Chinese Medicine defines two kinds of stroke, of the head and stroke of the heart. A head stroke is called a wind stroke and can occasionally be fatal or leave victims partly paralysed. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed or insufficient and can vary in severity and symptoms. There may be sudden loss of movement or speech, dizziness, blurred vision, sudden heaviness in the limbs or feelings of numbness, and a loss of consciousness. If symptoms last for more than twenty-four hours, a full stroke has occurred. Sometimes they wear off after a few hours, in which case the condition is called a transient ischaemic attack. One in three strokes is fatal and, depending on the extent of damage, survivors may be left with impairment of speech, movement or ability to read.
The Chinese Medicine treatment for a stroke involves nourishing the liver and the kidneys, to move the blood and open the channel to clear the wind. Herbal prescriptions are complicated and depend on the severity of the stroke, but a very effective Chinese medicine involves lovage tuber which is said to dissolve or prevent blood clots in the brain. It can be made into an injection and given intravenously.
After a stroke, acupuncture can often be extremely helpful in treating paralysis and aiding the recovery of those with speech difficulties. The earlier it is started, the more effective and the speedier the response will be. Where the damage is of very long standing, recovery is likely to be slow, and may not be effective.
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