Brain power and clarity of thought give us the edge in life, making us more efficient, determined, connected with ourselves and those around us and better able to recognise and focus on our life goals. Sometimes however it feels like our brain is letting us down or struggling to keep up with the demands that we put on it. While you may have come to accept this as a fact of life, there is actually quite a bit that you can do to improve your mental capabilities, and one easy yet effective way to do this is with acupuncture.
Wondering how an ancient therapy that involves the stimulation of specific points around the body could possibly boost your brain power? Well, the idea may not seem so far-fetched if we take a minute or two to look at what acupuncture is all about and how it can help enhance many of our mental aptitudes, including concentration, memory, emotional balance, resilience, will-power, good judgement and strong instincts.
Rebooting Your System
A key idea in acupuncture is that our bodies and minds are designed to self-repair, rebalance naturally, and are capable of working at their very best for each and every one of us. Our in-built healing mechanisms can nevertheless be disrupted or impaired by factors such as acute and chronic illnesses, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, trauma or some deep-seated disquiet about our life. Addressing any kind of disruption to self-healing is therefore essential and forms the primary goal of acupuncture. This is achieved through specific techniques used during an acupuncture session, including gently placing ultra-fine needles around the body and using heat therapy in specific points that are known to activate the nervous system to trigger various cellular changes to revive both body and mind.
Brain functions are very much at the crossroad of the physical and mental in Oriental Medicine, as all our organs are said to perform physical, mental and emotional functions. Even substances such as ‘blood’ or the energetic force known as ‘Qi’ (pronounced chi) that form part of all living things are, in Eastern Medicine, associated with physical functions, such as circulation, temperature control, and digestion, as well as with the state of our mental health, ensuring a sense of balance and the ability to move through the emotional ups and downs of life.
With such an intricate understanding of how and why we feel the way we do, both physically and mentally, an acupuncture session has the potential to tackle any weaknesses in our system, and can therefore be used to specifically strengthen mental functions and give you that extra boost of brain power when needed. This could be for example, when studying for an exam, working through a difficult work project, performing mentally demanding tasks at work, or when trying to go about our everyday lives making sound decisions – both small and big – that will help us feel fulfilled and in control.
Enhance your Brain Power
There are many lifestyle factors that can affect brain power and Oriental Medicine tells us that by paying special attention to eating well, getting enough sleep and rest, and breathing properly, we will ensure that both body and mind are well looked after. In other words, having these three areas of your everyday health working well is a prerequisite to a strong mind. A first step therefore in powering up your brain will be to focus on your sleep, diet and breathing. If and when any of these are proving troublesome or are not working optimally, your acupuncture treatments can be used to address any issues and give you a strong basis to support your mental faculties. It is worth noting that there is personalised guidance an acupuncturist can give to a patient to further support these aspects through self-care, including dietary recommendations that take into account Oriental Medicine’s understanding of food energetics, breathing exercises as well as advice on sleep hygiene.
While supporting our everyday health choices and habits will already be of great help to that mental vigour, the diagnostic techniques used in acupuncture to detect imbalances and deficiencies in specific organs or in the vital substances of blood and Qi allow the acupuncture treatments to be fine-tuned. This precise targeting enables every individual’s unique capabilities and strengths to be nourished and called upon when needed. In a tradition of acupuncture known as Five Element Acupuncture, these specific abilities are represented through the energetic qualities of Water, Fire, Earth, Wood and Metal. In this tradition, every individual is said to be made-up of a combination of these elements, with one dominant element, and with this comes distinct mental aptitudes. As each of these elements has seasonal, hourly and other affinities, they are naturally supported in our system but can also be further enhanced or rebalanced where necessary. So what are each of the five elements’ mental qualities?
Water: This element is said to give us resilience and immense will-power yet can also generate fear which holds us back. In Oriental Medicine, fear, which may manifest in different forms of stress and anxiety, is a major impediment when it comes to brain power, as it can either freeze us or conversely make us completely chaotic and erratic in our behaviour and thoughts. Specific channels and point combinations are used in acupuncture to help rebalance this energy, so that the fear can be turned into strength, determination and wisdom.
Fire: The quality of Fire provides an individual with a sense of purpose and gives that feeling of being excited by life’s wonders and animated by the destiny we seek for ourselves. With it also comes the skill to take the right path at the right time. Without it, a person may experience a sense of confusion and a scattered mental process. Making sure this energy and elemental quality are well supported will ensure that our inner light is present within us, giving us a feeling of joy and fulfilment.
Wood: The quality of this element revolves around the principle that strength comes from growth and decisiveness. Having a clear vision, that is embedded in a sound strategy, executing this well and taking timely decisions to keep our plans on track are talents that can be strengthened through acupuncture treatments that target a person’s Wood energy and the associated acupuncture channels.
Earth: With this element comes the power of thought, concentration and memory. In acupuncture, these attributes are associated with the organs and acupuncture channels of the Spleen/Pancreas, and Stomach. During times of intense concentration, such as when revising for exams, when studying a course or writing up some work, these channels and organs can get overworked but with a fortifying acupuncture treatment, we can better sustain our efforts, support our learning and our ability to ‘digest’ the knowledge we have acquired.
Metal: This element is associated with purity, so with it comes clarity of thought and inspiration. Sharp thinking and precision are critical in many areas of work and life, and when we are finding that this power is failing us somewhat, then it may be that the organs and functions associated with the Metal’s energetic aptitudes are not working to their full potential. Acupuncture can target these when needed and can also boost our instincts and inspiration, just like when we take a deep breath of fresh air.
Would acupuncture help me?
As you read through the elemental qualities that acupuncture draws on in its approach to treatment, perhaps you recognised some of the things that would help you in your personal or professional life to give you that super-charged brain power, that will allow you to break through any barriers getting in the way of you want and to make you the best you can be. If that is the case, then try acupuncture, and see how much of a difference it makes.