Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can contribute an important part of the treatment plan for a patient recovering from a stroke. Use of a range of conventional and traditional treatment provides the patient with the greatest chance for recovery of function, minimization of disability, and can also reduce pain and help the patient cope with frustration and other adverse emotional reactions to their illness. TCM approaches may also be used to lessen the side-effects of conventional medicines which may include lethargy and nausea.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow in areas of the brain immediately around lesions caused by a stroke, and so may facilitate brain repair and re-organization to compensate for areas of organic damage. Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture is a low cost treatment with few risks of side-effects. The absence in TCM of toxicity, which can result in side-effects is a quality that allows acupuncture to be safely used in conjunction with any conventional therapies.