The Affects Acupuncture Has on Brain Function and Memorization
Memory loss is an unavoidable aspect of aging for many people. More than just an inability to remember the location of your car keys, memory loss can make it difficult to perform basic math, recall recent events or remember the way home from the grocery store.
Many people are understandably concerned about the physical and mental changes that occur as they grow older, but memory loss doesn't necessarily have to be one of them. Acupuncture treatments not only improve physical ailments but may also help you avoid or reduce the risks of some types of memory loss.
How Acupuncture Treatments Work
Placing hair-thin acupuncture needles in your skin unclogs Qi blockages. Qi is a vital life force that flows through your body in a system of meridians or pathways. When the flow is blocked, you may experience aches and pains, insomnia, digestive issues, and other health complaints. Acupuncture also helps balance yin and yang, the opposing forces that keep your body's systems in harmony.
In addition to improving your physical health, acupuncture offers mental health benefits. Treatments decrease the production of stress hormones and reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
Acupuncture treatment also has a positive effect on cognitive functioning. Good cognitive function is necessary for problem-solving, learning, reasoning, thinking, decision-making and memory. Acupuncture increases blood flow to the brain and activates the frontal and temporal brain lobes responsible for memory.
What the Research Shows
Acupuncture may help improve a range of memory issues, include mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). MCI is a phase that occurs just before people develop AD or dementia. During MCI, you may have trouble remembering words or conversations or might forget appointments, but can still carry out your usual daily tasks.
In a study published in PLOS/One, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to evaluate the brains of 36 research subjects before, during and after acupuncture treatment. The researchers noticed increased or decreased activity in the frontal and temporal lobes of subjects with MCI or Alzheimer's disease during treatment, proving that acupuncture does affect brain function.
Acupuncture may also improve memory, learning and brain function in people who have AD if human studies produce the same results as a study on animals. Researchers at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine discovered that scalp electroacupuncture had a positive effect on learning and spatial memory in mice with AD. During electroacupuncture, a mild electrical current passes through the acupuncture needles to enhance the effects of the treatment.
Treatments also improved glucose metabolism in the hippocampus in mice with AD. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that records and retrieves memories, while glucose provides energy to the body's cells. If the brain doesn't receive enough glucose, memory can become impaired.
What the Research Means for You
Acupuncture treatments offer a simple way to prevent or reduce age-related memory loss. If you're already struggling with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer's disease, the treatments may improve brain function and reduce further cognitive loss. Treatments can also be combined with traditional medical treatments to enhance the way your brain works and improve your memory.
Would you like to avoid or reduce memory loss? Acupuncture can help you keep your memory sharp naturally. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
PLOS/One: Effect of Acupuncture in Mild Cognitive Impairment And Alzheimer's Disease: A Functional MRI Study, 8/20/12
Medical News Today: Pre-Dementia Memory Loss Improved with Acupuncture, 8/5/16
NCBI: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture for Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease: a Randomized Controlled Trial, 12/29/17
Health CMI: Acupuncture for Alzheimer’s Memory and Brain Function, 2/24/17