Stroke (CVA) – Basics

Stroke occurs when the flow of blood to a section of the brain is suddenly cut off (ischemia) or when a blood vessel ruptures(haemorrhagic) , spilling blood into or around the brain. When this happens, brain cells begin to die, causing numbness or tingling on one side of the body, sudden confusion, and difficulty speaking or seeing out of both or one eyes, dizziness, headache, and other symptoms.

Stroke (CVA) – Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of stroke generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of stroke: Blood Stagnation, Kidney Yin Deficiency, Liver Wind, Liver Yin deficiency

Commonly used formula: Bu Yang Huan Wu Wan, Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Wan, Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan.


Acupuncture plus rehabilitation superior to rehabilitation alone for acute and subacute stroke sequelae (Vados 2015 – SR of 17 RCTs; 5 high quality)(1);

Acute ischaemic stroke: EA superior to usual care in Barthel Index, Fugl-Meyer Assessment, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and Revised Scandinavian Stroke Scale; Moderate to high quality evidence (Liu 2015 – MA of 18 RCTs)(2)


1. Vados L, Ferreira A, Zhao S, Vercelino R, Wang S. Effectiveness of acupuncture combined with rehabilitation for treatment of acute or subacute stroke: a systematic review. Acupunct Med. 2015 Jun;33(3):180-7.

2. Liu AJ, Li JH, Li HQ, Fu DL, Lu L, Bian ZX, et al. Electroacupuncture for Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Am J Chin Med. 2015;43(8):1541-66.