Not a Miracle From Coma to Consciousness: A Discussion on Traditional

Special Report
From Coma to Consciousness:
Not a Miracle
A Discussion on Traditional
Chinese Medicine for Brain Injury
Narrated by Dr. Yu-ning Lin, Traditional Chinese Department, Tzu Chi General Hospital
Coma: Allowing the Body to
Focus on Healing
“Actually, a ‘coma’ is the body cutting
off all links to the outside, and focusing
on the work of healing,” said Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician Dr. Yuning Lin. During the time Rey-jen Cheng
was comatose, he responded to acupuncture
treatments, so it was added to his treatment
plan in conjunction with the work of the
Neurology department at Tzu Chi Hospital
A-Ren anticipates his treatment from Dr. Lin, after
which he feels extremely comfortable.
50 Medicine With Humanity Vol. 9 May 2008
in Hualien, Taiwan.
The duration of the coma is often
dependent on the rate of healing of the body
and the degree to which the body is injured.
Acupuncture is to use needles to adjust
the functions of the brain, to accelerate the
repair of the nerves, which helps the patient
in a quicker recovery.
The Use of Needles
in the Head and Body
From a TCM point of view, strokes,
cerebral embolisms, cerebral hemorrhages,
and brain injuries and diseases in
general can all be treated with the use of
acupuncture. Recent literature has revealed
that the earlier acupuncture treatment
is used with appropriate procedure, the
better the results and the lower the rates
of causing disability to the patients.
Generally, acupuncture treatment combines
both scalp and body pressure points. The
scalp pressure points use the meridian
lines of the body as base. Coupled with
The Miracle of a Coma Recovery
modern imaging techniques of the cerebral
cortex, benign stimuli can bring about the ‘
awakening’ of the brain, to promote brain
function restoration.
In addition, some body acupuncture
can play two roles: the first being through
the spinal cord, exciting the cells of the
paralyzed muscle to prevent atrophy;
secondly, repeated stimulus near the
peripheral receptors can stimulate nerve
cells in unaffected areas, incessantly
sending the stimulus brought forth by the
needle point. This signal is then transmitted
to the central nervous system, exciting the
brain’s higher centers, leading to the repair
of neurons. This allows the unaffected
brain tissues to have a compensatory effect
on the injured brain tissues by increasing
cerebral blood flow and establishment
of collateral circulation. Dr. Lin pointed
out that the function of acupuncture lies
mainly in increasing muscle strength,
easing tension and stiffness, and reducing
abnormal reflexes.
Effective Treatment
Spans Rehabilitation Process
From coma to consciousness,
acupuncture was an important aspect in
A-Ren s treatment. From atrophy of both
legs to walking on his own, and from the
inability to speak to talking profusely with
great logic, A-Ren made great progress
in the strength of his hands and feet,
coordination, and cognition.
According to his experience of
consulting stroke patients for years, Dr.
Lin said that the majority of patients
showed improvement in their condition
in the absence of medication after being
in the hospital for six days with oncedaily acupuncture, 20 minutes per session.
This, along with scalp and body electro,
acupuncture, greatly helped patients
conditions improve. This often leads
western physicians to conclude that the
patients had improved much more than they
had expected, and in many cases, surpassed
their expectations. However, this is not a
miracle, but rather, the results produced by
acupuncture treatment.
An experiment was performed outside of
Taiwan, with a group of patients undergoing
acupuncture treatment and a control group.
After ten weeks of treatment, the stroke
patients who had undergone acupuncture
treatment had a faster rate of recovery in
the limbs. The level of recovery was also
higher in the experimental group. Recovery
was determined by balance, mobility,
daily activities, quality of life, and days
hospitalized. In addition, those who had
received acupuncture treatment saved on
average $26,000 USD in costs associated
with hospitalization. Therefore, due to
clinical efficacy and academic support,
acupuncture treatment for stroke patients
should be promoted.
Dr. Lin stressed again that A-Ren’s
miraculous recovery was not only because
of the cooperation between western and
eastern medicine, but that the persistence of
his mother was the greatest catalyst in his
road to recovery.
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