Chinese Medicine Treatment for Stroke
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, stroke can be caused by internal and external factors. Internal factors include qi stagnation, blood stagnation, yin qi deficiency, excessive heat, wind and phlegm. External factors include lifestyle, emotional stress, overwork and poor diet. These factors can interact with each other under certain conditions to build up qi and create a high pressure state, which leads to a stroke. This concept is similar to high blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke in Western medicine.
There is less incidence of stroke in China than western countries, and also greater recovery of function after a stroke. TCM practitioners believe that this is the result of the differences in diet, lifestyle and post-stroke treatment. Acupuncture treatment combined with herbal formula and diet suggestion is often offered for stroke treatment.
Chinese Herbs for Stroke
After identifying the cause of stroke, an herbal formula will be prescribed based on your condition and constitution, along with a personalized acupuncture treatment plan. For qi and blood stagnation, Ren Shen Zai Zao Wan, an herbal formula can be prescribed. It has been traditionally used to break up qi and blood stagnation, clear the pathways in the body. It contains herbs include Ren Shen, Huang Qi, Rou Gui, Shu Fu Zi, Qiang Huo and more.
An Shen Bu Xin Wan can also be used to clear qi and blood stagnation. It contains herbs include Dan Shen, Wu Wei Zi, Shi Chang Pu, Zhen Zhu Mu, Shou Wu Teng and more. TCM practitioners will also include dietary recommendations. You should eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce salt intake and moderate intake of fats and sugar. Smoking and alcohol should be avoided.
Acupuncture is the most popular treatment for stroke in China. It can help stroke recovery by making the nerve pathways regenerate quicker by sending strong signals along the pathway. Acupuncture also helps circulation of qi and blood, bringing healing nutrients to the affected area. Many studies have shown acupuncture to improve stroke recovery. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials, to be an effective treatment for stroke (1).
Researchers suggest that regular massage can lower blood pressure and heart rate in people with stroke, and also ease anxiety. Massage can help with stress reduction and combat feelings of depression that are common emotional health concerns of people with stroke. For both mental and physical well-being, keeping stress and depression under control is an important part of stroke recovery. TCM practitioners often suggest Tai Chi to improve recovery from stroke. It is a proven way of lowering blood pressure and stress-related chemicals in the body. (Tai Chi)