The Relationship Between TCM, Memory and Indigenous Culture

TCM students are faced with the enormous challenge of learning and memorising anatomy, acupuncture points, herbs, herbal formulas, disease signs and symptoms. The relationships between the knowledge areas are multi-connected and interconnected to a higher degree than other areas of knowledge. I have experienced this pain as a TCM student and I am on a mission to make this learning process easier for current and future students.

Good memory plays such a significant role in learning and applying TCM. I see the best and most diligent TCM students pull their hair out and lose sleep over not being able to memorise what they need. As I research on memory techniques, I came across Memory Craft by Lynne Kelly. As an expert in memory craft, Lynne explains how indigenous cultures have been able to remember and pass on vast amounts of knowledge through the generations using song, dance, stories integrated with the land and nature. Our brains are wired in a way that it remembers better when information is stored as e.g. stories.

As I try to see how I can apply memory craft to learning TCM knowledge, I came to the realisation that Lynne is right. I will use this example to explain.

Scenario 1: Rote memorising acupuncture points and herbal formulas for clinical practice does not work for most students. I spent many hours trying to memorise only to result in poor recall when I needed it. Pretty much a mental blank.

Scenario 2: Performing a real clinical consultation becomes its own little story. The clinical consultation became my own story and the result is I remember the most of the details:

  1. The patients name: <not mentioned for privacy>
  2. What she looked like: e.g. middle aged, wearing a light dress, walking slowly into the clinic
  3. What symptoms she was experiencing: fatigue, brain fog, lumps on her arm etc.
  4. What acupuncture points where applied in treatment: e.g. KD3 – tai xi, SP9 – yin ling quan, SP6 – san yin qiao, ST40 – feng long, ST36 – zu san li
  5. What herbal formular was prescribed: e.g. Wen Den Tang, Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang
  6. I remember what each of the acupuncture points do for this patient
  7. I remember what each of the herbal formulas do for this patient

What is extra cool is I remember the patient feeling better afterwards and when she came back the following week, her condition was much improved.

So there you go. There is so much we can learn from each other, nature and indigenous culture.

Video recording to come …

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