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Benefits of Acupuncture for Cerebral Palsy

is acupuncture for cerebral palsy an effective treatment?

Wondering if acupuncture for cerebral palsy works?

This traditional form of Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years and there still isn’t a consensus of whether it truly works or not.

This article will explain why acupuncture may or may not be an effective treatment for cerebral palsy.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the treatment of placing of thin, hair-like needles at specific points on the body to promote your body’s natural flow of energy (qi).

It’s believed that when your qi becomes congested, you experience pain, discomfort, stress, or sickness.

But is there a more scientific explanation for why it could provide relief?

One theory is that by inserting needles into specific points in the body the nerves are stimulated.

Does Acupuncture for Cerebral Palsy Work?

acupuncture for cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage before, during, or in the first few years after birth.

It results in motor impairments that affect movement, balance, posture, and muscle tone.

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain, so acupuncture generally focuses on stimulating different neural pathways in the brain to improve motor function.

Spastic cerebral palsy is by far the most common type of cerebral palsy and it’s characterized by continuously high muscle tone.

Over time, this muscle imbalance may cause chronic pain. In the United States, acupuncture is primarily used to treat chronic pain and may also reduce spasticity.

However, while acupuncture may relieve some conditions of cerebral palsy, it cannot reverse the damage to the brain.

What Studies Say About Acupuncture for Cerebral Palsy

In this analysis of 21 studies regarding the efficacy of acupuncture for cerebral palsy, a total of 1718 participants were studied.

The collective data shows that acupuncture in combination with rehabilitative training resulted in:

  • improved gross motor function
  • reduced muscle spasms
  • overall improved quality of life

While these studies have yielded positive outcomes, there are a few limitations to consider.

1) By extensively searching through 6 English databases and 5 Chinese databases, there were only 21 well-designed randomized controlled trials that fit the criteria for analysis.

2) The sample sizes for these studies were small. The average number of participants out of the 21 trials was 82.

3) There were inconsistencies in methodology and reporting among the studies, suggesting that the data may be affected by bias.

Scalp Acupuncture

scalp acupuncture treatment for cerebral palsy

Although acupuncture is an ancient practice, scalp acupuncture is a modern technique that’s only been around for approximately 40 years.

According to this article,

Scalp acupuncture is geared toward stimulating and restoring affected brain tissue, as well as retraining unaffected brain tissue to compensate for the lost functions of damaged tissue.

The exact mechanism of how scalp acupuncture works has yet to be fully understood. However, like traditional acupuncture, it focuses on activating neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to adapt).

While repetitive, active movement is the most effective way to promote neuroplasticity, the extra stimulation from acupuncture may provide the brain with the boost it needs to reorganize itself.

Rather than relying solely on acupuncture, using it in combination with physical therapy may optimize neuroplasticity.

Is Acupuncture for Cerebral Palsy Worth Trying?

Alternative forms of medicine like acupuncture are often followed by a statement that further investigation is necessary.

The results are extremely mixed and there are many conflicting experiences. Some people report improvements from acupuncture while others claim it doesn’t work at all.

Conclusively, there’s not enough definitive proof that acupuncture is an effective treatment for cerebral palsy. However, it is relatively inexpensive and comes with very few risks, so it may be worth a try.

How else could acupuncture have stood the test of time and still be so widely-used after thousands of years?

Keep It Going: Download the Free Ebook “Tips for Managing Cerebral Palsy”

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You’re on a Roll: Discover a home exercise program for CP that’s actually fun to do!

adult with cerebral palsy smiling while using FitMi home therapy

Finally! There’s a recovery device for CP that’s actually fun to use. See how Flint Rehab’s tools are helping with CP recovery:

“The FitMi and MusicGlove have done wonders for my son with hemiparesis from cerebral palsy and stroke.

It motivates him to do his exercises. It does not seem like therapy for him since it is fun. It monitors his progress so it is a great reinforcement for him.

Music is a motivator for him. He has been using it on his arm and we will try the leg exercises soon.”

FitMi works by motivating high repetition of therapeutic exercises while playing an engaging game. This gamification has been particularly great for motivating individuals with cerebral palsy to recover.

To see how FitMi works, click the button below:

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More Ways to Recover with Flint Rehab:

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