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  • Anna Lunaria, L.Ac.

Improve Memory & Enhance Learning with Acupuncture: Evidence Based East-West Integrative Medicin

Acupuncture and Memory

Did you know that there has been many interesting studies on the benefit of acupuncture and cognitive functioning, especially in the area of memory. Much of this research is done by monitoring the effects acupuncture has on the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain, with fMRI scans or by monitoring the biochemicals that effect this part of the brain, along with before and after measures of memory and learning.

“Acupuncture protected cerebral multi-infarction in rats from memory impairment by regulating the expression of apoptosis related genes Bcl-2 and Bax in hippocampus.” (Wang 2009)

“Our research suggests that acupuncture can induce different cell proliferation in different brain regions of SAMP8*, which brings forth the need to explore further for the mechanism of cognitive deficits and acupuncture intervention in this field. Senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) is an autogenic senile strain characterized by early cognitive impairment and age-related deterioration of learning and memory. (Cheng 2008)

One group of researchers focused on the point P6, or Pericardium 6, found about 1.5 inches from the wrist in the center of the forearm. P6 is a point traditionally choose to calm the mind. First researchers confirmed that chronic mild stress (CMS) and anxiety can lead to memory loss and then researchers discovered that acupuncture at P6 does have a significant positive effect on resolving the the biochemical and behavioral impairments of memory loss and learning difficulties. The study looked the storage and activity of acetylcholinesterase (AchE) in the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory storage and what happened by giving acupuncture to subject with CMS. They found that P6 had a significant positive result on CMS and compared the effects of acupuncture at the point SJ5, San Jaio 5, which had no effect. (Kim, 2011)

The acupoint Ki3, or Kidney 3 has traditionally been a point associated with the brain. It’s located on the inner ankle. level with the ankle bone: find it half way between the ankle bone and the achilles tendon in the divot. Researchers studied the effects of needling Ki3 on the brain of those with mild cognitive impairment. It was found to be very beneficial using fMRI studies when needled deeply (researchers compared the effect of deep needling vs shallow needling) for restoring memory in those with cognitive impairment. (Chen 2013)

Other points often selected to help improve memory include Si Shen Cong, four point on the top of the head. Heart 7 or other heart points, UB15 as well as others that are specific to each patients particular constitution.

Try acupuncture today to help you improve your memory, enhance learning and reduce the negative cognitive effects of stress!


Chen, S., Bai, L., Xu, M., Wang, F., Yin, L., Peng, X., ... & Shi, X. (2013). Multivariate granger causality analysis of acupuncture effects in mild cognitive impairment patients: an FMRI study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.

Cheng, H., Yu, J., Jiang, Z., Zhang, X., Liu, C., Peng, Y., ... & Xiao, C. (2008). Acupuncture improves cognitive deficits and regulates the brain cell proliferation of SAMP8 mice. Neuroscience letters, 432(2), 111-116.

Kim, H., Park, H. J., Shim, H. S., Han, S. M., Hahm, D. H., Lee, H., & Shim, I. (2011). The effects of acupuncture (PC6) on chronic mild stress-induced memory loss. Neuroscience letters, 488(3), 225-228.

Lee, B., Sur, B. J., Kwon, S., Jung, E., Shim, I., Lee, H., & Hahm, D. H. (2011). Acupuncture stimulation alleviates corticosterone-induced impairments of spatial memory and cholinergic neurons in rats. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.

Liu, C. Z., Yu, J. C., Zhang, X. Z., Fu, W. W., Wang, T., & Han, J. X. (2006). Acupuncture prevents cognitive deficits and oxidative stress in cerebral multi-infarction rats. Neuroscience letters, 393(1), 45-50.

Omura, Y. (1976). Editorial: Patho-physiology of acupuncture effects, ACTH and morphine-like substances, pain, phantom sensations (phantom pain, itch and coldness), brain micro-circulation, and memory. Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research, 2(1-2), 1-31.

Sher, L. (1998). The role of the endogenous opioid system in the effects of acupuncture on mood, behavior, learning, and memory. Medical hypotheses, 50(6), 475-478.

Wang, T., Liu, C. Z., Yu, J. C., Jiang, W., & Han, J. X. (2009). Acupuncture protected cerebral multi-infarction rats from memory impairment by regulating the expression of apoptosis related genes Bcl-2 and Bax in hippocampus. Physiology & behavior, 96(1), 155-161.

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