01. October 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Stroke

Acupuncture in combination with rehabilitation may have greater benefits for the treatment of acute and subacute stroke sequelae in comparison with rehabilitation alone. In a systematic review Chinese and Brazilian authors assessed 17 trials, of which five were rated to be good quality. Fourteen of the trials produced results favourable to acupuncture combined with rehabilitation, compared with conventional rehabilitation treatment alone. (Effectiveness of acupuncture combined with rehabilitation for treatment of acute or subacute stroke: a systematic review. Acupunct Med. 2015 Mar 31. pii: acupmed-2014-010705).

Research from the USA has found that a 12-week tai chi (TC) intervention was more effective in reducing fall rates for stroke survivors than either strength training or usual care. The study involved 145 community-dwelling survivors of stroke with a mean age of 70 years, who were at least three months post-stroke. They were randomised to three groups. The TC group attended a one-hour Yang style 24-posture class three times per week. The strength training group (SS) performed strength and range of movement exercises with the same duration and frequency. The usual care (UC) group received weekly phone calls. During the intervention, TC participants had two thirds fewer falls (5 falls) than the SS (14 falls) and UC (15 falls) groups. Both the TC and SS groups showed significantly better aerobic endurance over time. (Effect of tai chi on physical function, fall rates and quality of life among older stroke survivors. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 May;95(5):816-24). http: / / www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov / pubmed / 24440643


A meta-analysis carried out by Chinese authors suggests that acupuncture may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of patients with dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) caused by stroke. Meta-analysis using data from 72 RCTs (6134 patients) showed that acupuncture was more effective than no-acupuncture, although study quality was generally rated as low. The authors conclude that the evidence justifies future high-quality studies. (A meta-analysis of the efficacy of acupuncture in treating dysphagia in patients with a stroke. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):291-7).

A systematic review and meta-analysis from Canada demonstrates that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for post-stroke rehabilitation. Thirty-five articles written in Chinese and 21 written in English were included. The overall quality of the studies was judged as fair, and most studies were small. The majority (80%) of studies reported a significant benefit from acupuncture, although many showed some evidence of publication bias. (Acupuncture in poststroke rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Stroke. 2010 Apr;41(4):e171-9).