Stress is one of the most common detriments to a healthy mind. When under the duress of stress, we often experience confusion, poor memory, lack of focus, and clouded thinking.

According to Chinese medicinal lore, Shen, our mind, embodies our consciousness, emotions, and thoughts. This influence extends to the ability to think clearly and presides over other activities that involve mental and creative functions.

Healthy Shen demarcates a healthy mind and mental focus, and vice-versa.

Where’s the Evidence?

Acupuncture can significantly improve the state of Shen and through that our ability to learn and overall memory capacity. A study published in the October 2008 issue of Neuroscience Letters reported that significant improvements were seen when acupuncture was applied to areas of the brain that had previously been impaired by hyperglycemia and cerebral ischemia. This study was restricted to mice, but the restorative properties observed in memory and learning capacity have prompted researchers to believe that these positive results can similarly be observed in humans.

Where Does That Leave Us?

How many of us have felt stress and lack of focus in our own lives?

Acupuncture targets and improves focus and attention by reducing fidgeting, lowering hyperactivity, augmenting mood management techniques and enhancing concentration.

Which is why, last week, I let my acupuncturist know that my upcoming finals had me feeling overtaxed and pressured.

During my session, she placed a needle in the middle of my forehead, in a specific point known as “yin tang,” and in a concentrated area at the top of my head known as “si shen cong.”

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At the time, it was the strangest sensation. My face felt as if it was being pulled in multiple directions in a way that was unfamiliar yet calming. Later, I went home and started writing only to discover that my ability to focus had been increased by tenfold.

In acupuncture, these channels, or meridians, make up a complex network of energy that can be specifically triggered to target problem areas and sensations.

Activated in unison, these two points treated my frontal headache, calmed my anxiety and tension and resulted in the best concentration I have had in years.

Getting Started With Acupuncture

When it comes to a first-time acupuncture session, you have nothing to lose, Hayley says. With a licensed acupuncturist, the risks are almost nonexistent and are far outweighed by the possible benefits. Most of Hayley’s patients have told her they sleep better and have a stronger sense of overall well-being after just a couple sessions.

If you’re already receiving treatment for anxiety, Hayley suggests adding acupuncture to your current regimen. It’s even possible to work with your primary care physician to wean off anxiety medication in conjunction with regular acupuncture care. Even if your insurance provider does not cover acupuncture, the out-of-pocket costs are very affordable. Speak with your practitioner — ask questions and openly discuss a potential treatment plan that is right for you.


Also published on Medium.