The World Health Organization estimates that 15 million individuals suffer from stroke annually worldwide, most of whom live in developed countries, where hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and cardiac diseases are prevalent. Stroke is the third leading cause of fatality and ranks highest as a cause of disability.

Stroke is defined as an acute focal injury of the central nervous system (CNS) arising from a vascular cause such as cerebral infarction, intracerebral hemorrhage, or subarachnoid hemorrhage. The symptoms caused by stroke, such as hemiplegia, cognitive disorder, aphasia, and dysphagia, greatly affect the ability of patients to perform activities of daily living (ADL), as well as social participation.

Acupuncture is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an alternative and complementary strategy for stroke treatment and for improving stroke care. Clinical trial and meta-analysis findings have demonstrated the efficacy of acupuncture in improving balance function, reducing spasticity, and increasing muscle strength and general well-being post-stroke. Acupuncture may be effective in improving post-stroke impairment, as measured by its analgesic effect, motor rehabilitation, increased perfusion within peri-infarcts and low perfusion zones in the affected lobe, and the stimulation of neuronal reorganization, amongst other findings .

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