Benefits of Acupuncture for Insomnia
American Sleep Association agrees that 45 to 65 million adults in the US have some type of sleep disorder. Short-term insomnia hits 35% of American adults, while 15% have chronic insomnia. More and more people are turning to acupuncture as an alternative way to solve sleeping issues. This article will discuss how beneficial TCM and acupuncture can be for insomnia.
Sleep is a vital part of functioning and good mental health. Unfortunately, some people lack sleep which further causes other health issues. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia which can affect people all ages and genders, but mostly elderly and those who work a lot. Those who suffer from insomnia experience daytime sleepiness, weakness, dullness, difficulty concentrating, etc. There are two types of insomnia, one is acute – caused by the emotional situation, anxiety, or stress, and chronic – caused by a number of issues like mental health or drug and alcohol abuse.
TCM and acupuncture has been one of the most efficient therapies for sleep since ancient China. Acupuncture increases the level of melatonin and serotonin, hormones responsible for functioning and normal sleeping. TCM practitioners attitude toward insomnia is that it is caused by external factors affecting emotions and mental health, lack of proper body nutrition, deficient blood circulation, or the imbalance between organs like the liver, spleen, gallbladder, kidneys, and heart. Many practitioners of acupuncture believe that conditions can be cured by restoring the overall balance in person’s body. Acupuncture uses points and inserts needles to solve other symptoms related to insomnia and find the root of the issue.
Makari Wellness – Acupuncture for Insomnia in San Diego
Michael Woodsworth, the founder of Makari Wellness, has been practicing TCM for more than fifteen years and owns many certificates for education and helping people treat various conditions. His natural insomnia treatments involve herbs, acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, and many more. But acupuncture is one of his specialties, and it was proven to be very productive in treating insomnia and its symptoms. Michael goes through health history, does a full assessment, and help people decide which is the best treatment. Besides TCM treatment, Makari Wellness will assist you in changing your lifestyle and recommended nutrition, which will promote your well-being. If you are looking for alternative and natural way to help your sleep, book your consultations today in San Diego or Oceanside clinics. Contact us at (888) 871-8889.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an old method of treatment that originated in China and this makes it a part of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It arrived and spread across Europe and America by the 19th century. From the moment it reached other continents, the interest became huge and many researchers began to study this method. Modern neuroscience sees it as a way to let chemicals flow with muscle stimulation. Ancient practitioners were more focused on energy and how its disorder causes various conditions within our body.
Chinese philosophy of acupuncture is that the most important relationship is that of man and nature, along with the most powerful opposing forces, yin and yang. The energy that flows through our body’s meridians is called “QI,” whose continuous flow keeps yin and yang in order. If the energy somehow blocks the pathways, illnesses and conditions strike. Acupuncture will improve your body’s overall function and promote the self-healing process.
Since it began, acupuncture has developed into many other types and forms as practitioners started researching the treatment and conditions. Not all practitioners offer all acupuncture forms, but we will list some of them below.
- Auricular acupuncture – this form concerns mostly stimulation point on, in, and around ears.
- Body acupuncture – traditional acupuncture with inserting tiny needles.
- Acupressure – In comparison to acupuncture, acupressure uses massage and fingers in stimulating acupoints.
- Cupping – Putting small glasses or rubber cups on the specific body area.
- Electroacupuncture – Clips are placed on the needles to create electric current.
- Moxibustion – Herbs are placed on needle tops and then lit.
Acupuncture practice may heal various conditions and issues, such as the following:
Acupuncture for Insomnia
Non-drug alternatives are becoming popular in treating insomnia and its symptoms since medicines often come with many side effects. Acupuncture and other types of TCM provide patients the most natural way in treating sleep disorder and its effect has long lasting results.
Acupuncture has many benefits in treating insomnia
Acupuncture practitioners have the goal to find the hidden cause of insomnia and treat the condition for the root. By stimulating certain acupoints, certain areas of the brain which lessen the sensitivity to pain and stress are being impacted. This method will promote relaxation and shut off the analytical part of the brain which is mainly responsible for causing stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Some of the benefits includes the following:
- Reduces stress level and anxiety
- Enhances concentration and memory
- Improves digestion system
- Helps with headaches
- Boosts energy and lessens drowsiness or fatigue
- Regulates the nervous system and therefore promotes better sleep
Many studies and reviews have shown that acupuncture improves sleep because the stimulated points influence neurotransmitters, chemical messengers in the brain. Some believe that sleep and pain-inducing effects happen because of peptides that stimulate the opioid receptors in the brain. Also, neurohormonal pathways release beta-endorphin, a hormone that makes us smile and lessens inflammation. Specific neurotransmitters that are involved in our sleep cycle and control the clock of our body, are in a way affected by acupuncture. These neurotransmitters are:
- Melatonin – the most important sleep hormone that prepares the body for bed.
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – helps fall and stay asleep.
- Norepinephrine – helps you wake up in the morning and stay alert.
5 Acupuncture Points for Insomnia
Acupoints are stimulated to regain body’s balance, promote sleep, and hopefully help a person get rid of insomnia. The practitioner will use needles and place them into these points since the root usually lies within the imbalance of energy in certain organ.
- Stomach 36, known as Zu San Li, stimulates longevity, vitality, and rejuvenation. It also brings the qi balance back by regulating the blood flow which can sometimes affect sleep.
- Milan translated as “sleep peacefully”. These are some extra points that don’t include any meridian, used to help having restful sleep.
- Heart 7, also known as “Spirit Gate”, is especially specific to insomnia disorder. Its stimulation addresses dementia, sleep apnea, irritability, and heart palpitations.
- Pericardium 6, also known as Nei Guan, is mostly used with people who suffer from motion sickness. But, this point calms the spirit, decreases heart palpitation, and eventually helps you fall asleep.
- Yin Tang, the most common point used in treating insomnia. It is known as the third eye so it is located in the middle of the eyebrows.
3 Acupressure Point for Insomnia
There is a small difference between acupressure and acupuncture which is that the former uses hands and fingers to stimulate the acupoints, and the latter uses needles. Acupressure can be done both by a professional, some friend or family member, or simply by yourself. Here are some pressure points which you can try before bed:
- Baihui – Hundred Meetings – This point is located at the highest point of the head, in line with the ear tips.
- Shenmen – Spirit Gate – There are two Shenmen points – one is in the wrist and one in the ear.
- Yongquan – Gushing Spring – It is located at the bottom of the foot, near the center of the sole. You can curl your fingers and you’ll find the point in the small depression.
Insomnia – Why Can’t I Sleep?
Insomnia is a disorder which prevents people from falling and staying asleep. They have difficulties going back to sleep after waking up and usually wake up in the early morning. People can also feel worried, have racing thoughts and analytical brain, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
There are three main categories of insomnia:
- Chronic – Insomnia lasts for more than three months.
- Episodic – This type happens occasionally.
- Short-term – Lasts less than three months.
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia, or sleep disorder can be caused by many factors, some of which are:
- Medications – side effects of some drug a person takes for treating other conditions.
- Sleep apnea – This is a sleeping disorder breathing when a person stops breathing multiple times during the night.
- Circadian rhythm disorder – This is sleep-wake cycle disorder which is a problem that happens when your internal clock loses track of time to sleep and time to wake up.
- Pain – Some people have trouble falling asleep because of some ache or some chronic pain caused by recent injury or some more serious disease.
- Poor sleep hygiene – dining right before bed, consuming drugs, or alcohol, watching much tv at night, etc., are all very poor sleeping habits.
- Sleeping on a poor-quality mattress – The right mattress is very important for sleeping well. Another reason here includes the fact that you changed your place of living or went to some business trip or vacation.
- Anxiety and depression – People who suffer from some mental conditions are more likely to have sleep disorders since thoughts and worries keep them up all night.
What are the Side Effects of Suffering from Insomnia?
No matter the cause of poor sleep, it can cause many negative side effects which usually affect person’s quality of life and overall health. Some of the consequences of sleeping disorder are:
- Constant muscle tension, mostly in the back and shoulders as well as tightness
- Increased anxiety and nervousness
- Even when you get full night of sleep occasionally, you still feel tired
- Tiredness and drowsiness
- Memory loss and poor concertation
- Digestive issues
- Headaches and migraines