Acupuncture improves memory and
test-taking; and reduces anxiety.
Dr. Jason Bussell PhD, has developed a technique
that has been shown to improve memory and test taking, and to reduce
anxiety. Following is a brief description of the clinical trial that
confirmed these effects.
90 undergraduate students were
recruited from local universities for this study. Inclusion criteria
was that all subjects had to be: Age 18-30, in good health, not be
taking any psychoactive medication, and not have had acupuncture in the
past 3 months.
All subjects completed informed consent forms and then took the
State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), which is a widely-used instrument to
measure State and Trait anxiety. Then all subjects laid on a
massage for 20 minutes. Half the subjects were randomized to receive
acupuncture, the other half laid without needles. After
20 minutes, all subjects took the State-portion of the STAI again (to see
if they were any more relaxed than they were before); then they all took
the Automated Operation Span Task (AOSPAN), which is a computerized test
of working memory.
The AOSPAN consists of performing math problems in one's head and then
remembering letters that were shown. Subjects perform a two-step
math problem (such as 2 x 5 - 4), then after answering it they are shown a
letter for one second. Then they do another math problem and another
letter, and so on. After between three to seven of these math-letter
pairs, subjects are then asked to recall the letters that they were shown
in the correct order. This test could be thought of as measuring how
well one can keep information in the back of their mind while performing
tasks with the front of their mind; and vice-versa. The AOSPAN and
tests like it have been shown to predict ability in several areas
including: Math, Reading, Language, Computing, Reasoning, Playing cards,
Subjects who were in the acupuncture group scored 9.5% higher on the
letter recall (p=0.0134) and committed 36% fewer math errors (p= 0.0153).
State anxiety was statistically the same between both groups before the
intervention, but after intervention, the acupuncture group had
significanly less anxiety than the control group (p=0.0146).
This protocol can be helpful for people who suffer from test anxiety and
those who do not. Students may wish to receive this treatment
before taking the SAT, MCAT, GRE, final exams, or anytime they need to be
more mentally sharp. Adults with ADD can also benefit from this
treatment. It is safe and effective.
This study was recently published in the Journal of Acupuncture and
Meridian Studies, one of the very few acupuncture journals that is
recognized by the National Institute of Health. View the full