Acupuncture for Neurological & Neurodegenerative disorders
Scalp Acupuncture, also known as Neuroacupuncture, is a treatment based on knowledge of traditional acupuncture and neurology. It is done by inserting acupuncture needles into loose areolar tissue layer of the scalp to stimulate the brain neurons of the underlying area. Since the skull protects the brain and there are no organs in the scalp to injure it is a very safe treatment. Scalp Acupuncture works by stimulating the brain cells that are related to the impaired functions. The mechanism is three-fold: to ‘wake-up’ the brain cells that are not dead but lacking in proper functioning, to encourage recruitment of healthy brain cells to perform the lost function and to promote an healthy reintegration of the brain system. For example, for a patient suffering from the pain or paralysis of the hand, the zone that will be needled is the zone on the scalp that is equivalent to the location of the motor hand area of the hand on the brain.
The Chinese medicine practitioners who developed the scalp acupuncture method were able to think outside the box: they understood that the brain is constantly changing and is able to make new synaptic connections. This ability is called neuroplasticity in western medical science. This concept was 50 years ahead of its time because it was believed that the brain develops and changes only during childhood and any loss of brain function after childhood due to injury could not be restored. Only 25 years ago brain scientists started to understand that the brain continues to make new synaptic connections, even after childhood. Many traditional Chinese medical practitioners believed that neurological disorders could be treated by scalp acupuncture by stimulating the damaged regions of the brain.
Scalp Acupuncture is most commonly used for post-stroke and brain surgery therapy. There is good clinical evidence for its treatment not only of Aphasia but other neurological problems including Paralysis, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Motor Neuron Diseases, Phantom Limb Syndrome, Meniere’s Syndrome, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Chorea, Alzheimer’s Disease, Restless Leg Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Scalp Acupuncture can help regain speech in all kinds of Aphasia: expressive, receptive, anomic or global. The speed and amount of recovery vary with the individual and the recency and severity of damage but progress is usually readily seen with treatment.
Scalp Acupuncture has also helped people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Laurance Johnston, Ph.D., a physician with his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Northwestern University in Illinois, who has worked at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), writes, “Although the scalp acupuncture microsystem can treat most of the same disorders as traditional acupuncture, it is especially effective in treating nervous-system disorders and pain…In addition, numerous people with MS, SCI, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and head injury have also benefited from scalp acupuncture.”
Treatment of Pain and Other Conditions
According to the Hao’s research, Scalp Acupuncture is used in the rehabilitation of paralysis due to automobile accidents. It is successful in the treatment of pain management from conditions such as phantom pain, and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and has been proven to have effective results in treating loss of balance, loss of hearing, dizziness and vertigo, as well. It has been proven to be an effective technique for treating acute and chronic central nervous system disorders, often producing outstanding results with just a few well-placed needles sometimes showing immediate improvement in as little as seconds or minutes.