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Acupuncture Helps Seattle Musician Relearn to Play After Stroke

Video:  Boyd’s Return to the Bandstand After Stroke

Linda’s husband, Dr. Boyd Phelps, DMA, is a professional saxophonist and music educator who lost nearly all knowledge of music — notation, theory, familiar melodies, etc — when he suffered several strokes in the left hemisphere of his brain during the last year (2010-2011) . As a result of the strokes, Boyd has expressive and receptive aphasia (impaired ability to speak, read, write, or comprehend words) and acquired amusia (impaired ability to play or understand music). Until the strokes, Boyd was a very fine musician, music educator, bandleader, author, and an authority on the saxophone. Now he has difficulty in all these areas due to his aphasia and acquired amusia. Through his determination and strong work ethic, and with the help of acupuncture and speech therapy, Boyd is regaining his music and language skills. On July 26, 2011, Boyd was finally able to play his saxophone with his band for the first time in a year, and we captured the milestone event in this video!

Acupuncture is very effective in reducing and resolving the effects of stroke, including not only language and music skills but also resolving paralysis, pain, sensory perception, and other neurological impairments. For optimum results, acupuncture treatments should begin as soon as possible once a stroke has begun. This is well known in China, where acupuncture has been a common medicine for thousands of years. Boyd’s treatments began 4 days after the stroke, while he was still in the hospital, and there was marked improvement in his language skills immediately after treatment. His music impairments were not known about until Boyd tried to play his saxophone after he was discharged from the hospital.

Acupuncture treatment for stroke addresses specific areas of the brain affected by the stroke, and also energetic pathways in the body.  In the community acupuncture setting, treatment for stroke involves the stimulation of acupuncture points on the arms, legs, and head. Electroacupuncture – a subtle electrical pulse applied to the needles on the head – is used to stimulate neurological function of the affected brain regions.

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