Stroke – Acupuncture treatment

Treatment for stroke recovery

Treatment for stroke recovery is always a challenge. The main symptom of a stroke is paralysis, and it is very important to recover a patient’s ability to move and feel during the treatment for stroke recovery. Besides cancer and heart disease, stroke is the third-leading cause of death. Approximately 1/4 of all stroke victims die as a direct result of the stroke or its complications. In this article, when we discuss stroke treatment, we discuss paralysis treatment because, at the phase of the stroke, when natural medicines are joining the treatment, partial or full paralysis of the half of the body, paraplegia, is the main symptom and main problem.

Stroke Treatment

Stroke treatment involves drugs and processes that help reduce and dissolve blood clots. To save the life of a patient suffering from a brain attack or stroke, it is necessary to offer proper medication before it gets too late, and hence, it is important to understand the symptoms of stroke as early as possible. Listed below are stroke treatments:

Fibrinolysis, or thrombolytic drugs used for the treatment of stroke

These drugs help remove any interruption in the blood flow of the arteries as they significantly dissolve the blood clot, hampering the blood flow. These stroke treatments are very useful in helping patients suffering from ischemic strokes. In 1996, the Federal Food and Drug Administration approved the first thrombolytic drug as an acute ischemic stroke treatment, known as the ‘clot buster’ Alteplase recombinant Activase.

tPA treatment for stroke:

tPA is a natural enzyme that is found in our body. Its primary function is to convert plasminogen into another enzyme that effectively dissolves blood clots in a person’s arteries. Doctors in IV use tPA enzyme treatment for stroke recovery to speed up the process of dissolving clots in arteries. It is necessary to provide this treatment to a patient suffering from an acute stroke within the first three hours of the brain attack.

MERCI Retrieval System:

The MERCI Retrieval System is used when a patient fails to attain proper tPA enzyme treatment within the first three hours of a brain attack. In such cases, when a patient is ineligible for IV-tPA treatment, doctors use the MERCI Retrieval System to remove the blood clots and increase blood flow in larger brain vessels.

Treatment for stroke recovery depends on the stroke symptoms and how the patient feels and reacts. This is why most people look deeply into the effectiveness of natural remedies for stroke.

What is a stroke?

A stroke, also called a cerebrovascular accident or brain attack, is a sudden impairment of cerebral circulation in one or more of the blood vessels supplying the brain. Strokes interrupt the oxygen supply to the brain tissues and can cause severe damage. For anyone who has suffered a stroke, it is vitally important to restore average circulation as soon as possible to limit damage to the brain tissues.

Brain attack
A medical illustration of a brain with stroke symptoms

Although mortality from strokes has been significantly reduced from around 90% in the 1950s, the number still hovers around 30%, and stroke could soon be the most common cause of death worldwide.

Strokes can happen to anyone; they affect people from all walks of life, young or old, fat or thin, male or female. Strokes are often put into two major categories: ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Stroke is or should be a serious concern for everyone. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability. A stroke is usually caused when a blood clot or blood gets into parts of the brain it is not supposed to. There are two types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. In an ischemic stroke, there is an accumulation of lipids, just like you see in arteriosclerosis. These lipids form barriers called plaques. These plaques can rupture, which can make the blood around the clot. Blood clots are good outside the blood vessels, but when in the blood vessels, they can block the blood vessels. Blocking the brain’s blood vessels can prevent oxygen and nutrients from entering the brain’s cells, leading to stroke. 

Understanding stroke

In a hemorrhagic stroke, the blood vessels surrounding the brain rupture, allowing blood to cross the barrier between the brain and blood. Blood vessels get nutrients and oxygen to the brain through fluids in this barrier. When blood comes into direct contact with the brain, this can lead to a stroke.


Ischemic stroke

80% of stroke cases are ischemic strokes, which result from a blood clot obstructing the brain’s blood supply. This usually occurs in either of the following two ways:

  • Embolic Stroke: This is where a blood clot has formed elsewhere in the body and travels through the bloodstream to the brain, which then gets stuck in a smaller blood vessel that blocks blood flow.
  • Thrombotic stroke: This is where a clot forms in blood vessels that are already clogged with fatty deposits. These fatty deposits usually clog major blood vessels in the individual’s neck, reducing blood flow to the brain.

    illustration of the vessels of the brain and a brief description of the causes of stroke

Hemorrhagic stroke

A blood vessel in the brain that bursts and then leaks blood into the brain is what causes a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke accounts for approximately 20% of all strokes and can happen in either of the following two ways:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage: This is where the blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills blood into the brain tissue, which then damages the cells. The brain tissue in the surrounding area is also deprived of oxygen and damaged.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: This is when bleeding starts in a blood vessel on and very near the brain’s surface and spills blood into the space between the brain’s surface and the skull itself.

There is also a related condition known as a transient ischemic attack, which is often referred to as a mini-stroke. This occurs when a clot or debris interrupts or blocks blood flow to a specific part of the brain. It frequently goes unrecognized, as the symptoms are very slight and most commonly last briefly. The effect of several of these mini-strokes can be as debilitating as a severe stroke.


What causes a stroke?

There are similar causes of stroke and heart disease, but in stroke, the result is more severe. Any delay in rescue will result in the death of the victim. Here are some causes of stroke:

Unhealthy diet

A diet high in saturated and trans fats causes bad cholesterol to build up in your blood vessels in the brain, blocking oxygen needed for the cells and thus increasing the risk of stroke. Also, an unhealthy diet causes high blood pressure, making your heart work harder to pump blood to your body due to heart disease. High blood pressure also causes the blood vessels in your brain to harden and thin, increasing the risk of stroke.


Smoking is one of the causes of stroke and has a devastating effect not only on the health of the smoker but also on anyone who inhales its toxic fumes. Cigarettes contain high levels of cadmium that cause the blood to clot and inhibit the activity of cells, blocking blood flow and damaging the blood vessels in the brain.

Excessive alcohol consumption

Moderate drinking is good for your heart, but excessive drinking can raise levels of some fats in your blood, causing cholesterol to build up in the arteries and blood vessels in the brain, increasing the risk of stroke.


People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease or have strokes at an earlier age than other people. Diabetes with an unhealthy diet causes high blood glucose levels that damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death among people with diabetes.

Obesity: a body mass index of 30 or higher

A study shows that even after adjusting for other stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, cardiac diseases, moderate alcohol consumption, and physical activity, obesity is still associated with the most significant risk of stroke in men and women.

Use of birth control pills

Birth control pills are also one of the causes of stroke because they contain estrogen and one of two other hormones, lynestrenol or norethisterone, that increase the risk of blood clotting, which can lead to ischemic stroke, especially in women who smoke and who are older than 35.

Symptoms of stroke

Stroke signs

Listed below are stroke symptoms

  • Due to artery narrowing and high blood pressure, sudden difficulty standing is an early sign of stroke.
  • Dizziness and loss of balance: The brain coordinates information from the eyes, the inner ear, and the body’s senses to maintain balance. If the cells in that part of the brain get damaged due to depleted oxygen, it will cause dizziness and a loss of balance.
  • Having trouble speaking and understanding: Having difficulty speaking and understanding is one of the stroke symptoms that occurs when the brain cells in the area of the Broca, Wernicke, and angular gyrus in the left hemisphere area begin to die because they stop getting oxygen and nutrients they need to function.
  • Sudden, severe headaches: a headache is a condition of pain in the head; sometimes, neck or upper back pain may also be interpreted as a headache. It ranks among the most common local pain complaints and may be frequent for many people. However, as we have previously mentioned, rupturing a brain vessel or a lack of oxygen in some parts of the brain can result in sudden, severe headaches, which may be an early sign of heart disease.
  • Sudden trouble seeing: This may be an early indication of stroke when the oxygen in the blood supply to the part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into cells that control the vision area of the cerebral cortex in the brain.

Stroke signs

Natural remedies for stroke treatment

Natural remedies for stroke often appeal to stroke patients who prefer to avoid the unwanted side effects of medication. While modern medicine can play an essential role in recovery, the following solutions can help boost your recovery from stroke naturally. Listed below are natural stroke remedies:

Home treatment for stroke

Home treatment for stroke is a natural remedy for stroke that has been proven to be effective. Listed below is a home treatment for stroke

Exercises for stroke patients are an essential part of stroke treatment.

Exercise for stroke patients is one of the most critical and essential parts of the home treatment for stroke that can help patients regain mobility and strength in the body. In the early stages of stroke recovery, patients often exercise with the help of an expert team. Using stroke recovery exercises, physical and occupational therapists are a great asset to your recovery journey.

Listed below are stroke recovery exercises:

Wrist Curls

  • Wrist curls are one exercise for stroke patients to improve their range of motion and strength Wrist Curle exercisein the forearm and hand. To achieve this exercise, hold a lightweight, such as a can of beans or a water bottle, in your palm. Rest your forearm face up on a table or your lap. Flex your wrist by bringing your palm toward your forearm. You can also work wrist extension by turning your forearm face down and bringing the back of your hand toward your forearm.

Shoulder Openers

  • Shoulder openers are a stroke recovery exercise that helps improve the shoulder’s strength and range of motion and prevent complications like a frozen shoulder or shoulder subluxation. To achieve this, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and hold them at your sides. Externally rotate your arms like you’re opening a door. Think about initiating the movement by squeezing your shoulder blades together.

shoulder opener

Table Circles

  • Table circles are a stroke recovery exercise that improves arm strength and coordination and promotes neuroplasticity (reorganization of nerves and brain cells). To achieve this, clasp your hands and place them on a table before you. Using a large “churning” motion, trace a large circle with your hands around the table. Use your strong arm to lead, if necessary. Try ten times clockwise, then ten times counterclockwise.

Yoga for stroke recovery—another effective treatment for stroke

Yoga for stroke recovery is a treatment that helps increase flexibility, improve balance, increase strength, provide a more excellent range of motion in the neck and hip, reduce pain, and enhance energy levels. Also, because yoga requires intense focus, it enhances neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new connections. This enables the brain to correct or adapt to damage caused by a stroke.

Stroke yoga

The benefits of yoga for stroke recovery

  • Improves mind and body correction
  • Improves Balance, Range of Motion, and Strength
  • Improves walking and balance
  • Accessible for All Stroke Patients

Massage is a very popular form of natural treatment for stroke

Massage is a home treatment for stroke. Massage is a unique kind of touch therapy that has been shown to reduce depression and lower blood pressure. Some research has shown that it is helpful to stroke survivors since it helps to reduce the quantity of anxiety and depression they feel over their restrictions. It can also bring enhanced blood flow to muscles that are either paralyzed or spastic.

Homeopathy for stroke is one of the most effective forms of natural treatment for stroke

Stroke Homeopathy

Homeopathy is one of the most popular natural stroke remedies. The aim of homeopathy for stroke is not only to treat stroke symptoms but also to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. Regarding homeopathy for stroke, several remedies are available to treat stroke symptoms, and they can be selected based on the cause, sensations, and modalities of the complaints.

Listed below are homeopathy medicines for stroke:

Ferrum Phosphoricum

  • This is believed to be a valuable homeopathic medicine for brain stroke. Homeopathic medications deal with mild to severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain, headaches, vomiting, insomnia problems, strokes or convulsions, and seizures.

Baryta Carbonica

  • This is useful for post-stroke symptoms in the elderly. These types may take a cold easily, suffer from dementia, or have a slow mental grasp. They become sluggish and inept. They have difficulty concentrating and become shy towards strangers, almost childish. They may suffer from senility and other types of cardiovascular disease.


  • This is homeopathy for stroke, which is well-indicated post-stroke when the event has just happened. There is great fear and anxiety; an emotional shock or fright may have precipitated it. These types feel restlessness and tossing about.

Nux Vomica

  • Nux is one of the homeopathic medicines for stroke. It is a suitable drug for the treatment of ischemia as well as for passive cerebral congestion.

Acupuncture for stroke: the best treatment for stroke in the rehabilitation phase

Acupuncture for stroke is popular because most of the patients who underwent this kind of treatment showed faster and easier recovery from stroke than the control group that was treated traditionally.

Stroke acupuncture

Acupuncture is a TCM medical practice technique that has been around for almost 4,000 years. It involves the use of fine, disinfected needles inserted into the skin by a certified acupuncturist. These needles are placed on specific body areas that are said to release various forms of natural healing energy. For example, pressure on the “point of the third eye” between the eyebrows is believed to relieve headaches.

Although acupuncture is primarily recognized as a natural treatment for chronic pain, its potential benefits go far beyond that. It has been used to improve sleep and digestion. This practice is also believed to relax the mind and relieve stress or anxiety.

In a 2005 clinical study, a large group of patients who suffered from a stroke received acupuncture for stroke recovery treatment. The goal of the therapy was to alleviate the pain and discomfort after the stroke. The researchers found that participants who received acupuncture saw improvements in wrist spasticity and the range of motion of the wrist and shoulder. Although those who received acupuncture saw greater improvement than those who did not, the improvement level was not considered clinically significant.

More recent clinical trials have demonstrated that treating stroke-related shoulder pain with acupuncture, exercise, and yoga poses is effective.

More research is needed to determine if acupuncture has the ultimate effect on stroke recovery.

What do you do if you notice someone having a stroke?

A stroke is an emergency situation. Seconds of panic and indecision can make all the difference in the survival of stroke victims and the quality of life afterward. If your loved one is having a stroke, do not panic; remember the acronym FAST. FAST is a fast way to determine if someone is having a stroke. “F” stands for face; check the face of the person for signs of drooling and an inability to control the whole or part of the face. “A” is arms; ask the person to lift both arms. Is the person having difficulty lifting both or one of his arms? “S” is for speech—can the person conveniently repeat a sentence after you? “T” is for time. If the person fails all the above tests, it is likely to be a stroke. Take note of the time and seek medical help immediately. Timing is everything!

Acupuncture after stroke—step #1 on the road to recovery after a stroke attack:

After medical treatment for a stroke, recovery is usually slow. A stroke can cause severe disabilities after the initial attack, and a stroke victim needs a lot of care.  Acupuncture in stroke recovery can help to reinstate patients’ ability to be independent in a lot of ways after suffering from this medical condition. We are going to talk more about that in this article.

Acupuncture and stroke recovery: the #1 natural treatment for stroke

There have been so many studies on acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation. In fact, as of 2012, the number of studies has increased tremendously as Western medicine has started to recognize the effect of acupuncture on pain. Studies suggest that the earlier you start acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation, the better the results and the more chances that you will get out of this condition. Also, acupuncture after stroke seems to be safe, as no known studies have documented any adverse effects of acupuncture on stroke patients. So, the overall suggestion is that if you have had a stroke, you should start acupuncture as a treatment method as soon as you are stable. However, you can still do it at later stages. How exactly acupuncture improves stroke recovery is not well known. However, studies point to enhanced blood circulation to parts of the brain and limbs affected by stroke. These studies show things like the dilation of blood vessels around the paralyzed areas. This dilation does not seem to affect regular regions. Some studies have also suggested that acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation may significantly decrease fibrinogen, a major component of blood clots in the blood vessels. Also, some studies of electro-acupuncture show an increase in serotonin levels of the platelets, which help in reducing depression as a result of the effects of a stroke attack and can contribute to improving stroke. All these possible mechanisms can explain how acupuncture may work to improve the health and quality of life after a stroke incident.

Apart from the possible mechanisms, studies also show significant improvements in the quality of life of people suffering from strokes when used along with other forms of therapy. At least seven high-quality studies from different people showed that stroke recovery is way greater if acupuncture is incorporated into people’s treatment regimens. This is true, especially when acupuncture is initiated within 1 to 3 months of a stroke attack. The studies seem to suggest that using acupuncture after stroke three times a week for at least one month can show long-lasting positive effects in recovery from stroke. Studies generally show improved motor functions like the ability to move arms and legs better, perform daily activities, have a better quality of life, improve balance, mobility, and walking, and have better control of emotions. A study even used a CT scan as a diagnostic tool in response to acupuncture treatment (a CT scan is a standard diagnostic tool for stroke patients in conventional medicine). The CT scan showed promising results in people who used acupuncture. The studies show that combining acupuncture with physiotherapy and other treatments significantly improved recovery. One of the studies showed that acupuncture was more economical as it reduced the time spent in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. The study estimated a saving of $26,000 per patient. This study was done in Sweden, and Sweden may have higher rehabilitation costs. All in all, acupuncture is a cost-effective and health-effective way to add more value to recovery after a stroke.

If you have any questions regarding acupuncture treatment, contact our team or schedule an appointment with Dr. Tsan for an acupuncture evaluation.