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Acupuncture for Dementia

Acupuncture for Dementia

While we often hear the term Alzheimer’s disease, it is not the only cause of dementia – other conditions can have the same effect such as vascular dementia or Lewy body dementia. In fact, Lewy body dementia is considered one of them most common types of dementia, a progressive neurological disorder affecting memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday tasks.

According to the Mayo Clinic the factors increasing the risk vascular dementia are diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. The National Institute of Ageing describes Lewy body dementia as a result of abnormal deposits of the alpha-synuclein protein, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain. Their effect on neurotransmitters leads to difficulties with thinking and movement as well as changes in mood and behavior as they interfere with acetylcholine and dopamine production. The reasons for this are not clear as research is ongoing.

How can acupuncture for Dementia help?

One theory is that acupuncture for dementia may improve blood flow to the brain. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, through the insertion of thin needles, it is thought to increase circulation and oxygenation to the brain, which could potentially help with cognitive function and memory. The needles are stainless steel, super thin and disposable, flicked in by an experienced acupuncturist so you hardly know they are there. The effect, as the acupuncturist twirls the needles or attaches them to a machine dispensing a mild electric current, is one of relaxation. However, the treatment stimulates the flow of energy around the body, removing blockages in the lymphatic system and contributing to a better blood flow.

While there is no known way to completely prevent dementia, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. These include maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, not smoking, managing chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and staying mentally and socially active.

In a small-scale study on ageing people with cognitive impairment where the participants were asked to use a standing bicycle for 30 minutes a day over a period of several months, Dr. Hiroshi Kawamura, a a Japanese doctor, found participants improved in cognitive function, including memory and attention span. He believes that physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain, stimulating the growth of new neurons and improves cognitive abilities.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches dementia treatment by focusing on balancing the body’s energy and addressing underlying imbalances. This can involve acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and other TCM techniques such as tai chi or qigong. The TCM doctor will work out a plan tailor-made to a patient’s specific needs after assessing their case for optimum benefit from the treatment.

It’s important to note that while acupuncture and TCM may offer potential benefits for individuals with dementia, they should not be used as a substitute for conventional medical care.

Before cognitive impairment develops into dementia why not give Zhou Wellness a call today to discover how acupuncture and TCM administered by our professionally trained TCM doctors can possibly help?

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