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Best Way to Improve Your Memory and Recall – Just Clench your Fists

Updated on November 15, 2016
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Dr. John uses skills in Biochemistry, Physiology (PhD) to review topics on mental health, depression, sleep, stress, setting positive goals

This is a strange one but a published study has shown that clenching your fist temporarily causes changes in the way the brain functions in an unexpected way.

Clenching the right hand for 90 seconds helps people memorize things.

The reason why this occurs is the subject of follow-up studies looking at changes in the circulation of blood and this action may improve the focus people have on memorizing and recall, perhaps removing other distractions.

The researchers have also speculated that clenching a fist may activate specific areas of the brain that are associated with how memories are processing.

Previous research showed that clenching the right hand activates the left hemisphere of the brain, while clenching the left hand activates the right hemisphere of the brain.

Perhaps boxers should be memory and recall champions of the world?

This is a major advance on the furrowed brow! Learn more about this here.

The power of the clenched fist
The power of the clenched fist | Source
Just thinking out loud!
Just thinking out loud! | Source
Clenched fists helps me remember things
Clenched fists helps me remember things | Source
Early clenched fist used to improve memory and recall
Early clenched fist used to improve memory and recall | Source

Researchers divided a group of 50 adult volunteers into five groups and tested their ability to memorize and recall a list of words under different conditions: performed better at

Group 1 was told to clench their right fist for about 90 seconds before memorising the list. They also were asked to do the same before doing the test to recall words they had memorized.

Group 2 was told to do the same as for Group 1, but clenching the left fist.

Groups 3 and 4 alternated between which hand was clenched before memorizing and recalling the words. One group used the left hand before memorizing the words and swapped to the right hand for recalling. The other group started with the right hand.

Group 5 did not clench their fists at all.

There was significant improvement in memorizing ability when the right hand was clenched, and memory recall when the left hand was clenched.

The group that memorized with left hand clenched and recalled with right hand clenched show better results that when no hand was clenched. However the results were not significant.

Based on previous research, the most likely explanation is that simple body movements can improve memory by changing the way the brain functions for short periods of time.

The same researcher have shown that electrically stimulating certain parts of the brain improves memory. This only worked during the actual time subjects were trying to memorize and recall things.

The research has potential for improving the plight of the six million Americans and 30 million people throughout the world are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease each year and suffer severe memory loss.

The research team has future research planned that will test whether clenching of the hands can possibly improve other mental processes, such as verbal the memory of pictures and places, as well as words.

The team is also planning to use brain scans to examine whether fist clenching affects the blood flow to the left or right hemispheres of the brain.

Brain activity measurements have previously shown that clenching the left fist increases brain activity in the right hemisphere of the brain and vice versa.

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson


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  • justateacher profile image

    LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

    Hmmm....I wonder if this will help my students remember information long enough for it to go to long term memory...I have a little one with severe short term memory loss....