Acupuncture/ pressureProf. ErnstStroke

Review: Acupuncture for functional recovery after stroke

It’s frequently recommended as a facet of treatment during stroke rehabilitation.

Prof. Ernst reviewed acupuncture in this setting.

First, the details.

  • 10 of 664 potentially relevant studies met the inclusion criteria.
  • These studies compared the effects of acupuncture (with or without electrical stimulation) to sham acupuncture.

And, the results.

  • 7 studies evaluated the acute and subacute stages after stroke.
    • There was no significant difference in favor of acupuncture based on a meta-analysis of data from 7 studies.
    • There was no evidence of improvement in activities of daily living after treatment or follow-up based on reanalysis of the results from 4 studies with low risk of bias.
  • 3 studies tested the effects of acupuncture during the chronic stage after stroke.
    • There was no benefit on function according to the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS).
      • MAS measures muscle hypertonia, which occurs when muscles have increased resting activity and resistance to stretch.

The bottom line?

Prof. Ernst and colleagues concluded; “data from rigorous randomized sham-controlled trials did not show a positive effect of acupuncture as a treatment for functional recovery after stroke.”

10/3/10 20:41 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.