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Scalp acupuncture for stroke


I am currently writing my dissertation on scalp electroacupuncture for motor recovery following stroke. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this? There is some debate as to if it matters which side of the scalp is needled, any thoughts? Any ideas around mechanisms of action?


I put a small section on our site regarding the YNSA system of scalp acupuncture. That may be somewhat helpful for you. And while not relevant to your particular study at this point I do have an article highlighting some of what we do for stroke treatment that you may find interesting. Personally I don&#39t use a lot of the deeper scalp needling methods common within scalp acupuncture as the term is used to properly designate, although we use numerous scalp points.

For mechanisms of action I would suggest you search for "scalp acupuncture and stroke" and "scalp acupuncture and stroke and mechanisms" to get relevant research that hightlights mechanisms in biochemical/neurological terms. For example, "Effects of scalp acupuncture on acute cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats".


Thanks Chad,

I have quite a few research papers as sourced through medical and AHP databases. Just interested in other peoples experiences. It&#39s such a fascinating area.

Unfortunately I think our Western approach to research is somewhat obstructive to justifying acupuncture.

I&#39ll have a look at what you recommend.

Thanks again


I would check out Dr. Zhu... I studied with him 20 years ago, and he is really an expert in this field. yes, it does matter which side you needle.... also, while providing strong stimulation, it is very useful to have and assistant help the patient to move the affected limb as well. i use this technique when I work with anyone who has any nuerological symptoms.


thanks for your reply. Which side do you needle as there are some people who suggest it doesn't matter. I also do limb movements while treating. I have had mixed results though. I'll check out Dr Zhu.


If there is an issue on the left, needle right scalp lines, etc. it is important to "run" the needle under the scalp painlessly and then use strong stimulation. Dr. Zhu also suggested doing qi gong while needling. as with any needling that you do, it is most important to be mindful and present with intent.

best of luck to you.


Personally I think it does matter, but it will vary from person to person. As we know from experience symptoms are often contralateral to the affected side. What you do with this information, however, varies from patient to patient. In some cases and in more acute situations you can work on the affected side as well as other areas to help prevent/limit damage. In some cases and in more chronic conditions (or longer times from onset of stroke) you can work the opposite side of symptoms to better engage development of neural pathways to regain function. It should really depend on the situation, on pressure palpation and on the overall individual more than some hard and fast rule in my opinion. But there are of course many differing opinions in all aspects of Chinese Medicine.

I think limb movements are important while treating as it better engages the body/brain and personally I think tuina and qi gong is crucial to success overall, but those are simply my own biases based on what works for us.


I also forgot a text that might be helpful for you work. It is Scalp Acupuncture and Clinical Cases by Dr. Shunfa. Well laid out text with a decent discussion of theory and many clinical case studies. Not all, however, are related to stroke, but I still think the book may be useful to you if you have not seen it.


I believe that DU20 and Shishencong are useful points in the recovery of stroke as they directly stimulate the Pituitary and increase brain function. Also Yintang can aid relaxation and improve mental clarity.

I never use electrical stimulation though so I would not be able to comment on this.

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