Memory is an intricate and complex function of the brain. It requires millions of neurons to operate in perfect harmony. As we age, we experience memory glitches in which spontaneous memory loss occurs, such as when you can’t recall something that is at the tip of your tongue—a senior moment, yikes!
Aging causes neuron loss, which can affect your memory of recent events. You might forget where you left your keys or the name of a person you just met. More serious, non-aging related memory loss might manifest as forgetting how to do things that you’ve done many times before or being unable to learn new things.
Progressive memory loss is a serious condition. Causes of memory loss include depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative brain disorders, side effects from certain drugs, stroke, trauma, and alcoholism.
In Chinese medicine, memory depends heavily on the kidney-adrenal network and the spleen-pancreas-stomach network. The kidney network stores your life essence and the spleen network supplies energy for daily living through healthy digestive processes, producing vital nutrients and distributing energy to the brain and other organs. As we age, our kidney essence is depleted. Combine aging with a weakened digestive system, and the brain receives less and less of its essential nutrients.
Tips to increase your memory…
Green Tea to the Rescue
Green Tea prevents the formation of an enzyme found in people with Alzheimer’s and it is also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that help prevent premature brain aging.
Get your Aminos
Eat a regular and balanced diet rich in essential amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to help ensure a vibrant and sharp memory. Make sure to eat some form of protein, such as nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, or animal products, with each meal.
Herbal Brain Boost
Gingko bilba, a Chinese herb that has been used for over two thousand years can help strengthen learning, thinking, retention, and recall. Combine Gingko Leaf with Ginseng Root, Goji berry, and other potent brain tonics result in Super Clarity, our centuries-old family formula that we can’t seem to keep in stock during midterm and final exams at the university. Go to www.taostar.com for more information.
Exercises to Keep Your Brain Sharp
I also recommend Dao-In, a Chinese Yoga practice to help you lead a long and healthy life. One of my favorite Dao-In moves, Immortal Beating the Heavenly Drum, stimulates the brain and improves circulation to the head. Practice this exercise once in the morning and once in the evening, but not immediately before bed, for optimum results.
Sit comfortably at the tip of a sturdy chair with your spine erect, arms on top of your legs, and head tilted slightly forward. Begin breathing slowly and rhythmically, inhaling deeply and gently and exhaling slowly. Cover both ears with your palms, with the fingers of each hand pointing towards each other at back of your head.
Inhaling, place your index fingers on top of your middle fingers and then snap them off, striking the back of your head on the depressions located behind the ears at the base of the skull (where the Wind Pond acupoints are located). Repeat continuously, with about one strike per second.
Exhaling, continue striking the Wind Pond points with your index fingers while bending forward at the waist. Tilt your head down. Continue breathing and striking for 20 to 30 seconds, until you’ve struck the points 36 times. Conclude the sequence by rising back to the sitting position with your last exhalation.
The best way to keep your memory sharp is to exercise it. Incorporate mind-stimulating games into your daily life. Listen intently and memorize names, shopping lists, and daily activities—this keeps your mind working and stimulated. Puzzles and memory games are also helpful. Regular cardiovascular exercise is a natural way of improving circulation to the brain and can help improve memory by 20 or 30 percent.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, popularly known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected]