It’s common for individuals to begin to experience subtle cognitive and psychological changes as they age. While many of these symptoms tend to be mild, they can still interfere with our daily routines and make some simple tasks more difficult. When such symptoms become more severe, a person may be diagnosed with dementia. Although there is no cure for this condition, certain medications and therapies can be used to manage symptoms. In recent years, acupuncture has shown promise in its ability to minimize symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Additionally, a series of acupuncture treatment sessions may improve gait and balance in dementia patients. Acupuncture may also help manage some of the issues that contribute to cognitive impairment, such as depression and poor sleep.
MCI Symptoms and Treatments
While it’s expected that most people will experience some degree of cognitive decline as we age, some individuals show signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). While MCI is not as severe as dementia, individuals who show signs of MCI may be more likely to develop dementia later on. Symptoms of MCI include forgetfulness, feeling overwhelmed when faced with decisions, acting impulsively, frequently losing your train of thought, and other small changes that your loved ones may notice. There is no cure for MCI, but there are several actions you can take to mitigate the severity of the symptoms, such as avoiding alcohol, practicing good sleep hygiene, and engaging socially with others.
Acupuncture for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
In addition to adopting and practicing healthy habits, acupuncture may also help to reduce the severity of MCI symptoms. A 2016 meta-analysis of the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for those experiencing symptoms of vascular cognitive impairment with no dementia (VCIND) indicated that “acupuncture therapy was more effective in treating VCIND when compared with conventional therapy of pharmacological treatment.” Although more comprehensive studies are needed to strengthen these findings, people experiencing MCI symptoms may find relief from acupuncture treatment sessions. Moxibustion therapy, frequently used in Five Element acupuncture treatments, has been shown in laboratory studies to help prevent cognitive impairment in rats.
Improving Gait and Balance in Dementia Patients
For individuals who have developed dementia, acupuncture may increase mobility. Vascular dementia can lead to gait disorders, such as circular rotations of the hip, dragging feet, limited movement in the knee, stooped posture, reduced arm mobility, shuffling, unsteadiness, and other mobility issues. Some research has shown that certain acupuncture protocols may be more effective than medication. The majority of participants in the study experienced positive impacts following 30 days of daily acupuncture treatments.
Interested in learning more about how a personalized acupuncture therapy plan could bring you relief? Call Inner Works Acupuncture today at (503) 227-2127 to make an appointment with an experienced Portland healer.