Sensory Stimulation for Strokes

brain and stroke 1MELT is a simple self-care technique to help restore the body’s natural balance and directly focuses on restoring the integrity of the connective tissue system. I developed this Hands-Off Treatment technique so people could learn how to improve neurological balance by stimulating the sensory receptors found embedded in the connective tissue system – the flexible environment of our body that supports, protects, and stabilizes every element of our body all the way down to every cell and molecule.

Every year one million American’s suffer a stroke making it the 4th leading cause of death in the US. There are very few therapies for the brain damage that stroke causes – not from the lack of research efforts but from the complexities of the brain itself. However, recent research is showing that sensory stimulation in the first minutes of stroke symptoms applied to the person can literally help deter the negative effects of the decreased electrical stimulation to the brain a stroke can cause.

A stroke happens when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to the brain. The blood shortage can be causes by a blood clot (ischemic) or a hemorrhage where a blood vessel actually bursts. This causes a part of the brain to stop working because brain cells away from the clot or ruptured vessels are cut off from vital oxygen and nutrients. The neurons cut off by a stroke may have the inherent ability to reroute blood flow and save them from death, which is what causes the brain damage after a stroke occurs. So far there’s on one treatment for strokes that the FDA approves called tPA (Tissue plasminogen activator). This treatment tries to unclog blood vessels by breaking up the clot. The problem is, onlybrain power ischemic strokes value this treatment and it must be administered in under 3 hours of the stroke to show much success. This is an issue because the patient has to get a brain scan before being administered the treatment, which delays the treatment. There are other neuroprotective strategies being used to dampen electrical activity and halt signaling molecules within the brain cells.

Bottom line, when brain cells go too long without access to oxygen-rich blood the balance of charged particles both inside and outside cells is upset. This can cause too much calcium to enter the cells and can create too much electrical activity, which leads to a catastrophic breakdown called excitotoxicity. This causes cell membranes to break down and free radicals reactivate particles that damage cells and DNA both of which accelerate damage. This can even cause cell death or cell suicide to ensue in other brain cells where genetic and cellular materials are destroyed when the sudden flood of oxygen and nutrient return following a stroke. This can damage the very delicate brain ecosystem and cause more widespread damage.

brain power 2The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is searching for new ways to protect the neurological elements that are damaged by the lack of blood flow after a stroke. They are trying to figure out ways to reroute blood flow through existing neural looped networks that brain vessels create.

In a current research study, scientists using lab rats found that if you stimulate the whiskers of the rat both during and just after a stroke occurs the brain damage was deterred significantly. Although they can’t quite link that to humans just yet one thing that is said to help reduce brain damage is sensory stimulation at the time of the stroke. So if your mom suddenly had signs of a stroke occurring and you were there, you would want to gently rub her face, lips, ears, hands, and feet with your fingertips to stimulate the receptors in these areas.

We know that the majority of our sensory nerve endings called mechanoreceptors are located in abundance in the hands, feet, spine, and common sense orifices like the mouth, nose, and ears. They are even showing that singing or talking to someone helps improve brain health and function in many settings including rehabilitation.

However, what should be noted here is that this stimulation is only useful in the first hour or two after a stroke occurs. In fact, sensory stimulation after 3 hours and throughout the first 24 hours post a stroke it could cause more damage. Researches don’t have an answer as to why there is a switch from sensory stimulation being a good thing in the first two hours but not so good an idea from the three-hour mark into the first 24 hours of the stroke occurring. Some researchers suspect that the sensory experience activates the cortex that was deprived of the blood flow initially and causes new blood supply routes to open up. But the key is catching someone immediately as they are having a stroke to help deter the brain damage a stroke can cause.

The American Stroke Association recently revamped its efforts to teach people how to recognize a stroke with the FAST acronym: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911! These are key notable signs of a possible stroke. If you suddenly have numbness or weakness in your face, arms, or legs (especially on one side of the body), if you feel confused or have trouble speaking or understanding, have disrupted vision on both or one eye, feel dizzy, have a loss of balance or coordination, and severe headache you may be having a stroke. All of these are common symptoms of a stroke and frequently ignored until it’s too late. If you are aware that someone is having a stroke, you can aid in their recovery by stimulating their hands, feet, and face at the onset of a stroke while you call 911 and wait for medical help to arrive. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital either. Call an ambulance so you get to the hospital faster. Time is of the essence when it comes to deterring the negative neurological damage that occurs from a stroke! 

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