Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Poststroke Recovery Results


Acupuncture benefits the recovery process for patients that have had a stroke. Hefei First People’s Hospital conducted a clinical trial and determined an effective acupuncture protocol to improve patients’ neurological function. The research determined that acupuncture also significantly improves serum inflammatory factors and coagulation states. [1] Furthermore, they determined that electroacupuncture produced greater positive patient outcomes over standard care.

Neurological deficit scores were recorded and assessed at T0 (before treatment), T1 (3 days after treatment ), T2 (7 days after treatment), and T3 (14 days after treatment ). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect the levels of TNF-α and IL-1β in serum as well as the levels of coagulation status indicators, including platelet molecular marker 1 (PAC-1) and D-dimer (D-D) in patients. The results show that neurological function scores of patients in both groups improved and indicated a positive correlation between time and curative effect. The figure of the electroacupuncture group increased to 21.9 ±7.05 at T1, higher than that of the standard care control group (15.24 ±1.68). Overall, the curative effect of the electroacupuncture group was more significant. Levels of TNF-α, TIL-1β, PAC-1, and D-D improved more considerably in the electroacupuncture group.

Total efficacy was calculated using the above parameter and was classified into three categories: significantly effective, effective, and ineffective. Within the 32 cases in the electroacupuncture group, 13 were significantly effective, 17 were effective and 2 were ineffective. Total efficacy rate was at 93.75%. Standard care also produced significant results. Within the 28 cases in the standard care control group, 5 were significantly effective, 16 were effective, and 7 were ineffective. Total efficacy rate was at 75%.

The study used a sample comprised of 60 cases admitted into the hospital. The patients were randomized into a regular care group of 28 cases and an electroacupuncture group of 32 cases. Patients’ CT or MRI results indicated cerebral infarction. Body function of the patients was impacted. Neurological deficit scores ranged from 7 to 27 points. All patients were at the poststroke stage. There was no statistical difference between the two groups as regards to gender, age, and course of condition at the outset.

For the standard care group, patients were instructed to perform 30-minute physical exercises every day to improve the flexibility of joints, muscular strength, endurance, and ability to conduct precise movement so as to enhance their self-reliance in daily life.

For the electroacupuncture group, patients took a lateral position. Needles (0.30mm × 40mm) were sterilized and inserted. Two points were used in the treatment procedure.

For GV20 (Baihui), needles were inserted posteriorly with an insertion length of 0.5 to 0.8 cun. For GV16 (Fengfu), needles were inserted obliquely toward the tip of the nose. Insertion length was 0.5 to 1 cun. Deep perpendicular or superior oblique insertion is contraindicated for this acupoint. Fengfu was connected to the positive electrode and Baihui was connected to the negative electrode. Frequency was set at 2 Hz. Intensity was set at patients’ tolerance level. The treatment lasted for 30 minutes daily.

There are 4 seas. Each sea refers to different systems within the body. Notably, GV20 and GV16 are both sea of marrow acupoints. The sea of marrow refers to bodily and mental functions associated with the brain and cerebrospinal fluid, as well as conditions including tinnitus, soreness of the legs, impaired visual function, avoiding activity, and somnolence. The sea of qi points are ST9, CV17, GV15, and GV14. Sea of blood points are BL11, ST37, and ST39. The sea of water and grain points are ST30 an ST36. For poststroke syndrome, the sea of marrow is a logical choice by the research team based on Chinese medicine theoretical principles and is consistent with modern scalp acupuncture applications.

[1] Tang Xiaomin, Ding Rui, Yao Shuya, He Jialin, Effect of electroacupuncture at Du Mai Point on Neurological Function Recovery, Inflammatory Factors and Coagulation Status in Convalescent Patients with Cerebral Infarction, Journal of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Feb. 20, 2023.

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