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Ask an expert - neuro and psycho logical - decreased bodily movement - hypokinesia

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Q:  My uncle was paralysed owing  to a severe hit on the  back of his  head when he was 6 years old. His left side of body (hand and foot)was disabled during a gradual trend (shrinking posture). He is 50 years old.  I am trying to find new treatment for his problem.  If acupuncture could be a remedy to what extent  could it be useful ?

A:  This is an extremely difficult question to answer with any accuracy.
The very fact that your uncle suffered severe neurological damage over 40 years ago and is continuing to deteriorate suggests that the damage is irreversible, and that at very best treatment of any kind might slow down, but not halt or reverse, the decline in his health. In a complex case such as this, however, it would only be possible to give an informed view of what may be achieved through having sight of the patient directly and offering an opinion based on a face to face assessment.
There is no doubt that acupuncture can be beneficial to a degree in treating some forms of paralysis after neurological damage. It is frequently used as a treatment after stroke, especially in Chinese hospital care, and its use is founded on the theory that the flow of energy, called 'qi' in  Chinese medicine, has been disrupted by the stroke and needs to be reinstated as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for a course of treatment to be commenced on the day of the stroke itself. However, this itself is underpinned by an understanding of the cause of the disruption of energy in the first place, and even the Chinese medicine practitioners in Chinese hospitals may be less optimistic about the success of treatment after a physical injury of this magnitude.
However, in many cases the symptoms which people experience are rarely caused by single imbalances, and if the system as a whole has been badly affected by an injury there always remains a possibility that some of the symptoms have arisen from a secondary source and may be helped. As we have said, though, it would only be possible to give a more balanced and informed view by seeing the patient face to face.  

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