and reduce symptoms such as: hemiplegic, muscle spasticity, aphasia, dysphasia or difficulties swallowing, sudden confusion (dementia), mental processes impairment, depression and urine incontinence and retention. Scientific studies indicate that acupuncture can: facilitate nerve regeneration; decrease blood viscosity; prevent the aggregation of blood cells, dilate blood vessels by triggering the release of hormones; and help surviving nerve cells find new pathways, effectively by-passing damaged parts of the brain.
Most westerns are indeed unaware that Chinese physicians were actually the first to characterize the clinical symptoms of the condition that we have now come to know as apoplexy or stroke and define its causes. In one of the first medical annals of these physicians, “The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Cannon,” written over 5,000 years ago, it describes the cause of sudden falls, loss of consciousness, and hemiplegic in those persons overweight as being due to the intake of rich and fatty foods and can be directly attributed to the cutting off of one’s circulation of qi (and by extension blood) between the upper and lower parts of the body (Su Wen, Tong Ping Xu Shi Lun, Chapter 28).