Clinical trials completed by the Chinese state that some effect can be gained from acupuncture in about 80 per cent of strokes. These trials are difficult to interpret clearly as a significant number of stroke patients recover spontaneously; furthermore, the Chinese trials are poorly designed and the exact definition of the success and failure of treatment is unclear. The success rate claimed is very high but to some extent this success rate is mirrored by the experience of a variety of doctors in the West. Whatever criticism one has about Chinese research methods, Western medicine often has little to offer the stroke patient and therefore acupuncture is always worth considering. Ideally strokes should be treated within six months of the damage occurring. The patient may continue to benefit for up to two years after the stroke but, as a rule, acupuncture can effect little improvement if the damage has been present for more than two years.