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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, and more.   

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 article here





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The address for A Center for Oriental Medicine is 415 1/2 Fourth Street, Wilmette, Illinois 60091. The Phone number is 847-251-5225 and the fax number is 847-251-5456.