Guided Imagery Improves Impact of Acupuncture on Stroke Paralysis, Chinese Study Shows

This Chinese study explores the impacts and efficacy of acupuncture and motor imagery on fine movement of an upper extremity for stroke patients in the flaccid paralysis stage of recovery.

Sixty-two cases of flaccid, upper extremity paralysis were randomized into an observation group (30 cases) and a control group (32 cases).

The control group was treated with conventional western medication plus passive movement of the extremity. Additionally, penetrating acupuncture was applied. The needles were retained for 30 min.

In the treatment group, guided motor imagery was added during the needle retention period. Treatment was given once a day, 5 times a week for 4 weeks in both groups.

Measures were taken at enrollment, at week 2 and week 4 of treatment, and at 6 weeks, 8 weeks and 90 days post-treatment.

Results showed that scores were significantly improved in the treatment group as compared with controls at all time points. (all P<0. 05).

The investigators conclude that early intervention of the combined therapy of acupuncture plus motor imagery effectively promotes the recovery of the coordination function as well as the fine movement of the upper extremity, and especially with the fine movement during the flaccid paralysis stage.

Additionally, efficacy is greater with motor imagery than with acupuncture treatment alone.

Citation: Wang H, Bao C, Li H, Qi H, Jiao Z, Dong G. [Impacts on fine movement of upper extremity with flaccid paralysis in stroke treated with acupuncture combined with motor imagery]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2015 Jun;35 (6): pp. 534-8.