This article is in three parts. The first are quotes from web pages. This is data which explains acupuncture. The second section covers my “on the hoof” research. I was fortunate to find a licensed Acupuncturist in my area who could answer questions. Finally, find links to videos as well as a link to what the NIH (National Institute of Health) has to report.
“More than 2,400 years ago the father of medicine, Hippocrates, recognized and described stroke-the sudden onset of paralysis. Until recently, modern medicine has had very little power over this disease, but the world of stroke medicine is changing and new and better therapies are being developed every day. Today, some people who have a stroke can walk away from the attack with no or few disabilities if they are treated promptly. Doctors can finally offer stroke patients and their families the one thing that until now has been so hard to give: hope.
In ancient times stroke was called apoplexy, a general term that physicians applied to anyone suddenly struck down with paralysis. Because many conditions can lead to sudden paralysis, the term apoplexy did not indicate a specific diagnosis or cause. Physicians knew very little about the cause of stroke and the only established therapy was to feed and care for the patient until the attack ran its course.”
“What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points shown as effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.
How does acupuncture work?
Modern Western Medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is Deficient and away from where it is Excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chine there is a saying, “there is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”
Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioners about their particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.
What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?
Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in about half the states in the U.S. Ask your practitioner if your state requires a license to practice. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists. Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add Dipl.Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after their name.”
See this link for answers to other questions about Acupuncture.
After researching the basic facts, I decided to have an acupuncture treatment.
Please check with your physician before proceeding so they can say if it is advisable.
I am on coumadin/warfarin and while just the acupuncture would have been fine for me, there were some other procedures I wanted to try. So I volunteered my son, Christopher. Gee, what a neat dad huh?
There are state laws that govern who can have a professional license. Many of the criteria are very strict. I suggest you view this site to check what the qualifications are in your state.
In the State of Virginia, the requirements to maintain a professional license are extensive. I feel good about having the service rendered.http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/medicine/leg/Licensed acupuncture 3-5-08.doc
What scared me is when I went to the local mall and observed a massage establishment offering acupuncture. I was suspicious because I did not see any professional license.
I then contacted Christie M Savage L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM), who practices in Staunton and Charlottesville, Virginia. http://vaharmonyacupuncture.com/visitors/index.asp?agt=272&style=1.
Christie was extremely helpful to me in understanding Chinese Acupuncture. She explained how it works as follows:
How does acupuncture work?
In traditional Chinese Medicine, there exists a meridian system through the human body. In this system, invisible passageways for energy are called meridians. There are certain points on the body (more than 360) that connect with certain organs and bodily functions. Point Groups on the body that apply to a specific organ or function are found along the same meridian. In a healthy, normal functioning body, the energy in these meridians flows freely resulting in a balanced system. When the flow of energy is interrupted from causes such as stress or injury, this energy is reduced throwing your “Qi” off balance. By performing acupuncture using the points associated with the particular meridian involved, this Qi or balance is restored.
The initial phase of the treatment starts with a medical background question and answer period to determine your issues. A facial examination helps reveal your “Qi”.
This is where I found that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the name for a CVA is “Wind-Stroke” (Zhong Feng). My son is fine, but on me, I have spasms on half of my tongue. Looks like Jiffy pop. So now I felt in tune with “wind”…
Ms. Savage then demonstrated the different methods of this healing art with acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion and guasha. Ms. Savage is interested in treating those with strokes and brain injuries. I encourage all that read this article to visit her website:
I have been contacted by two members of The Stroke Network who have had a high degree of success with acupuncture. It is always wise and practical to be informed. An article by Russ Erickson, MD advises acupuncture therapy for stroke-caused conditions such as paralysis, speech and swallowing problems, and depression is commonly used in the Orient.
In China and Japan, an acupuncturist is likely to start therapy as soon as possible after a stroke. However, my recommendation is a delay of 2 weeks before acupuncture for strokes caused by bleeding in the brain, 10 to 20% of strokes (instead of the usual blood vessel block or clot). The wait is due to studies showing that acupuncture opens blood vessels for better flow and decreases clotting and inflammation. These effects are desired early when arteries are blocked, but after a stroke caused by bleeding has occurred, it is safer to wait until the bleeding blood vessel has clotted and is unlikely to bleed further before providing the acupuncture.
Here are some great videos on stroke survivors who have had success with acupuncture:
This website is a statement from the National Institute of Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809733
I found websites that are pro and con. I have found people that have the treatment and have had good experiences. It is your body and I have read many blogs stating “what is left to do and try? “I am at wits end.”I often read also. Informed decisions are what you need. Never give up !!!!!!
– Column by Chris DeWald