Scalp acupuncture is an amazing, effective treatment for neurological and brain issues. I use it often in my Collingwood and Meaford clinics in difficult-to-treat chronic cases. Sometimes I use it as a stand-alone therapy while other times I combine it with body acupuncture and herbal medicine, depending on presentation. The takeaway is that it often leads to dramatic gains in function and relief from pain.
It is typically indicated for central nervous system conditions such as:
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Traumatic injuries including car accident injuries
- Chronic pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bell’s palsy
- Motor neuron diseases
- Phantom limb pain
- Complex regional pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Low back pain
- Difficulty speaking (aphasia)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Tics and chorea
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Double vision
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Spasmodic dysphonia
This is an extremely wide range of indications, but they have a commonality – they are all disorders that affect our nervous system. It is useful in both acute and chronic cases, though I tend to mainly use it for chronic cases. Body acupuncture is very effective in acute cases.
Scalp acupuncture is a contemporary technique that combines traditional Chinese acupuncture methods with Western medical knowledge of the cerebral cortex. While improvement can take several sessions, often it produces results in the first session. I often see immediate improvement several seconds after needle insertion, with patients reporting buzzing, tingling, heaviness, the sensation of nerves “waking up” and other signs of increased activity, circulation and function in the targeted treatment area. It often makes a marked difference in conditions such as post-stroke rehabilitation.
Scalp acupuncture is a relatively recently developed technique, dating from the 1950s. It is, however, well researched – there are countless studies online proving its efficacy. Its positive effects on stroke rehab are particularly well-documented, as this is a condition. (I am releasing Instagram and Facebook posts on the research, so please follow me at @chrissavidge on Instagram or Savidge Health Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine on Facebook). The important thing to know is that the research is robust.
Let me give you a couple of examples from my own practice of how scalp acupuncture has helped my patients –
Female, 58 years old. Stroke 3 years ago. Loss of motor function and strength in legs. Difficulty in walking stairs. Episodes when legs give out from under her suddenly. Difficulty in communication – her spoken speech can be hard to understand, especially when tired. Handwriting after the stroke became difficult.
Results after 2 treatments – Legs much stronger. Stairs no longer difficult to navigate. Speech much easier to understand, as reported by her staff and also observed by me. Handwriting is much easier to perform and is more legible. In her words, she feels “like she has her life back”. Treatment continues.
Female, 67 years old. Restless leg syndrome since childhood. Spontaneous movement of legs and arms, worsening in the evening and disturbing sleep. It is considered a type of chronic pain syndrome by Western medicine. While herbal medicine and body acupuncture has been helpful in reducing number of episodes and their intensity, she reported to me after her first session of scalp acupuncture that she had already seen a marked improvement in her restless leg syndrome..
These are just two examples, but they give an idea of what scalp acupuncture is capable of. The research literature backs up my clinical observations. Scalp acupuncture is often very helpful in difficult, recalcitrant cases that involve the central nervous system and brain.
If you or someone you know or love is suffering from one of the issues listed above, please reach out to me with any questions you have or to book an appointment in either Collingwood or Meaford.