What is Neuro-Acupuncture?
Neuro-Acupuncture combines the concept of the cerebral cortex’s organization and its function with the principles of acupuncture, allowing for treatment of diseases through needling of points on the scalp. Generally, the stimulation areas in scalp acupuncture have a functional connection to specific sections of the cerebral cortex.
Neuro-Acupuncture is extremely safe and effective. It requires very few needles and effects are often seen immediately. Most commonly used for post-stroke recovery, Neuro-Acupuncture in fact treats many other neurological problems: Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, phantom pain, PTSD, Autism, anxiety, and pain.
Neuro-Acupuncture is based on the latest scientific understanding of brain area functioning and neuroplasticity. By stimulating areas associated with motor, sensory or other functional impairments through acupuncture, brain cells are induced to make new connections and its surrounding neurons are then recruited to reform circuitry and restore lost abilities.
Integrating Neuro-Acupuncture and Rehabilitation
Neuro-Acupuncture Rehabilitation (NAR) highlights an integrative treatment approach for stroke and other neurological problems by combining various styles of neuro-acupuncture and evidence-based rehabilitation. Treatments are much more effective and efficient when practitioners integrate techniques such as the Bobath NDT (Neuro-developmental Therapy), Brunnstrom and PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation).
Here are studies suggest that acupuncture may benefit people who have had a stroke:
Functional Mobility and Activities: A research review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2016 sized up 31 studies (with a total of 2257 participants) on acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation. According to the study's authors, acupuncture may have effects on improving dependency, overall neurological deficiency, and some specific neurological impairments for people who have had strokes .
In a research review published in Acupuncture in Medicine in 2015, scientists examined previously published clinical trials comparing acupuncture and rehabilitation therapy to rehabilitation alone in people who were three months or less post-stroke. In their conclusion, the authors state that acupuncture with rehabilitation has benefits over rehabilitation alone.
Findings from a few other studies suggest that acupuncture may have specific benefits during stroke rehabilitation:
Swallowing Difficulties After Stroke: After a stroke, some people have difficulty swallowing (a condition known as dysphagia) which makes eating and drinking challenging and can result in choking and aspiration. For a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews in 2012, researchers sized up 33 previously published studies (with a total of 6779 participants) comparing different treatments for dysphagia in people who had a stroke within six months of enrolling in the study. In their review, the report authors found evidence that acupuncture reduced dysphagia.
Spasticity: After a stroke, some people have muscle stiffness and involuntary contraction (known as spasticity), which can make performing daily activities difficult. A report published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2017 analyzed 22 previously published trials on electroacupuncture use on stroke-related spasticity. The report's authors found that electroacupuncture within the six months post-stroke combined with conventional care may help to reduce spasticity in the upper and lower limbs.