Acupuncture for Stroke & TIA Recovery

Acupuncture for Stroke & TIA Recovery

What is a stroke?

A stroke is the result of blood supply to a part of the brain being suddenly cut off. The brain cells need a constant supply of oxygen from the blood. If the blood supply is restricted for long enough, the cells in the affected area of brain become damaged and die. A stroke is sometimes called a brain attack. If the blood supply is temporarily restricted but returns before any permanent damage is done it is called a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or ‘mini-stroke’.

What causes a stroke?

  • The blood supply to the brain comes mainly from four arteries. They branch into many smaller arteries which supply blood to all areas of the brain. The
    area of brain affected, and the extent of the damage, depends on which blood vessel is affected.
  • If you lose the blood supply from a main artery, then a large area of your brain is affected, which can cause severe symptoms.
  • If a small branch artery is affected, then only a small area of brain is damaged which may cause relatively minor symptoms.
  • Stroke can be caused by ischaemia (a blockage from a blood clot which reduces blood flow and therefore oxygen to the brain) or a haemorrhage,
    which refers to bleeding from one of the brain blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

The symptoms will vary depending on which part of the brain has been affected. Symptoms develop suddenly and usually include one or more of the following:

  • Weakness of an arm, leg, or both. This may range from total paralysis of one side of the body, to mild clumsiness of one hand.
  • Facial weakness
  • Problems with balance and coordination, vision, speech, communication, or swallowing
  • Dizziness or unsteadiness
  •  Numbness in a part of the body
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness (occurs in severe cases).

What is a mini-stroke?

  • A mini-stroke is a set of symptoms similar to a stroke but the person recovers within 24 hours.
  • It is due to a temporary lack of blood to a part of the brain. The medical term is a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).
  • Normally a TIA is caused by a tiny blood clot that becomes stuck in a small blood vessel (artery) in the brain. This blocks the blood flow and a part of the
    brain is starved of oxygen for just a few minutes, and soon recovers.
  • Unlike a stroke, the symptoms of a TIA soon go. However, you should see a doctor urgently if you have a TIA, as you are at increased risk of having a full

Facial Palsy

Facial palsy in stroke cases is a result of damage to the facial nerve inside the brain. In case of an ischaemic stroke, damage to the brain tissue and nerves is caused by lack of oxygen. In case of a haemorrhagic stroke, the bleeding puts pressure on the nearby tissue and nerves. In both cases, cells are killed within minutes.

Symptoms of facial palsy

These are the main symptoms associated with strokes. It iks important to remember that every stroke is different.

  • The lower part of one side of the face is normally affected (the forehead is
    usually spared). However, the eye can be involved if the stroke is in the
    brainstem as the person will experience damage to the facial nucleus; which
    will present without forehead sparing.
  • The hand, arm and or leg on one side of the body may become weak.
  • The brow and upper eyelid normally remain fully functional although the
    lower eyelid may be pulled down by the weight of the cheek. This happens
    because the cheek muscle loses its tone and strength.
  • The face tends to droop but a spontaneous or involuntary smile may be
    preserved. A voluntary smile is more difficult to achieve.
  • The corner of the mouth is weak, resulting in drooling.
  • There may be difficulty in understanding what is being said.
  • here may be difficulty in finding the right words and speech may be very
    difficult for the listener to understand.
  • Speech may be slurred because of weakness of the muscles responsible for
  • Eating and drinking may also become difficult.
  • Confusion and loss of consciousness may develop.

Acupuncture Treatment for Stroke Symptoms

The dianosis of a Stroke, in the Chinese Medicine terms, indicates a “Wind-stroke” (Zhong Feng); the Chinese
term clearly refers to the pathogenic factor involved as Feng,  meaning Wind. Wind-stroke in
Chinese medicine corresponds to four possible Western medical conditions:

• cerebral haemorrhage
• cerebral thrombosis
• cerebral embolism
• spasm of a cerebral vessel.

The aetiology of Wind-stroke is very complex as this condition, there are four main aetiological factors:

  1. Overwork and emotional stress
  2. Irregular diet and physical overwork
  3. Physical overwork and inadequate rest
  4. Excessive sexual activity and inadequate rest.

The pathology of Wind-stroke may be summarized in four words: WIND—PHLEGM—FIRE—STASIS

There are two types of Wind-stroke:

• Severe type, which attacks the Internal Organs and the channels
• Mild type, which attacks only the channels.


This type is charactized by the following:

1) Tense (or Close) type – Sudden collapse, loss of consciousness, coma, clenched teeth, closed fists.
2) Flaccid (or Open) type – Sudden collapse, loss of consciousness, coma, hands and mouth open, eyes closed.

Sequelae of attack of the Internal Organs:
•Facial paralysis (deviation of eye and mouth)
•Slurred speech
•Numbness of limbs


Attack of main channels resulting in: Facial paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness of limbs, limitation of movement, slurred speech.
Attack of Connecting (Luo) channels only, unilateral numbness of face and limbs, slurred speech.

The main treatment based on Chinese Medicine differentiation and patterns would involve. Electro acupuncture and scalp Acupuncture with corresponding herbal medicines in the clinic.To learn more about acupuncture @ our clinic check out our website here. You can call us @ 780-429-3400 book an appoinment or you can book an appointment from our online booking .