Acupuncture for Insomnia
A getting good night’s rest is one of the best pieces of health advice you can follow. But what if sleeping well is a challenge for you? When insomnia persists more than one or two nights and becomes chronic insomnia, most people turn to the use of sleep aids such as Trazadone or Ambien. While these pharmaceuticals can be effective for insomnia, they often develop into dependencies and can cause unwanted side-effects. Fortunately, chronic insomnia can be treated effectively with acupuncture! Acupuncture is a side-effect free, non-dependent, natural cure for insomnia!
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of Oriental Medicine treatment where needles are inserted into meridians on the body. The principle of acupuncture treatment is to adjust the flow of Qi, or energy, in these acupuncture meridians which can control aspects of our body’s functioning. Acupuncture is especially effective for insomnia, as it has a calming effect on our nervous system.
Why Can’t I Sleep Well?
There are many possible causes for your insomnia. The physiology of insomnia according to Oriental Medicine can be complex, but the simplest explanation is that good sleep requires two factors: proper transition of Yang and Yin energy with the change from day to night, and proper functioning of your blood to house your Spirit.
The Yang energy circulates through the Yang areas of your body during the day keeping your mind active. At night, this Yang energy should return to the Yin areas of your body, deeper and lower in your body. If the Yang energy stays in the Yang areas of your brain and eyes, these parts will continue to be energized and prevent you from falling asleep leading to insomnia.
In Chinese Medicine physiology, your Blood is the residence of the Spirit, or Shen. If the Blood cannot support the Shen at night, the Shen wanders upwards in your mind causing insomnia. The Blood is produced by the Spleen and stored by the Liver. If either of these organs is in disharmony, the quality of the Blood will be weak, and unable to house the Shen.
How Can Acupuncture Help Insomnia?
Let’s first look at the possible types of insomnia treated by acupuncture, and understand why they occur. Knowing what type of insomnia you are experiencing can help your Acupuncturist provide the most effective treatment for you.
- I have difficultly falling asleep: The Yang Qi cannot enter the Yin areas of the body leading to insomnia.
- I wake up often during the night: Internal heat is stuck in the body causing insomnia.
- I wake up early and can’t go back to sleep: Poor lifestyle may have damaged your Kidney Yin energy. Heat from Kidney Deficiency is rising up causing insomnia.
- I have excessive dreaming during sleep: The brain doesn’t quiet down and it is difficult to relax due to Liver deficiency Heat or Heart Fire causing insomnia.
- I can’t sleep at all: Not enough Blood due to either Spleen or Liver deficiency causing insomnia.
When you receive an acupuncture treatment, your nervous system begins to calm down. The acupuncture needles are doing deep work by unraveling your subconscious stresses, balancing your Qi, and releasing the causes of your insomnia. You may even fall asleep on the treatment table.
You should sleep the best the first night after an acupuncture treatment; however, several days later symptoms of your insomnia may start to return. This is in indication that you should receive your acupuncture treatment for insomnia more frequently. It usually takes several acupuncture treatments per week, for several weeks to fully resolve chronic insomnia.
Helpful Tips for Good Sleep
As evening comes, the day transitions from Yang to Yin; you too should adjust your behavior to improve your sleep and prevent insomnia. Try these helpful home remedy tips to assist your acupuncture insomnia treatment:
- Quite the Mind: try breathing exercises, meditation, and other forms of relaxation to help your insomnia.
- Diet: avoid spicy food, meats, large meals, alcohol, and caffeine near bedtime as these all create internal heat in your body. Try calming herbal teas. Eating Gou Qi Zi (wolf berries) at night can also help insomnia.
- Exercise: vigorous exercise is best in the morning, not at night. Stick to relaxing stretches in the evening that unravel your stress avoiding insomnia.
- Work: mental work is best completed during the day. Excessive thinking at night can over-stimulate your mind causing insomnia.
- Warm Food Bath: soaking your feet in warm water at night will assist in bringing you Yang Qi down to the Yin areas of your body preventing insomnia.
Cure Your Insomnia!
Insomnia is one of the top reasons people seek acupuncture. Often, patients come to an acupuncturist reporting insomnia because they are disconnected from other emotional issues they are facing. These repressed emotions can often surface as insomnia, anxiety, or mild depression. As the stresses of modern life take their toll, our minds can no longer relax and our sleep becomes disturbed.
If you are experiencing insomnia, don’t face another sleepless night. Find an Acupuncturist near you to help conquer your insomnia!