Acupuncture therapy is commonly used for paralysis, speech difficulties, and/or swallowing problems caused by stroke, and brain diseases or visceral diseases related to the cerebral cortex in China, Korea, and Japan.
It requires needling the scalp at corresponding areas of the cerebral cortex soon after the accident happens to avoid more damage to functional areas of the brain.
If the disease is affecting one limb, the contra-lateral side of the scalp is used, when the disease is affecting limbs bilaterally, sites on both sides of the head are stimulated, and when there is a damage to internal organs and symptoms are systemic in nature such as hypertension, arteriosclerosis, numbness in the limbs, urticaria or illnesses that are difficult to distinguish one side from the other, both sides of the scalp are treated. The response to needling is a hot sensation on limbs opposite the needling. Less frequently the sensation will be felt over the entire body or at a single joint or muscle. Initially, cold and numbness may be felt during the treatment, but these will subside after needle treatment. Generally if the preceding responses are felt the result will be good though in some cases the results have been good without these sensations.
The theory of scalp acupuncture indicates that stimulating corresponding areas of the scalp will increase blood flow, resulting in improving functions of the brain tissues. Patients who just had stroke need to get acupuncture treatments daily or 3 times a week. This regular treatment is optimal for preventing further damage from the stroke.