Learning & Resource Center Articles
Boost Your Brain Power with Acupuncture
By: Acufinder Editorial Staff*
Having difficulties focusing, remembering tasks or organizing your thoughts?
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help optimize your brain power through a treatment approach that incorporates different modalities, including nutritional support.
According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine the spirit (Shen) embodies consciousness, emotions and thought. Shen influences long-term memory and the ability to think clearly, contributes to wisdom and presides over activities that involve mental and creative functions. When the mind is healthy, we are able to think clearly. When the mind is unhealthy or unbalanced we experience confusion, poor memory, and clouded thinking.
A healthy mind involves harmony between the brain (Sea of Marrow) and the spirit (Shen). Disharmony of the mind often manifests as anxiety, insomnia, muddled thinking, forgetfulness and chronic restlessness. Meditation and acupuncture, as well as physical exercises such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong and the right foods, can balance and strengthen the mind.
Good nutrition can help boost your brain power. Not only is it essential to overall physical health, it can also enhance the function and harmony of the mind. The right foods enhance brain function by providing essential nutrients such as flavonoids, Omega 3s, vitamins, folate and iron that are great for improving the quality and quantity of learning capacity, cognitive abilities, memory and overall brain function. You can enhance your brain's health and function by including blueberries, fish, leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains in your diet.
Acupuncture Improves Memory and Learning Capacity
The Spleen, Kidney and Heart organ systems all influence intellect. For example the Du meridian influences all neurological activity by nourishing, stimulating or calming the brain and spirit. The Spleen organ system influences short-term memory, analytical thinking and concentration and is damaged by worry and poor nutrition. The Kidney organ system influences short-term memory and retention, and is damaged by fear and aging. The Heart organ system influences long-term memory and recall and is damaged by emotional and chemical over-stimulation. To enhance general learning Oriental medicine focuses on improving the flow of Qi to the brain, regulation of information processing and response to external stimuli.
According to a study published in the October 2008 issue of <i>Neuroscience Letters</i>, acupuncture can significantly improve learning and memory capacity that has been impaired by hyperglycemia and cerebral ischemia. Researchers reported on whether electroacupuncture (acupuncture needles stimulated with a mild electrical current) could improve learning and memory in rats whose memory and cognitive functions were impaired by the decreased circulatory effects of diabetes resulting in cerebral ischemia. In the study, the effects of the acupuncture treatments were measured with a passive avoidance test, an active avoidance test, the Morris water maze and electrophysiology. With all tests, significant improvements were seen in restored memory and learning capacity. Researchers believe that the positive results of this study indicate similar benefits for humans and warrant further investigation
Challenge Your Brain
Keep your mind active and challenged. Brain function decreases with age. Studies show that cognitive exercise can improve blood flow to the brain. Spend at least 15 minutes each day on a mental exercise such as a crossword puzzle, journaling or learning a new language in order to slow memory loss.
However you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.
One recently published study showed how acupuncture can be used to help patients with vascular dementia. Cerebral functional imaging before and after acupuncture treatments showed a significant increase in the cerebral glucose metabolism of the brain which is associated with improved cognitive function. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students taking an exam or those with Alzheimer's disease and memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. All results, thus far, have been positive.
Want to optimize your focus and mental health? Call an acupuncturist near you today!
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*Some content included in this article was provided by contributing writer Lori Kelsey DOM