Acupuncture is used daily in China and Japan for serious medical conditions. In my post-graduate training at Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, I remember being amazed by how readily physicians turn to it for major medical problems. Compare that to the United States where, if it is used at all, it tends to be seen as a luxury. Something for a spa treatment day.
We in the U.S. are missing out on a powerful piece of integrated healthcare. Acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation (also known as scalp acupuncture) works by opening up blood vessels to send more blood flow to the brain. It is important to work with someone experienced in stroke rehabilitation acupuncture, because anything encouraging more blood flow after a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain should be carefully monitored.
As a part of my own continuing education, I have received many hours of training in this area. I have helped patients get better faster, perform better in self-care, walk, and return to a more normal life.
But don't take my word for it. Russ Erickson, MD has this to say on the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture website.
“Acupuncture is a safe therapy, and my experience has taught that this is especially true when helping stroke victims. Even discomfort is generally minimal. If one compares the possible positive help to be obtained with the risks associated with acupuncture, my contention is that acupuncture is worthy to attempt for stroke therapy.”