Electroacupuncture, which delivers electrical stimulation through acupuncture needles, has long been used for pain relief and stroke rehabilitation. A recent animal study has found evidence that electroacupuncture may also stimulate neuroprotective function after cerebral ischemia (lowered blood flow to the brain).
The researchers found that acupuncture administered to the "Bai hui" and " Da zhui" acupoints activated astrocytes (a critical support cell in the brain), which in turn reduced neurodegeneration. In addition to a physiological benefit, electroacupuncture was associated with improved motor skills and sensory integration.
Electroacupuncture may therefore be a potentially beneficial clinical tool for the prevention of secondary brain injury, as well as a rehabilitation tool for motor and sensory impairments.
Han X, Huang X, Wang Y, & Chen H. A study of astrocyte activation in the periinfarct region after cerebral ischemia with electroacupuncture. Brain Injury. (May 2010).