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Acupuncture & Brain Health

One of the things that scares most people about aging is the possibility of losing one’s mind – specifically loss of control and awareness of our surroundings. People of all ages express that they want to stay in command of their bodies, even though sadly not everyone can. Why can some people keep their mental strength while others lose it? In the health disciplines, the ability to preserve brain function in the face of damage has a name: cognitive reserve. Developing cognitive reserve is very important for us as we age. Can acupuncture or other East Asian medicine techniques help with this? Yes!

An image of a brain with lobes colored.  Image credit: aboutmodafinil.comAcupuncture can help with nervous system function in a couple different ways. A new evaluation of studies shows that acupuncture is able to increase chemicals in the brain that encourage preservation of neurons when faced with damage. This helps to preserve cognitive function and offsets loss of function from aging.

Acupuncture also helps to preserve body function and energy when faced with a demylenation disorder like multiple sclerosis. In these kinds of disorders the nervous system loses the ability to conduct signals from the brain to other areas of the body. This is because in these diseases the protective sheeting around the nerve disappears and signals dissipate into the surrounding cells rather than make it to the brain. With acupuncture these nerves can be stimulated, which will encourage regrowth of myelin, and the strengthening of the connection between the brain and the body.

These benefits are not limited to those started to suffer from cognitive or movement problems. Most research shows that cognitive function reaches its maximum in the mid-20s to mid-30s, and the more cognitive reserve a person has acquired the better they are later in life. Increasing and preserving cognitive reserve can start at any age, and its benefits will last a lifetime. This is especially important for those with a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Have questions about brain health or looking for treatment for a neurological disorder? Schedule your consultation today!