Dr. Jiao shun-fa, a neurosurgeon in China, is the recognized founder of Chinese scalp acupuncture. He systematically undertook the scientific exploration and charting of scalp correspondences starting in 1971. Dr. Jiao combined a modern understanding of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology with traditional techniques of Chinese acupuncture to develop a radical new tool for affecting the functions of the central nervous system.
Scalp acupuncture has been found to have good results on the sequelae of stroke, including hemiplegia, aphasia, various grades of coma, and abnormal sensations in the limbs. According to advanced stroke research and brain imaging technology, physicians are continuing to gain new understanding of how the brain can adapt after stroke in order to regain its ability to function.
New research suggests that normal brain cells are highly adaptable and can undergo changes, not only in function and shape, but also that allow them to take over the functions of nearby damaged cells. As a result, scalp acupuncture is geared toward stimulating and restoring affected brain tissue or retraining unaffected brain function.
Research on the effect of scalp acupuncture for stroke
From 1970 to 1992, Jiao Shun-fa, the founder of scalp acupuncture, collected and analyzed 20,923 cases of paralysis caused by Cerebrovascular Diseases. After treatment on the Motor Area on the scalp, 36.5% were cured (7,637 cases), 34% showed significant improvement(7,117 cases) and about 25% (5196 cases) showed some improvement , with a total effective rate of 95%.
In 1992, another researcher, Jia Huai-yu reported on 1,800 cases of paralysis due to stroke treated on the Motor Area by scalp acupuncture. The result were as follows: 462 cases (25.67% fully recovered, 950 cases (52.78) significantly improved , 292 cases somewhat improved (16.22%), 96 cases failure(5.33%), with a total effective rate of 94.67%. Findings are very similar to above report. (Clinical application of Scalp Acupuncture)
In 2010, Liu Jian-hao and colleagues reported on the treatment of 60 cases of paralysis due to stroke using scalp acupuncture. The duration of the paralysis was from 1 day to 14 days. The patients were randomly divided into a body acupuncture group and a scalp acupuncture group, 30 in each group. Treatments were given once a day and 14 treatments comprised a course. The neurological deficit scores (NDS) was tested on the second and fourteenth days respectively after initial treatment. The results showed that the effective rate was 86.7% (26 out of 30) in the body acupuncture group and 80% (24 out of 30) in the scalp acupuncture group. The NDS of both groups were statistically decreased (P < 0.01).
The time frame for stroke to be treated by scalp acupuncture is crucial:
- Stroke from thrombosis or embolism, the earlier the better;
- Stroke due to hemorrhage however, should not be performed until the patient’s condition is stable.
Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis With Chinese Scalp Acupuncture
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the central nervous system in which communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Approximately 520 000 people in the Americasand 1.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS. Chinese scalp acupuncture, integrated traditional Chinese needling methods with Western medical knowledge of the cerebral cortex, has been proven to be a very effective technique for treating multiple sclerosis (MS).
Jason Hao from Santa Fe, an expert in Scalp acupuncture from New Mexico reported that A 65-year-old male patient who had had MS for 20 years was treated with Chinese scalp acupuncture. The patient was amazed to feel the dizziness, balance, stiffness, and weakness in his legs improve just minutes after a few needles were inserted in his scalp. By the third treatment, Charles’s vision had significantly improved. He also had more energy and was able to do more work at his law office. By the fifth treatment, Charles reported that he was able to walk around his home and office without problems and that he could walk much longer distances. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Jan; 2(1): 8–13.
Acupuncture and post-stroke rehab
A cumulative meta-analysis showed that by 2015, acupuncture had already demonstrated a likely improvement in functional communication in post-stroke aphasia patients, according to recently published article in British Medical Journal: Evidence on acupuncture therapies is underused in clinical practice and health policy.
To date, however, only one Chinese clinical practice guideline has recommended acupuncture therapies for treatment of post-stroke aphasia. In the US alone, 10 million patients with post-stroke aphasia could have benefited from acupuncture treatment.
In our Great Wall Acupuncture Clinic, We often see patients have very positive responses to initial scalp acupuncture and body treatment. Body balance, stiffness, weakness and limb movement are significantly improved.