Stroke Rehabilitation

Acupuncture for Stroke Rehabilitation

Acupuncture for Stroke Rehabilitation

Acupuncture has been used in stroke recovery in Eastern countries from ancient times. There is now a convincing body of research on the beneficial effect of adjunct acupuncture treatment on aspects of poststroke recovery including dysphagia, poststroke pain syndrome and spasticity.

Furthermore, there is emerging evidence in the areas of motor recovery, insomnia, cognitive impairment and depression.

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Acupuncture for Stroke Rehabilitation.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific clinical research on Acupuncture for Stroke Rehabilitation. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2021, Jan

Acupuncture plus Rehabilitation for Unilateral Neglect after Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This academic article showed that acupuncture treatments when combined with rehabilitation have a positive effect on motor function, activity of daily life, neurological deficits, and spasticity. Patients are more aware of their limbs and improved symptoms of unilateral neglect.

Hou, Y., Liu, Y., Li, M., Ning, B., Wen, Z., & Fu, W. Full Article

Integrative Medicine Research

2020, Dec

Acupuncture combined with speech rehabilitation training for post-stroke dysarthria: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Integrative Medicine Research Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine

The study revealed in comparison with speech rehabilitation training alone, acupuncture treatments have a more effective respond rate. Patients also showed improvements with dysarthria (slurred speech) and overall better quality of life.

Xie Q, Chen X, Xiao J, Liu S, Yang L, Chen J, Lai J, Lan R, Chen Y, Yang H, Guo X. Full Article

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

2020, Aug

Acupuncture therapy for poststroke spastic hemiplegia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

The study analysed 38 clinical trials with 2628 participants with high efficacy of acupuncture in recovery for post stroke spastic hemiplegia. Patients showed improvements of motor functioning, balance, sensation and joint functions. They also reported to have better performances to activities of life, after including acupuncture treatments with rehabilitation training.

Fan W, Kuang X, Hu J, Chen X, Yi W, Lu L, Xu N, Wang L. Full Article

Frontiers in Neurology

2019, Apr 26

Acupuncture for Post-stroke Shoulder-Hand Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Frontiers in Neurology

This research showcase that acupuncture treatments are effective for post-stroke patients with mild Shoulder-Hand Syndrome. The results highlighted improvements on motor function, pain relief with reduction of join inflammation, muscle weakness and limited range of motions. Acupuncture has supported patients towards returning back to daily activities.

Liu, S., Zhang, C. S., Cai, Y., Guo, X., Zhang, A. L., Xue, C. C., & Lu, C Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine

2018, Dec 12

Effectiveness of Acupuncture Combined with Rehabilitation for Treatment of Acute Or Subacute Stroke: A Systematic Review
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

This clinical systematic review analysed 17 acupuncture trials which demonstrated the treatments to be highly effective. Stroke recovery is higher with acupuncture treatments compared with rehabilitation alone.

Vados, L., Ferreira, A., Zhao, S., Vercelino, R., & Wang, S. Full Article

Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

2018, Jul 18

Acupuncture Treatment for Post-Stroke Dysphagia: An Update Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

The meta-analysis evidently supports the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in treatment to post-stroke dysphagia within a short-term. Patients reported to have better recovery rate compared with rehabilitation or medication.

Li, Lx., Deng, K. & Qu, Y. Full Article

Clinical Rehabilitation

2018, Apr

Traditional manual acupuncture combined with rehabilitation therapy for shoulder hand syndrome after stroke within the Chinese healthcare system: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Clinical Rehabilitation

This academic journal demonstrated that acupuncture is highly effective in alleviating pain when combined with rehabilitation therapy. Patients increased performance levels on stroke-specific assessments and improved on daily life activities.

Peng, L., Zhang, C., Zhou, L., Zuo, H. X., He, X. K., & Niu, Y. M. ( Full Article

Frontiers in Neurology

2018, Jan 31

Effects of Acupuncture on the Recovery Outcomes of Stroke Survivors with Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review
Frontiers in Neurology

This study showed that acupuncture reduced shoulder pain and improved quality of life post-stroke. Patients experienced better shoulder range of motion, less edema and swelling.

Chau, J., Lo, S., Yu, X., Choi, K. C., Lau, A., Wu, J., Lee, V., Cheung, W., Ching, J., & Thompson, D. R. Full Article

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

2017, Apr 25

Electroacupuncture for Poststroke Spasticity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

Electro-acupuncture combined with conventional routine care has the potential of reducing spasticity in the upper and lower limbs. The treatments have overall benefits to daily activities especially lower extremity motor function for patients with spasticity, within 180 days poststroke.

Cai Y, Zhang CS, Liu S, Wen Z, Zhang AL, Guo X, Lu C, Xue CC Full Article

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

2016, Aug 26

Acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Cochrane

This research article showcased that acupuncture treatments have beneficial effects on improving dependency, motor and cognitive functions , with no obvious serious adverse events. The clinical trials also evaluated improvements on reduction of pain and spasticity and increased sleep quality and mental health.

Yang A, Wu HM, Tang JL, Xu L, Yang M, Liu GJ. Full Article

BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies

2016, Jul 19

Acupuncture for insomnia after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies

This clinical article showed high efficacy of acupuncture in treating insomnia post-stroke. Patients mainly experienced hyperactivities of sympathetic nervous system which resulted in disturb sleep patterns. Acupuncture reduced other post-stroke insomnia symptoms such as anxiety, depression and side effects from antipsychotic drugs. It was effective improving overall quality of sleep and lifestyle.

Lee, SH., Lim, S.M. Full Article

Scientific Reports

2016, Jan 20

Acupuncture for neurogenesis in experimental ischemic stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Scientific Reports

This systematic review found that acupuncture improved neurological deficits and reduced brain edema in experimental ischemia. Patients under the acupuncture group have enhanced Neurological function score with increased endogenous neurogenesis.

Lu, L., Zhang, Xg., Zhong, L. et al. Full Article


2014, Dec 1

An Updated Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture Treatment for Cerebral Infarction
PLOS One Public Library of Science

This clinical article demonstrated that acupuncture treatment is effective, compared to controlled group with rehabilitation therapy for cerebral infarction.

Li Li, Hong Zhang , Shu-qing Meng, Hai-zhou Qian Full Article

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

2014, Jul 8

A Meta-Analysis of Acupuncture Use in the Treatment of Cognitive Impairment After Stroke
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Society for Acupuncture Research

This meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture had positive effects on cognitive function after stroke and supports the need for additional research on the potential benefits of this therapeutic approach.

Fang Liu, Zhuang-Miao Li, Yi-Jing Jiang, and Li-Dian Chen. Full Article


2014, Jan

Overview of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Acupuncture for Stroke

The journal article suggested that acupuncture may be effective for treating poststroke neurological impairment and dysfunction such as dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing). Patients suffering from dysphagia after stroke reported to have improved symptoms after acupuncture treatments.

Zhang J. Wang D. Liu M. Full Article

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

2012, Sep

Acupuncture for Shoulder Pain After Stroke: A Systematic Review
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Society for Acupuncture Research

This systematic review proved that acupuncture combined with exercise is effective for shoulder pain after stroke. Patients showed improvements with axillary nerve pain, spasticity of shoulder muscles and mobility of rotator cuff muscles.

Jung Ah Lee, Si-Woon Park, Pil Woo Hwang, Sung Min Lim, Sejeong Kook, Kyung In Choi, and Kyoung Sook Kang. Full Article


2010, Feb 18

Acupuncture in Poststroke Rehabilitation
Stroke American Heart Associatio

The clinical systematic review and meta analysis of randomised controlled trials demonstrates that acupuncture is effective in improving post-stroke rehabilitation.

Ping Wu , Edward Mills , David Moher , and Dugald Seely Full Article

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