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Don’t Forget To Remember

I read in a magazine that acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy are very good for memory loss, what do you think?

Many older people worry about becoming more forgetful. They think forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer’s

disease. In the past, memory loss and confusion were considered a normal part of aging. However, scientists now know that most people remain both alert and able as they age, although it may take them longer to remember things.

A lot of people experience memory lapses. Some memory problems are serious, and others are not. People who have serious changes in their memory, personality, and behaviour may suffer from a form of brain disease called dementia.

Dementia seriously affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease is one of many types of dementia. The term dementia describes a group of symptoms that are caused by changes in brain function. Dementia symptoms may include asking the same questions repeatedly; becoming lost in familiar places; being unable to follow directions; getting disoriented about time, people, and places; and neglecting personal safety, hygiene, and nutrition. People with dementia lose their abilities at different rates. Dementia is caused by many conditions. Some conditions that cause dementia can be reversed, and others cannot. Further, many different medical conditions may cause symptoms that seems like Alzheimer’s disease, but is not. Some of these medical conditions may be treatable. Reversible conditions can be caused by a high fever, dehydration, vitamin deficiency and poor nutrition, bad reactions to medicines, problems with the thyroid gland, or a minor head injury.

In my own practice and in Chinese medical diagnosis I see poor memory as a symptom of an underlying pattern of disharmony in Chinese medicine known as Kidney Yin Deficiency. This pattern is very commonly seen in practice every day. Kidney Yin Deficiency pattern does not mean that the person diagnosed with this pattern has something wrong with his kidney function. When we talk about this according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we are referring to the kidney energy (qi or chi), this type of energy related to the kidney is a very subtle and intrinsic kind of energy and enables the TCM practitioner to observe subtle changes in the kidney qi/chi (energy) and helps the practitioner by treating these various symptoms and signs early to maybe avert more serious problems with the kidney further down the line in a persons life. The main symptoms of this pattern are dry mouth and throat, especially at night, scanty urination, night sweats thirst, dizziness malar flush, sensation of heat in palms and soles, chest heat flushes in the afternoon or evening, ringing in the ears, chronic low back soreness or weakness, desire to lie down and sleep, hair falls out easily, toothache, declining muscle mass, thin body, hot palms and soles, premature ejaculation and nocturnal emissions, constipation and the one we are interested in forgetfulness. A person does not necessarily have to have all the above symptoms to constitute a pattern diagnosis of Kidney Yin Deficiency. Once this pattern is diagnosed the practitioner, according to the individuals differentiating symptoms chooses the herbs and prescription of acupuncture points most suited to this person’s recovery.