Do you often go to reach for something essential, such as a phone or a wallet, and find you’ve left home without them? Are you spending more time looking for items around the house you were sure were where you left them?
Short-term memory loss is common and should serve as an alert to the possibility of developing dementia. Fortunately, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offers exercises and diet tips to improve memory and prevent dementia.
Knocking Acupuncture Points on Head Exercise
One day, Ayi, a salaried worker under 30 years old, rode his motorbike to a business meeting. Surprisingly, after the meeting, he could not locate it. He reported the loss to the police and went back to work. Eventually, he remembered where he had parked the motorbike and thought he had just made a “silly mistake.”
Due to the pressures of work, staying up late, irregular routines, and general overuse of the brain, early dementia is becoming more common.
A healthy practice to support a strong mind and memory is called “Knocking Acupuncture Points on Head.”
The “Baihu” pressure point is located on the top of the head, at the center of the intersection of the middle sagittal line and the connections of two ear apexes. The “Sishengcong points,” are four acupuncture points located 1 cun (approx. the width of thumb) respectively anterior, posterior, and lateral to the Baihu point.
Knocking on these acupuncture points by hand, or with a wooden or ox horn comb, can improve memory, mental acuity, and prevent dementia. You can do it anytime, for example, in your car waiting at a red traffic light, traveling on a plane, or anywhere you find you have a moment to spare.
Acupuncture Points on Hands and Feet
Two acupuncture points located on the hands and feet can also improve memory.
1. Shenmen Point
Shenmen point is an acupuncture point of the Heart Sutra, located on the wrist crease, a hollow towards the medial tendon. Pressing Shenmen point can calm you down, help you sleep well, and improve memory.
2. Zusanli point
Zusanli point, located about the width of four fingers below the kneecap, is a very good acupuncture point for improving digestion. Massaging that point can also improve memory—once your digestion and absorption are improved, delivery of essential nutrients to the brain is more efficient.
Acupoints are recognized by Chinese culture and TCM as places with many nerve endings and blood vessels. Traditional Chinese medicine has found that acupoints are located in the viscera and meridian circulation routes distributed on the surface of the body. They are specific locations where qi and blood gather, transfer, and enter and exit.
In TCM, “qi” and blood are the most important fundamental substances necessary for life. The concept of “qi” can be understood as the “energy” or “vitality” that constitutes life in the body. This energy flows throughout the body to maintain life activities. Illnesses or other conditions only appear when there is a qi imbalance or deficiency in the body.
Traditional Chinese medicine can treat diseases by stimulating corresponding meridian acupoints to maintain qi and blood balance through massage and acupuncture.
Empty Your Mind
Sorting thoughts in the brain is an important step between the input and output of knowledge. For example, the ‘Knocking Acupuncture Points on Head Exercise’ as well as exercising frequently, can serve to empty your mind.
Sorting starts when the mind is empty. Spending 15 or 20 minutes every day fast walking, or riding a bike, can not only strengthen the health of your heart, but can also activate the brain, reduce memory decline, improve logic, and strengthen communication skills.
Seated meditation and listening to music can also help quiet the mind. Listening to slow-tempo music, for example, one beat per second can calm the mind. I played very relaxing music in the clinic, which induced calm and quiet—even the chattering kids would eventually quiet and calm down.
When I listen to slow-tempo music, I feel the pressure is being reduced. When this happens, the hippocampus in the brain performs like a loose sponge, thus knowledge can be easily memorized.
Soups to Calm the Mind and Enhance Memory
Longan and Lotus Seed Congee
5 grams red date
5 grams longan meat
30 grams sticky rice
15 grams lotus seed
*Some of the above ingredients may be found at local Asian food markets.
The congee is a good choice for children as a snack in the afternoon or a late-night meal, especially for children who study late at night.
Longan can activate memory. Lotus seeds are calming the mind and nourish the spleen and stomach. Red date and sticky rice also function as benefiting the spleen and the stomach. Eating congee promotes digestion and absorption.
- Clean all ingredients.
- Put all ingredients into a pot of water. Bring to a boil, and turn the heat to low.
- Serve when the soup cools down.
Thick Soup for Intelligence and Calming
15 grams Walnut meat
5 grams Poria cocos
15 grams Spine date seed
5 grams Snow fungus
* Some of the above ingredients may be found at local Asian food markets.
- Soak the snow fungus for ten minutes, and shred it into pieces.
- Boil them with other ingredients in a pot.
- It is ready for drinking when the soup cools down.
Snow fungus supplements collagen, therefore, it can increase the flexibility of the joints.
TCM states “nourish a body part by eating the food that is visually similar to a respective body part.” The shape of a walnut is similar to the cerebrum, therefore it can nourish the cerebrum.
Poria cocos is a type of fungus growing around the roots of pine. It can calm the mind, soothe the nerves, and aid in better sleep. Spine date seed is an important TCM aid for better sleep. Longan meat is beneficial to intelligence and nourishes the spleen and the stomach. While snow fungus is beneficial to the stomach.
3 Foods Prevent Dementia and Amnesia
Pumpkin: Contains β-Carotene, which has anti-oxidizing, and anti-aging properties and prevents cerebrum decline. It also contains selenium which can protect vision.
Strawberries: Strawberries contain anthocyanin which can effectively prevent the aging of the cerebrum. Remember to buy organic strawberries, if available, as they contain fewer harmful chemicals, and wash them thoroughly before eating.
Eggs: Eggs can boost your mind and brain. Eggs are is rich in lecithin, which is the basic substance of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Acetylcholine also can constitute and repair damaged cell membranes. Some people worry that eggs contain cholesterol—in fact, eggs do not have much cholesterol, and contain lecithin which can eliminate cholesterol—best of all, they help keep dementia at bay.