27 Mar Insomnia, is acupuncture the answer?
Michelle always felt tired and sleepy in the day time, because she could not sleep at night. It usually took her more than 1 hour to fall asleep, and sometimes even the whole night until 5-6am, even though she was really sleepy.
Daniel a 12 years old, used to lie down on his desk at the school, due to his dreamlessness at night.
Ben also has a sleeping problem. He always wakes up very early around 3-4am. After waking up, he would not be able to go back to sleep, no matter how sleepy he was.
Insomnia is one of the most common health problems in the world. From research, there are one out of three people who will suffer from some form of sleep disturbance during their lifetime. For some this will continue for many years, and they will try many ways to deal with it, including having sleeping medication or drugs, but, it will stop working when they stop taking it.
Clinically, insomnia may occur individually or be accompanied by the manifestations of headaches, dizziness, palpitations, amnesia, etc. Insomnia is a disease, and long-term lack of treatment or mitigation will inevitably lead to a series of adverse consequences, such as reduction in the quality of work and life, reduction in the body’s immune system, endocrine disorders, easily leading to and aggravating infectious diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and so on.
In Chinese Medicine, insomnia can be divided into three different types according to the pattern of the sleep problem.
The first type of insomnia is that people try hard to fall asleep. If it takes over thirty minutes to fall asleep, it is defined as insomnia, but in some cases it can take hours and in several cases people just will not fall asleep until the sun comes up. This pattern in Chinese medicine is associated with a deficiency of the heart yin energy. The yin energy is the energy that calms, cools and moistens. Its function is especially important at night time. When the yin energy is deficient, our mind cannot calm down, and we would feel irritable and hot during the night and cannot have good quality sleep. This condition is associated with long term stress or overworking. Commonly associated symptoms are: night heat or night sweats, palpitations, dizziness, tinnitus, poor memory and concentration, constipation, dry mouth at nights and red tongue. The treatment for this type of insomnia is with Acupuncture points that nourish the yin energy reducing heat and calming the spirit. In addition to sleeping better the patient should also feel an all-around improvement in his physical and emotional health. Acupuncture for Shenmai(BL62), Zhaohai(KI6), Taixi(KI3), Dalin (PC7), Shenmen(HT7), Taichong(LR3) can help for that.
The second type of insomnia is when sleep is easy but the quality of sleep that follows is poor. The person feels that the sleep is very light and often wakes up. Sometimes it feels as if no sleep has been had at all. This type of insomnia is usually due to over work and over thinking which weaken the energies of the heart and the spleen; the digestive system. The heart in Chinese Medicine is in charge of sleep and mental activities and needs sufficient nourishment to function properly. Other symptoms often associated with this pattern are palpitations, fatigue, poor appetite and digestive problems. The treatment is by using acupuncture to nourish the heart and strengthen the digestive systems and improvement in sleep should soon follow. For acupuncture, we usually use: Xinshu(BL15), Pishu(BL20), Baihui((DU20), Shenmen(HT7), Sanyinjiao(SP6), Neiguan(PCC6). If dreaminess, can also use Pohu(BL42), Yinbai(SP1), lidui(ST45), Daling(PC7).
The third type of insomnia is when the problem is waking up early in the morning. The person will wake up some time between 3 and 6 in the morning and will not be able to go back to sleep. In Chinese medicine this problem is related to the liver and it is usually caused by emotional problems, stress or worry. Like worrying about what will need to be done during the daytime. Other symptoms often associated with this type of insomnia are: irritability, tearfulness and sometimes light headedness. The treatment is with Acupuncture points that treat the liver and calm the mind. You can expect an improvement in your mood and general feeling, in addition to sleeping better. For the acupoint, we can use: Xinjian(LR2), Zuqiaoyin(GB44), Fengchi(GB20), Shenmen(HT7), Sishencong(EX-HN1) etc.
Those suffering from insomnia understand how important a good night’s sleep is in order to feel great and be productive the next day. Acupuncture for insomnia is one treatment that can help to alleviate insomnia without the need to take potentially harmful prescription sleeping aids. It focuses on treating the whole body and not just the symptoms, the root cause of the insomnia will be addressed, be it stress, pain, dietary irregularities, etc. By resolving the underlying imbalance, the insomnia will effectively be treated, and the individual will enjoy a better overall quality of life.
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