Insomnia Treatment with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Insomnia can present itself in many ways. For some the inability to fall asleep is the most noticeable symptom while others experience disrupted sleep patterns including waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep. Daytime effects include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, feeling depressed, irritability or lethargic thinking.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognises that insomnia stems from a fundamental imbalance of energy, or yin and yang qi.

Some factors that can cause this imbalance include:

  • Dietary habits such as overeating, digestive imbalances, heavy meals and consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages

  • Emotions such as anger, anxiety, stress, grief and uncertainty.

  • Exhaustion from activities such as excessive exercise, too little movement, or over or under stimulation of the brain

  • Prolonged Illness

Chinese medicine can be a successful insomnia remedy that focuses on a persons individual symptoms and builds a whole-healing plan that brings the body back into balance. This holistic treatment can facilitate long term healing as it is treating the root cause of the condition.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment can help by:

  • Increasing nocturnal endogenous melatonin secretion (Spence et al 2004).

  • Stimulating opioid (especially b-endorphin) production and µ-opioid receptor activity (Cheng et al 2009).

  • Increasing nitric oxide synthase activity and nitric oxide content, helping to promote normal function of brain tissues, which could help to regulate sleep (Gao et al 2007).

  • Increasing cerebral blood flow (Yan 2010)

  • Reducing sympathetic nervous system activity, hence increasing relaxation (Lee 2009a)

  • Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA and neuropeptide Y; hence altering the brains's mood chemistry to help to increase relaxation and reduce tension (Lee 2009b; Samuels 2008; Zhou 2008). (2)

Acupuncture has a calming affect on the nervous system as it clears obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels, facilitates the flow and balance of energy (qi) and relaxes numerous systems in the body. During treatment, tiny needles are placed on specific acuuncture points. These will stimulate the release of blocked energy (qi) in the body which helps to reduce inflammation, improve circulation and ensure vital nutrients reach cells in your body. The free flow of energy in your body facilitates the bodys natural self healing abilities and creates balance and harmony. This in turn can help to effect the underlying causes of your insomnia. Most patients