Functional Neurology Explained: Definition, Benefits, and the Role of Neuro Acupuncture

Functional neurology is a topic about which you can hear a lot lately. It’s a type of alternative medicine treatment that’s aimed at healing different kinds of neurological disorders. The procedure is designed to comprehensively address the diagnosis from the root cause, not only the symptoms.

The entire concept of functional neurology is rooted in the chiropractic approach, which means that certified neurology chiropractors mainly perform the treatment. However, Makari Wellness focuses on combining the diagnostic and corrective strategies with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture and corrective exercises, nutrition, and supplements in order to provide better and more measurable results for patients that have a certain neurological disorder.

The following post will reveal more critical aspects of functional neurology and neuro acupuncture, focusing on their benefits and main ideas.

Makari Wellness: Functional Neurology and Acupuncture in San Diego CA

Makari Wellness is an acupuncture clinic that aims to provide holistic treatments to patients that suffer from different types of neurological disorders or other conditions that are rarely cured with Western medicine. Our unique approach is based on the combination of the diagnostic and corrective strategies of functional neurology with Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and exercises that together bring recovery, stabilization or delayed progression depending upon the disorder.

Book your appointment at (888) 871-8889 and start your acupuncture and neurological exercise program.


What is Functional Neurology?

Functional neurology (also known as chiropractic neurology) is a term that encompasses various evidence-based treatments aimed at curing neurological disorders. It’s based upon the theory that claims that our brain can change and learn throughout our lives, even after the injury or due to a disease process. Such an ability is also known as neuroplasticity.

The term neuroplasticity is perceived as the foundation of how functional neurology works.

How Does Functional Neurology Work?

Functional neurology uses particular rehabilitation strategies to manipulate the cells and impact the connection of specific areas of the nervous system. The activation of the brain promotes the new connections within the brain and spinal cord, but it also leads to the creation of new neurons and blood vessels in them.

Functional neurology practitioners find that spinal misalignments, better known as subluxations, impinge spinal nerves and cause an imbalance in nerve output to the body. Something like that often results in an unhealthy body and disease, which is why practitioners implement certain spinal adjustments to remove those subluxations.

What are the Benefits of Functional Neurology?

Since it’s about a treatment based on a holistic approach, functional neurology can help improve different brain-related conditions. The main objective of this therapy is addressing the affected areas of the nervous system that are either under-activated or over-activated.

Some of the conditions that can be successfully treated with functional neurology are:

  • Balance disorders
  • Bulging/herniated discs
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dizziness
  • Dystonia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Low immunity
  • Migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness
  • Pain in the arm/shoulder
  • Pain in the hip, knee, or feet
  • Restless leg symptom (RLS)
  • Sciatica and lower back pain
  • Spinal stenosis
  • The early signs of the Alzheimer’s
  • Tremor disorders

Acupuncture and Functional Neurology

The combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine and neuroscience is known as neuro acupuncture, which is considered one of the most efficient alternative treatments for neurological disorders.

Neuro acupuncture is also known as scalp acupuncture since it involves the needling of the specific areas of the scalp, which help the stimulation of the underlying brain cells. The stimulation of these particular points of the scalp increases the blood flow and oxygenation, leading to improved function of brain tissues.

Scalp acupuncture originates from China. It was developed by a neurologist who was familiar with modern brain anatomy, and it has been successfully practiced ever since 1960. It has brought a lot of remarkable and measurable results in treating a variety of neurological conditions such as:

  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Encephalitis-meningitis sequalae
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Dementia
  • Memory loss
  • Cortical blindness
  • Nerve deafness
  • Epilepsy

Scalp acupuncture has provided a lot of positive results so far. Its effects are usually temporary, but they can become permanent with persistent and regular treatments.

How is Neuro Acupuncture Done?

A typical scalp acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of small, thin, and stainless steel needles into the loose areolar tissue layer of the scalp in order to stimulate the brain neurons of the underlying area. Although it might sound intimidating, the procedure is completely safe since the skull protects the brain.

Neurology acupuncture stimulates the cells that are causing certain disruption. It first “wakes up” the brain cells that are not dead but not functioning at their highest potential, then encourages the recruitment of healthy brain cells to perform the lost function, and eventually promotes a healthy reintegration of the brain system.

Scalp acupuncture has proven its efficiency in treating the consequences of stroke and helping patients recover from brain surgery more quickly and more efficiently. It can also help regain speech due to aphasia.

The Combination of Neuro Acupuncture and Other Treatments

In order to achieve better results, acupuncturists tend to combine the needling technique with other therapies and exercises that would help patients recover from neurological disorders much more efficiently.

Specific Functional Movement Assessment

The most common way of implementing acupuncture is its integration with the Specific Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). Such treatment will help identify the core dysfunctional movement patterns and provide an essential treatment strategy. That way, practitioners can address the problem successfully by using the combination of different tools that would help the patients recover much faster.

Chinese Herbs

Traditional Chinese medicine and herbs have been used for about 3,000 years. Herbal medicine is believed to be efficient in treating a variety of neurological disorders, and it often comes as an integrative part of acupuncture and corrective exercises.

Your practitioner will recommend a combination of the herbs appropriate for your condition. Such a formula will stimulate the production of blood flow to the brain and mitigate the consequences brought by a particular disorder. Chinese herbs are convenient for treating the following types of neurological conditions:

  • Brain injuries
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Disorders of cranial and spinal nerves
  • Encephalitis and encephalopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Intracranial tumors
  • Neurosis and hysteria

It’s critical to mention that Chinese herbs address not only the symptoms of a certain condition, but they focus on a patient’s overall health and tend to treat the underlying disease that might be causing the problem.

Chinese herbs are generally safe, but it’s recommended to tell your practitioner whether you’re taking some medications prescribed by your doctor.

Nutrition and Supplements

Along with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, Chinese medicine claims that adequate dietary therapy, regular exercise, and the healing of our environment also play critical roles in our overall health and quality of life.

That being said, your practitioner will be able to help you develop a healthy nutritional plan that will be in line with your needs and show you some breathing exercises that would significantly enhance your treatment experience.

Physical Therapy and Western Practices

To make sure you’ve received efficient and permanent results, Makari Wellness often combines the practices of both Eastern and Western medicine. That said, each patient should perform physical therapy and exercises to train the brain and allow the body functions to recover completely.

What are Common Neurological Exercise Types?

There are various functional neurology therapies. To determine which one is the right for treating a particular condition, practitioners have to understand the patient’s detailed health history and get a comprehensive picture of their nervous system.

That way, practitioners will be able to create a specific treatment plan to enhance brain function and improve the patient’s overall health. Most treatments combine visual, auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive, movement-based, and cognitive activities in order to promote neuroplasticity and well-being.

Eye Movement Exercises (Optokinetic Exercises)

Optokinetic or eye movement exercises are convenient for increasing activation in the areas of the brain that are not functioning very well. It is considered that eye exercises can significantly improve brain function, especially cognitive skills, language use, and sensory processing.

Balance and Coordination Therapy

The exercises aimed at improving balance and coordination often involve the use of the balance board or balance platform, which increases activation of the functions that control posture, head and eye yoked movements, and core stability.

Such therapy can be combined with other movement exercises such as ball throwing and catching, kicking/stopping the ball, or complex movements of the extremities.

Complex Movement Exercises

Complex movement exercises require the activation of the motor regions of the brain, and they’re primarily performed to activate the brain areas that are deficient or over-activated. They often involve copying movements, mirror therapies, throwing and catching a ball, kicking and stopping the ball, and pointing/tracing treatment.

Although such exercises may not seem so complex, they are quite essential for improving functional deficits in the brain.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation is designed to target the various parts of the vestibular system – inner ear and cerebellum – which are usually the root of the conditions that affect balance and coordination.

These exercises may also include the use of balance board and numerous forms of stability work, complex patterned movements for extremities, therapeutic spinning, as well as other rational types of movement, positional maneuvers, and eye exercises.

Developmental Disorder Rehabilitation

Developmental Disorder Rehabilitation includes various functional neurology exercises designed to target the affected areas of the brainstem, cerebellum, and cortex that are at the root cause of disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, dyslexia, and learning disabilities.

Depending on the patient’s condition, a functional neurologist can implement various eye movement exercises, hand-eye coordination exercises, music therapy, balance and coordination work, or light stimulation.

Conclusion: Why Choosing Functional Neurology and Neuro Acupuncture?

You must be wondering why people should consider alternative methods when there is a variety of Western practices today? Well, the truth is that most Western approaches tend to address only the condition that’s causing particular symptoms, while they often neglect the underlying disease that might be responsible for the onset of the health issues.

Eastern medicine, on the other hand, tries to focus on the patient’s overall health. Its combination with Western approaches brings the most efficient and long-lasting outcomes, and it’s especially convenient for treating neurological diseases.