Acupuncture and Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation in Stroke Rehabilitation


Phase N/A Results

Trial Description

To test the hypothesis that sensory stimulation by acupuncture and/or high-intensity low-frequency TENS improves motor function and/or activities of daily living (ADL) after stroke.


  • Acupuncture Device
    Intervention Desc: Acupuncture (from Lat. acus, "needle", and pungere, "prick") or in Standard Mandarin, zhe-n bia-n (a related word zhe-n jiu( refers to acupuncture together with moxibustion)[3] is a technique of inserting and manipulating fine filiform needles into specific points on the body with the aim of relieving pain and for therapeutic purposes.[4] According to acupuncture theory, these acupuncture points lie along meridians along which qi, a kind of vital energy, is said to flow.
  • Electrical stimulation Device
    Intervention Desc: This category includes any form of electrical stimulation intended to improve motor function or pain after stroke.

Trial Design

Stratified, randomized, controlled trial of 150 patients at 7 Swedish centers. Stratification was by center.

Patient Involvement

Patients were randomized in blocks of 6 to 1 of 3 treatment groups: acupuncture; high-intensity, low-frequency TENS, and subliminal high-frequency transcutaneous electrostimulation (control group). Each treatment session was 30 minutes and took place twice a week for 10 weeks (20 treatment sessions total). All patients, irrespective of the group they had been allocated to, received conventional physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as needed. Antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants were allowed at the discretion of the attending physician.


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary ADL function assessed by the Barthel Index, overall motor function by the Rivermead Mobility Index, fine motor function by the Nine Hole Peg test, walking ability by the time needed to walk 10 meters (with or without mechanical support), quality of life by the Nottingham Health Profile. Assessments were made at randomization and 3 and 12 months after stroke onset.


Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, Fredrik and Rosa von Malmborgs Foundation for Brain Research, and Stockholm County Council, Department of Research, Development and Education, for the participation of St Göran and Danderyd Hospitals.