Six Acupuncture Points For Better Memory

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Many people suffer with memory loss, and acupuncture happens to have many protocols to help increase your memory as well as your ability to focus and think more clearly. Of course, one of the reasons that acupuncture is so effective is that the thorough intake and diagnostic process means that each person is having the treatment tailored to their specific and unique imbalances. But, there are certain organ systems and meridians that tend to govern our ability to remember and our cognitive function. The spleen affects for short term memory, concentration and our ability to think analytically. The kidney is responsible for short term memory and how we retain information. And the heart influences our long term memory and how quickly and efficiently we are able to access information stored in our brains (and elsewhere). In Chinese medicine theory the Shen or spirit is what governs our consciousness, emotions and thinking. Disturbances in the Shen (which are very common) will manifest with symptoms like insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, an inability to focus, unclear thinking, poor memory and forgetfulness.

Below are six acupuncture points for better memory. If you are not able to get to an acupuncturist, not to worry, you may use acupressure (putting pressure on the points instead of using needles) to stimulate them. A good way to do them is in order from the bottom of the body moving upwards (this is how they are ordered here) and press on each on both sides of the body (bilaterally) for about 30 seconds each. The Du 20 and Si Shen Cong points are not bilateral. You may do this set a couple of times a day to help improve your memory and be able to think more clearly, and I think we can all use a little more of that!

Acupuncture Kit : Chinese Medicine LivingSilver Bodhisattva Earrings : Chinese Medicine LivingNatural Laundry Soap : Chinese Medicine Living

Ok, let’s begin. First point is..

Kidney 1

The kidney meridian begins on the bottom of the foot at kidney 1 and runs all the way up and terminates under the clavicle at kidney 27. You would normally not needle this point as it is just too sensitive. Applying pressure or using other things like moxa are the ways in which we normally stimulate this point. Stimulating kidney 1 floods the body with kidney energy that has many beneficial effects including improving memory, strengthening bones and improving hearing.

Kidney 1 Acupuncture Point : Chinese Medicine Living

Heart 7

Heart 7 is a very powerful acupuncture point located on the wrist just inside the tendon of flexor carpi ulnaris. The heart meridian begins in the axilla (the armpit) and runs down the inside of the arm to terminate at the corner of the nail bed of the pinky finger. Stimulating this point helps with sleep problems like insomnia and with mental issues like anxiety and depression.

Heart 7 Acupuncture Point : Chinese Medicine Living

Lung 7

Lung 7 is also a powerful point and is located on the side of the wrist 1.5 cun from the wrist crease. A cun is the width of your thumb, and is considered your body “inch” and is the measurement we use to find all the important anatomical locations on the body. The lung meridian begins up under the clavicle and travels down the inside of the arm to terminate at the nail bed of the thumb. Stimulating this point is good for relieving headaches, tooth aches, sore throat, asthma and for helping to release sadness and grief.

Lung 7 Acupuncture Point : Chinese Medicine Living

Pericardium 6

Pericardium 6 is located on the inner forearm. The pericardium, in Chinese medicine, is considered the protector of the heart, so all points on the pericardium also affect the heart. It is located between the tendons of palmaris longus and flexor carpi ulnaris two of your thumb widths from the wrist crease. Be sure that you apply pressure in between the tendons – some people’s tendons are closer together than others. The pericardium meridian begins one inch lateral to the nipple and travels down the center of the inside of the arm terminating at the tip of the middle finger. Pericardium 6 has a very strong action on nausea and vomiting and also treats conditions of the heart (where the Shen is seen to reside) like regulating the heart qi and calming the Shen.

Pericardium 6 : Chinese Medicine Living

Si Shen Cong

Si Shen Cong are a group of four acupuncture points located on top of the head. They belong to a group of points, called “Extraordinary Points”. For reference, Du 20 (below) is located at the centre of this group of four points. Each is located one “Cun” – or the width of your thumb away, forward, left, back and right to Du 20. Si Shen Cong has a strong stimulating effect on all aspects of the Shen . They are also used for headache, vertigo, insomnia, epilepsy and of course, poor memory. They also help to clear the mind and calm the Shen. You may find also, that these points, as well as Du 20, are a little sore when you apply pressure.

Si Shen Cong Acupuncture Points : Chinese Medicine Living

Du 20

Du 20 is also a powerful point for the brain, and has a calming effect on the Shen. It has a very strong raising function which makes it good for prolapse of organs (bladder, uterus, vagina) and hemorrhoids. It can both increase Yang (fire energy) in the body or subdue it. It is located at the vertex of the head. The easiest way to find it is to gently fold over the ears back to front and from the top where they come to a point when you have folded them, connect that line to the top of the head and that is where you will find Du 20. The Du meridian starts below the tip of the coccyx, at the midpoint between the tip of the coccyx and the anus and runs up the midline of the body and terminates on the inside of the upper lip where the frenulum joins the upper lip and gum.

Du 20 Acupuncture Point : Chinese Medicine Living

Our formidable memories are one of the things that make us unique amongst other animal species. Stimulating these points, eating a diet high in nutrients and minerals, getting plenty of rest and supplements like Ginko Biloba which increases blood flow to the brain are god ways to keep your brain healthy. Keeping the brain active and engaged is perhaps the most important way to keep a healthy mind. Reading, doing crosswords and other puzzles and social interaction are a good way to keep your mind sharp and your memory strong for years to come.


 These lovely images came from The Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman


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