Neurological disorders cover a wide swath of health issues, including: traumatic brain injuries and concussions, headaches, Parkinson's disease, strokes, Bell's palsy, Alzheimer's disease, seizures, and MS (just to name a few). According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1 billion people suffer worldwide from some sort of neurological disorder. What most people don't know is that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help manage or lessen severe symptoms, and/or slow the progression of disease.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) utilizes many different treatment modalities to encourage the body to initiate the healing process, including acupuncture, acupuncture with electrical stimulation (or E-stim), Chinese herbs and nutritional recommendations. Here are of the some ways that TCM can help those suffering with neurological disorders:
Acupuncture: "The body's complex biochemical reaction to the simple insertion of an acupuncture needle is quite remarkable (Corrandino, 2017)." Michael Corrandino, in his book Neuropuncture, goes on to explain that the moment an acupuncture needle breaks the skin, "the body is triggered into releasing up to 15 different neurochemicals, amino acids, cellular enzymes, and red and white blood cells, which produces a unique chemical soup. This healing chemical soup then begins a process which downregulates the pain cascade, aids in reducing inflammation, starts the healing process of local and surrounding tissues, fights infections, and increases local circulation."
Acupuncture with E-stim works predominantly by targeting and stimulating specific neuro-tissue, particularly local cutaneous afferent nerve fibers. Stimulating these nerve fibers results in what acupuncturists call De Qi, or the arrival of Qi at the point. What the patient experiences as De Qi are sensations described as dull, achy, warm, heavy, distending, travelling, or even muscle twitching with stimulation of the needle. Clinical trials have determined that acupuncture with E-stim, which produces the sensations of De Qi, yields better outcomes.
Nutrition: A healthy diet will keep the brain and the body functioning properly, while reducing the risk of developing a serious neurological disorder. Even things like chronic headaches can sometimes be cured just by supplementing magnesium into the diet. Nutrients likeomega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin B12, amino acids and folate are all crucial when it comes to brain health. Being deficient in even just one of these can lead to memory loss, tremors or other debilitating symptoms. Foods like fish, avocados, hemp seed, flaxseed, whole grains, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables will provide the nutritional components listed above.
Chinese Herbs: In TCM, Chinese herbal formulas consist of several single Chinese herbs used in combination for their synergistic effect. With the exception of a handful of herbs, Chinese herbs are rarely used as a single herb decoction. One commonly used formula for the treatment of neurological disorders is called Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan. This formula treats long term brain disorders like dementia, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. One of the primary functions of this formula is to stimulate and increase the flow of blood to the brain.
TCM truly is a great standalone or adjunctive therapy for treating neurological disorders. Receiving treatments in the early stages of disease, or soon after the onset of symptoms, is crucial in determining the outcome. So if you are experiencing neurological issues, don't hesitate to try acupuncture. It could be life changing!