According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. 140,000 people in the US each year die due to a stroke. However, there are many different levels of stroke, and not all are fatal. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the country.
Strokes occur due to restricted blood flow to the brain. When that happens, oxygen is cut off and can’t reach the brain. Depending on the level of the stroke, even a survivor may incur physical ailments as a result of the episode. These include numbness, soreness, muscle weakness and more. One common side effect is facial paralysis, one that can have a very long lasting and difficult, day-to-day impact on health and quality of life.
Thankfully, a recent study shows that one treatment in particular can help restore facial movement in stroke patients: acupuncture.
In fact, it’s a combination of acupuncture treatments that was deemed most successful. Fujian Ningde Hospital in China conducted a study of 60 patients diagnosed with post-stroke paralysis over a two-year period. All patients were administered body acupuncture, while half of the group were administered an additional acupuncture procedure to the scalp.
It’s not surprising that the body acupuncture was found to be quite successful on its own. The results of the study showed a 71% effective rate for those who received only the body acupuncture. But the addition of the scalp acupuncture raised the effective rate to just over 93%. The combination of the two was shown to bring back facial movement in nearly every patient.
“In related findings, laboratory research confirms that acupuncture supports brain repair after a stroke,” the study notes. “Yang et al. note that acupuncture “promote[s] the proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells in the brain.”
Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive and effective way to treat many stoke side effects, including one of the most common and life-altering.