Using Scalp Acupuncture to Stimulate the Brain.

Head diagram of acupuncture points for scalp acpunture treatments

What is Scalp Acupuncture?

Scalp acupuncture combines traditional acupuncture techniques with the brain’s anatomy. Acupuncture needles are used in specific areas related to the brain’s neuroanatomy and neurophysiology rather than traditional acupuncture – done on specific points along the body. Scalp acupuncture is relatively new because it combines new technology, and research on the brain, with acupuncture. Scalp acupuncture is very safe. It is performed on the head in a layer directly under the skin. On average, one to three needles are used on the scalp in addition to traditional acupuncture points.

In the 1950’s, China began to develop and map scalp acupuncture zones in combination with new knowledge on the brain’s responses to outside sensory signals. Before that, acupuncture on the head can be traced as far back to the first Chinese acupuncture text in 100 BCE. This ancient text described the brain and body connection and how it was understood then. Advances in technology and knowledge on neuroanatomy have defined clear locations and techniques that are used with scalp acupuncture today.

What does Scalp Acupuncture treat?

Scalp acupuncture mainly treats central nervous system disorders. It is most frequently used in rehabilitation for people that have movement, numbness and sensory impairment on any area of the body. Patients who may benefit from scalp acupuncture include cases such as Bell’s Palsy, neuropathy, M.S., Parkinson’s, phantom limb pain, aphasia, vertigo, etc.

What is a scalp acupuncture like? 

Each treatment differs based on the individual person and what they are coming in for. I will use scalp acupuncture if there is a possible disconnection between the central nervous system and the affected area. I always combine scalp acupuncture with traditional acupuncture. For example, if someone is coming in for loss of strength in the hand after an injury to the spinal cord, I will use local acupuncture points to increase circulation to the hand as well as scalp acupuncture on the corresponding scalp area. The goal of using scalp acupuncture is to reconnect the communication between the motor muscles and peripheral sensory system to the brain.

During the treatment I will explain each step of acupuncture and where the acupuncture needles will be placed. Scalp acupuncture also requires regular stimulation to the area. I will either do manual stimulation or will attach electro-acupuncture to the needles to achieve this. Scalp acupuncture can feel slightly different that the traditional acupuncture points. Some people will feel a heaviness or dull sensation around the area and others will feel a light tingling. It is a good response to feel a sensation during scalp acupuncture.

The treatment of neurological disorders with scalp acupuncture requires at least one phase of treatments. The first phase of treatments is twice per week for five weeks – a total of ten treatments then we will reevaluate. Some people will need less treatments and some will need more. It is very important to seek treatment as soon as possible. As for most diseases, the longer you go without treatment the more difficult it will be to treat.

I always offer complimentary consultations, call me and see what acupuncture can do for you!

Alyssa Kuge Frain, MSAOM, L.Ac.

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