Alternative Stroke Treatments

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on October 13, 2014
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on October 13, 2014

Overview

Alternative treatments for stroke can add to the therapies your doctor prescribed for you following a stroke.

You should be aware that none of these alternative treatments is a direct treatment for a stroke. They can help you recover from a stroke and may help to prevent future strokes. There is no evidence that any alternative stroke treatment is better than medical therapy. Most of these treatments have not had significant or extensive clinical research. Always consult your doctor before beginning any alternative treatment. Some alternative treatments may interact with medications that you are currently taking.

Acupuncture

This treatment has been used for centuries in Asian cultures. Small needles are inserted into specific points in the body to help ease pain and treat paralysis and other muscle problems affected by stroke. A similar therapy is acupressure. This uses the same points as acupuncture without involving needles.

Diet Changes

If you suffered a stroke that involved a blood clot, you will need to pay extra attention to your cholesterol levels because unhealthy amounts of cholesterol in the blood can lead to an embolism and clotting. You can reach healthy cholesterol levels by having healthy eating habits.

Avoid foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium that are harmful to your blood and blood vessels. You may need medication to manage your cholesterol levels even though you manage your diet. New research links drinking diet soda to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. According to the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, a study of more than 2,500 people who drank diet soda daily showed they had a 61 percent increased risk of cardiovascular problems compared to those who drank no soda.

Massage

Massage is a common treatment for many conditions. It can help people who have had a stroke by

  • helping mood
  • lowering blood pressure
  • easing anxiety
  • relaxing body and mind

It can help stroke-related muscle problems by increasing blood flow to the affected area.

Yoga

Yoga can help by promoting smooth physical movements and improving breathing. It can help improve mental focus that may have been lost due to the stroke. Yoga is also a good option for a low-impact exercise program.

Aromatherapy

Certain scents can help people relax and relieve pain. Rosemary, lavender, and peppermint are three scents that people who have had strokes use to help with pain. 

Herbal Medicine

Some herbs may help improve blood circulation in the brain and brain function. Some may help protect you against another stroke. Consult your doctor before using any herbs or nutritional supplements, as they may interfere with medication you are already taking. 

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