Brain Fog and How Acupuncture Can Help

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Brain Fog and How Acupuncture Can Help
By: | February 12, 2024

What is Brain Fog?

Brain fog refers to a state of mental confusion and lack of clarity. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating and paying attention, forgetfulness, memory problems, and feeling mentally sluggish. While it is not a medical condition in itself, studies show that brain fog can be a symptom of Long COVID. It can also result from other infections, certain medications, allergies, kidney failure, and mental conditions such as anxiety and depression. Brain fog can significantly affect one’s quality of life and cognitive function.

Long-Term Effects of Brain Fog

Brain fog is not an entirely new condition, as many people, including women going through menopause, have experienced some sort of cognitive impairment. One common symptom that people have developed after contracting a COVID-19 infection is a decline in cognitive function. Since the pandemic began, there have been more and more studies about Long COVID and its effect on our cognitive function.

Long COVID is when symptoms of COVID-19 still linger for weeks, months, and even years after recovering from the infection. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 infections can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in old age, which can lead to poor cognitive function and brain inflammation down the line. As Western medicine is still understanding the effects of Long COVID, brain fog, and how to treat it, acupuncture may be used as an alternative medicine. 

Understanding the Connection Between Brain Fog and Acupuncture

In recent years, acupuncture has gained popularity as an effective treatment for brain fog. Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to restore balance and promote healing. By stimulating these acupuncture points, energy flow is restored, and symptoms of brain fog may be alleviated. Following acupuncture treatments, patients report feeling relaxed and more focused. 

Systemic Reviews Supporting Acupuncture For Brain Fog

Many peer-reviewed journals and reviews provide evidence for the benefits of acupuncture and how it is used to treat cognitive deficit disorders. According to a systematic review, acupuncture improves subjective cognitive decline, reduces post-stroke cognitive impairment, and improves cognitive function in MCI patients without any adverse effects.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Brain Fog

Acupuncture can improve cognitive function, enhance mental clarity, and increase overall well-being. Additionally, brain fog can increase feelings of stress and fatigue. Acupuncture is often used to relieve symptoms of stress, leaving patients with a more relaxed mind and body. Acupuncture works by stimulating the central nervous system, which releases endorphins and promotes blood flow to the brain. This can help reduce inflammation, improve neural regeneration, and enhance the brain’s ability to process information.

Acupuncture Points for Brain Fog Relief

Acupuncture points for brain fog relief are strategically chosen to target the underlying imbalances causing these foggy symptoms. These points may include the Baihui point, located at the top of the head, which is believed to promote mental clarity and focus. Other points, such as the Yintang point between the eyebrows and the Neiguan point on the inner wrist, may also be used to address specific symptoms associated with brain fog.

How Acupuncture Works to Alleviate Brain Fog

Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. When thin needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points, it triggers a cascade of physiological responses. This includes the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers and mood enhancers. Additionally, acupuncture helps regulate the flow of Qi, the vital energy that flows through the body. By restoring the balance of Qi, acupuncture can improve memory and concentration. 

Acupuncture Treatments for Brain Fog

Acupuncture treatments for brain fog typically involve a series of sessions to achieve optimal results. The exact number of treatments needed may vary depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. During the sessions, the acupuncturist will assess the patient’s overall health and wellness and create a personalized treatment plan. This may include a combination of acupuncture, herbal remedies, dietary recommendations, and lifestyle modifications. Many people get nervous over the thought of inserting needles into the skin, however, when practiced under the care of an experienced and licensed acupuncturist, treatments are painless and may relieve lots of stress and tension in the muscle. 

Combining Acupuncture with Other Natural Remedies for Brain Fog

While acupuncture can be an effective standalone treatment for brain fog, it can also be combined with other natural remedies to enhance its benefits. These may include:

  1. Dietary modifications: Certain foods, such as those rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, can support brain health and reduce inflammation. Incorporating these foods into your diet can complement the efficacy of acupuncture.
  2. Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function and retention time. Physical activity can improve your mood, enhance your memory, and reduce any symptoms of brain fog. Engaging in activities like walking, yoga, or tai chi can be beneficial in conjunction with acupuncture treatments.
  3. Stress management: Chronic stress can contribute to brain fog. Incorporating stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices can help reduce stress levels and improve mental clarity.

Preparing for an Acupuncture Session for Brain Fog

Before your acupuncture session, it’s important to prepare yourself both mentally and physically. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your treatment:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before your session to ensure proper hydration, as this can improve the effectiveness of acupuncture.
  2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These substances can interfere with the body’s energy flow and may diminish the effects of acupuncture. It’s best to avoid them for a few hours before your session.
  3. Wear loose, comfortable clothing: This will allow easy access to the acupuncture points and ensure a relaxing experience during the session.

Finding a Qualified Acupuncture Practitioner for Brain Fog Treatment

When seeking acupuncture treatment for brain fog, it’s important to find a qualified and experienced practitioner. Here are some tips to help you find the right practitioner for your needs:

  1. Research: Look for licensed acupuncturists who specialize or have experience in treating brain fog or neurological conditions. Read reviews and check their credentials to ensure they have the necessary expertise.
  2. Ask for recommendations: Seek recommendations from friends, family, or healthcare professionals who have had positive experiences with acupuncture for brain fog.
  3. Consultation: Schedule a consultation with potential acupuncturists to discuss your symptoms and treatment goals. This will give you an opportunity to assess their knowledge and approach to treatment.
  4. Don’t get nervous: Needles can make anyone anxious, but there is no reason for concern. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat a myriad of conditions. Additionally, many systemic reviews and scientific journals have vouched for this ancient Chinese practice. When performed by a professional licensed acupuncturist, you should feel no discomfort at all during treatments. 

Conclusion: The Potential of Acupuncture in Managing Brain Fog

Acupuncture offers a holistic approach to managing brain fog by addressing the underlying imbalances in the body. With its ability to improve cognitive function, enhance mental clarity, and promote overall well-being, acupuncture has become a popular choice for those seeking relief from brain fog and other symptoms caused by stress and Long COVID. By combining acupuncture with other natural remedies and making lifestyle modifications, individuals can take control of their brain health and regain their clarity and focus.

References:

Furman, S., Green, K., & Lane, T. E. (2023). COVID-19 and the impact on Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Journal of Neurochemistry, 00, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.15985

Yin Z, Zhou J, Xia M, Chen Z, Li Y, Zhang X, et al. Acupuncture on mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review of neuroimaging studies. Front Aging Neurosci. (2023) 15:1007436. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2023.1007436

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