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Boost Your Brain Power with Acupuncture

The Acupuncture Newsletter August 2014
Julee Miller AP, DOM, BS, LMT
Health Pointe Jacksonville, LLC
3840 Belfort Road, Suite 305
Jacksonville, FL 32216
904-448-0046/www.hpjax.com

Boost Your Brain Power with Acupuncture

 

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, 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.

You can enhance this harmony with meditation and acupuncture, as well as physical exercises such as

Tai Chi or Qi Gong. The right foods can balance and strengthen the mind 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.

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 Neuroscience Letters, 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.

Call (904)448-0046 today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can optimize your mental skills!

 

Exercises to Improve Concentration

Trouble focusing on your work or losing steam mid-way? Oriental medicine has innovative approaches to

restoring concentration, based on an interpretation of Qi, the energy which powers the body and the mind.

According to Oriental Medicine, Qi stems from four main components of diet, exercise, rest and mental activity,

each of which tend to vary in terms of quality, quantity, frequency, and duration.

Looking at these components, you may realize you need to make adjustments to your diet, fitness, and re-

laxation strategies in order to make them more sustainable and conducive to improved brain function and

overall health. If you are bloated or tired after meals or struggling to fall asleep after turning off the computer,

you already know what actions you need to take to nourish your Qi and mind! Meditation and Tai Chi can also

help calm and focus the mind. Try integrating these exercises, to nourish and improve your concentration.

Eye Exercise for Concentration
Prolonged focus on a fixed location can cause eyestrain as well as Qi Stagnation, impairing circulation and

concentration. You should routinely change your focus from your phone or computer to a point in the distance.

Additionally, try taking short breaks and rolling your eyes in circles, both clockwise and counter-clockwise,

10-20 times in each direction, to relieve strain.

Hand Exercise for Concentration
Manipulating the hands can recharge the mind, according to Oriental medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Try using Baoding balls, which are small spheres made of wood, stone, metal, or clay which range from 1.8mm

and up in diameter. Place one ball in the hand and try to pass it to each finger, then try rotating two balls within

your palm.

Breathing for Concentration
Breathing exercises redirect your focus to the Liver, which also is the first organ and meridian system affected

in times of emotional stress. As an everyday practice, try breathing in and out, holding the breath, then exhaling

again. Force yourself to “let go” even more, which stimulates an even deeper inhalation. Lengthening the breath

can calm the mind and redirect your focus away from stress.

Meditate to Increase Focus
Create a quiet, relaxing environment, with comforting items (candles, incense, art that has a spiritual importance

to you, etc.) around you.

Sit upright on a cushion with legs folded, or in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground, allowing for

free and easy breathing. Relax your shoulders and gently place your hands on your knees or in your lap.

Tuck your chin in slightly and keep your eyes half open, your gaze softly focusing downward about four to six

feet in front, and your mouth slightly open. Observe your breath.

Try belly-breathing – not breathing with the chest, but from the navel. Don’t accentuate or alter the way you are

breathing, just let your attention rest on the flow of your breath.

The goal is to allow the “chattering” in your mind to gradually fade away. If you’re distracted by a thought,

gently bring your mind back to your breathing. Continue to focus on your breathing for 10 or 15 minutes.

Stay relaxed, yet awake and attentive. Finding your balance there is not easy! Eventually, as your body understands

what you are doing, meditating will become easier to enter into. Remember to be gentle and patient with yourself.

Meditating for even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.

 

Good Nutrition Boosts Brain Power

Looking to support your health and also boost your brain function? You can achieve both of these goals

through nutrition. According to Oriental medicine (OM), good nutrition can improve mental activity, physical

and emotional strength and immunity, breathing, and elimination.

Where to begin? First of all, avoid excess. According to Oriental medicine, overindulging in food or drink can

impair your Qi–the energy which powers the body and the mind. Greasy, fatty, spicy, and sweet foods can

also lead to “stuck” Qi, worsening any symptoms of fogginess or sluggishness. So how can you support

your brain and body health with food? Consider these foods and their benefits for your brain and body:

Walnuts for Memory
Walnuts are a good source of Vitamin B and E, which may support memory function and slow cell aging.

Try eating 1-2 walnuts per day for optimal brain function. Nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6

fatty acids, folate, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and zinc, all of which allow you to think more clearly. Seeds and nuts

rich in thiamine and magnesium are great for memory, cognitive function, and brain nourishment.

Leafy Greens for Concentration, Recall and Understanding
Cooked leafy greens support the Yin which, according to Oriental medicine, enables better concentration and

deep rest. Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens and others are rich in vitamins,

folate, and iron, all of which are essential for memory recall and increasing cognitive activity. Oriental medicine

considers cooked foods easier to digest, so throw them in soup, steam them or stir-fry.

Water for a Calm and Restful Mind
According to Oriental medicine, drinking water is a crucial way to nourish your Yin, calming the mind and

improving your rest. Oriental medicine recommends drinking warm water, to support the body’s internal

temperature.

Substitute any beverages with pure water to transport nutrients during digestion, to act as fluid between

the joints, and help regulate our temperature and skin (via perspiration). As a broad guideline, drink half

your weight in ounces of water.

Berries to Improve Learning Capacity
Most berries contain fisetin and flavonoids, which are great for improving your memory and allowing you

to easily recall past events. Blueberries are well known for their role in improving motor skills and overall

learning capacity.

 

Acupuncture and ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral conditions among

children. In the United States, approximately 4.5 million children between the ages of 5-17 years old

are diagnosed with ADHD each year.

Research indicates that when treating ADHD, a multidisciplinary approach is most effective; combining

behavioral therapy, exercise, dietary changes and medication. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can

be added as one of the treatment methods that can successfully manage ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition of the brain that makes it difficult to con-

centrate or control impulsive behavior.

Children with ADHD generally struggle with paying attention or concentrating. They struggle to follow

directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are

impulsive, not stopping to think before they act.

These behaviors are generally common in all children, but they occur more often and are more

severe in a child with ADHD. The behaviors common with ADHD interfere with a child’s ability to

function at school and at home.

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organizational skills, goal setting,

and employment. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions.

Treatment for ADHD

Treatment for ADHD is multifaceted, consisting of ADHD medications, behavioral therapy and

lifestyle and dietary modifications.

ADHD is best managed when families, educational and health professionals work together to

meet the unique needs of the child or adult who has ADHD to help them learn to focus their attention,

develop their personal strengths, minimize disruptive behavior, and become productive and successful.

An excellent addition to any treatment plan, acupuncture and Oriental medicine are used to help

restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing the symptoms of ADHD.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve focus and attention, augment mood manage-

ment techniques, reduce fidgeting, lower hyperactivity and enhance concentration.

Acupressure for Focus

Enhance Concentration
Try pressing on Yin Tang (Hall of Impression), which is similar to the “third eye” location in

yogic practices.

It is level with the base of the eyebrow, midway between the inside corners of the eyebrows,

over the bridge of the nose.

Lean forward towards a table or desk. Bend your thumbs and press your two knuckles into this

point to improve your concentration.

Boost Mental Clarity
Feeling a little foggy? Having trouble concentrating? Massage acupuncture point Du 20 for some

mental clarity.

Du 20 is located on top of the head, midway between the ears. It is used to clear the mind and

improve focus.

Stimulate the point with your index finger 35-40 seconds for a quick “brain boost.”

6 responses to “Boost Your Brain Power with Acupuncture”

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  5. Julee Miller says:

    Thank you!

    All the best to you!

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