Thousands of years ago, people in China began practicing acupuncture. Now widely considered to be a healing art, acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that is intended to alleviate pain and treat disease. It is performed by penetrating small needles into the skin on certain spots on the body. Chinese medicine indicates penetrating certain areas of the body affects the flow of qi (aka “chi”), or life flow, through the body’s channels (cerebralpalsy.org).
The foundation of acupuncture is based on the theory that all of the body’s functions are dictated by the qi. Pain is the result of disruptions to this energy flow. Then, acupuncture is used in specific points to open, restore, or enhance this flow (cerebralpalsy.org).
New research is being conducted to study the effects of acupuncture on people with cerebral palsy. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health at the University of Arizona indicates that acupuncture can help reduce muscle hypertonicity in children. This reduction of hypertonicity, in turn, relieves muscle tension, pain, and discomfort (cerebralpalsy.org).
Another study shows that acupuncture, in addition to traditional rehabilitative training, significantly improves the effectiveness of treatment for children with cerebral palsy. The effective rate increased from 52% for the group who only received rehabilitative training to 84% for the group who also received acupuncture. And confirmed by CT and SPECT brain neuroimaging, the acupuncture group showed significantly higher improvement rates in brain development, reductions of brain atrophy, and neuronal brain metabolic functions (healthcmi.com).
Studies have shown that acupuncture, along with traditional rehabilitative training, can accelerate the recovery of injured brain nerves and the reconstruction of brain function. And still, there are only a few studies currently being done that researches acupuncture’s impact on cerebral palsy and its symptoms. This could be because acupuncture has not yet been fully grasped by the medical community in the U.S. In order to progress our health technology, we all need to keep an open mind when it comes to treatments and research pertaining to various disabilities and disorders.