Acupuncture for Dementia
In Ireland, 42,000 people approximately suffer from dementia. Dementia is an aged-related condition whose incidence increases with age.
Dementia is an umbrella term for conditions causing damages to the brain. They can affect different brain functions such as memory, thinking, language, behaviour and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
There are different types of dementia. The most common are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Fronto-temporal dementia
- Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most frequent type of dementia diagnosed.
There are currently no cure available for dementia. The current medication available aims at slowing down the progression of the disease when possible and reducing some of the symptoms.
Can acupuncture help?
Research has shown that acupuncture can help with dementia on many levels and that acupuncture for dementia:
- Helps with memory and learning ability
- Activates areas of the brain related to cognition
- Reduces damages to the neurones
- Improves blood circulation and nourishment in different parts of the brain such as the frontal lobes, the thalamus and temporal lobes
- Promotes relaxation and reduces the sensitivity to pain and stress.
In my experience, at the early stages of dementia, particularly when drugs are not used yet, acupuncture is very effective at slowing down the disease and its associated symptoms. When used at later stages, acupuncture will provide relief for the symptoms and it will help to reduce the patient’s stress and anxiety.
Like conventional medicine, acupuncture cannot treat dementia however acupuncture has the advantage of being natural with no side-effects and safe. Acupuncture can also be used safely alongside medication.
Sources: BAcC factsheet (dementia)