The Way


How Chinese Medicine Keeps Me Mentally Sharp, Calm & Confident

By John G. McGarvey /

How Chinese Medicine Keeps Me Mentally Sharp, Calm & Confident

I’ve written extensively about how I’ve used Chinese herbs and acupuncture for stress management, particularly given the stress and grind that accompanies the world of entrepreneurialism. But just as importantly, the secondary benefit that I’ve experienced since integrating this beautiful practice into my health routine it better mental clarity and focus, a greater sense of relaxation and an increase in my confidence.

And it’s not a hard practice to embrace. By working closely and regularly with an acupuncturist and understanding my body’s needs (which in the case of Chinese herbal medicine, involves terms such as “Qi” and “stagnation”), we’ve established a regimen that delivers on all the benefits above, along with other more subtle byproducts such as better sleep and improved digestion.

Depending on the frequency of my acupuncture appointments and the cadence with which I drink my herbs (typically daily on the herbs) the positive impact, both physically and psychologically, is rather profound – allowing me as an entrepreneur to manage the stress and stay focused.

acupuncture stress relief

Regular Acupuncture Appointments: 4-5 Days of Mental Bliss

I’ve outlined a typical acupuncture appointment in this article, but in essence, it’s a roughly 45-60 minute appointment where I lay quietly with pins lightly inserted at various points around my body. No, it’s not painful. For me, I typically leave the appointment slightly subdued and perhaps a bit mentally foggy, but unquestionably in an entirely relaxed mental state (thus underscoring that something profound changed physiologically).

"I get things done much faster, and I begin to make decisions with better clarity and confidence - it's rather profound." 

Generally speaking, about an hour after leaving the appointment, the benefits begin to kick-in: there’s a gradual increase in my productivity, with background mental clutter and fogginess giving way to profound mental focus and purpose. I get things done much faster, and I begin to make decisions with better clarity and confidence – it’s rather incredible.

The benefits remain apparent for several days that follow, making acupuncture a great tactic for me ahead of a large presentation or meeting.

My Herbal Routine

I drink Chinese herbs regularly for a variety of needs, but to help reinforce the acupuncture, or for times when I am unable to see my acupuncturist, I focus on herbal combinations that also help with mental alertness and focus.

There is no shortage of herbal combinations within Chinese herbal medicine, but two formulas in particular are quite popular in this capacity and not un-coincidentally, available from DAO Labs:

  • I drink our Mental Tranquility every day, and have written extensively about how effective it is for my overall mental health and alertness. Between this formula and the acupuncture, I sleep like a baby.
  • Emotional Balance is a beautiful combination of eight herbs that is my afternoon go-to when I need a mental reboot.   Moreover, I drink it on the go, particularly when I’m on long flights.

A Tailored Approach for Me

To be sure, Chinese medicine works best when it’s tailored specifically to you, and therein lies the beauty of acupuncture. Our formulas are great and typically work for most people, but spending time with an acupuncturist can be invaluable on many levels and can set-you up with an herbal routine for your individual needs.

We work with acupuncturists across the U.S., Canada and Europe: if you’re look looking for a recommendation or have questions on how to get started, feel free to reach out.

John G. McGarvey is a co-founder of DAO Labs and a regular contributor to The Way. A frequent visitor to China and Asia for both business and pleasure, he is an avid consumer of Chinese medicine. He can be reached at

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