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Acupuncture, Insomnia and the Science Behind it

More and more people are starting to turn away from sleeping pills, and instead seeking more natural remedies such as using acupuncture for insomnia. The truth is that there are actually a number of different natural insomnia treatments, including hypnosis, acupuncture, and meditation, and these treatments have been shown to be at least as effective as the various medication prescribed to treat insomnia, without having any of the negative side effects.



Before we start looking at using acupuncture to treat insomnia, you should first know at least a bit about this treatment in order to understand how it can be effective in treating your sleeping problems. Acupuncture is one of the many treatments that fall under the category of traditional Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that body's energy circulates through 12 different meridians, each linked to a particular organ and emotion. Too much of any single emotion can cause disturbances in that meridian, thus interfering with the body's emotional energy. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe that insomnia is related to the liver meridian, which is also the meridian linked to stress and anger.

It is well known by doctors that stress is one of the main contributing factors to insomnia, so it would only make sense that Chinese medicine links insomnia to the liver meridian, and thus stress. Another reason this seems to make sense is that traditional Chinese medicine states that the time when the energy is highest in the liver meridian also happens to be in the middle of the night. So, too much stress is causing a disturbance in the liver meridian and thus causing sleeping problems during the night.

acupuncture insomniaNonetheless, not all insomnia is related to the liver meridian, as Chinese medicine also shows it could be related to the heart, lungs, or spleen

The best way to find out which meridian you're insomnia is related to is to visit an acupuncturist for a diagnosis. Still, the chart below should help you to form a general idea.

  • Liver Meridian
Emotion: Stress
Results in waking up between 1:00 and 3:00 am or difficulty falling asleep
  • Heart Meridian
Emotion: Anxiety
Results in difficulties falling asleep or waking up easily during the night
  • Spleen Meridian
Emotion: Worry
Results in waking up at the same time every night or waking up due to disturbing dreams
  • Lungs Meridian
Emotion: Grief
Results in waking up between 3:00 and 5:00 am

What is Acupuncture, Exactly?

 For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, acupuncture is a process where an acupuncturist sticks small needles in certain parts of your body in order to target problems with specific meridians. 

acupuncture insomniaAlthough this might sound a bit eery, It is usually considered painless, and many people swear by it as an effective way to treat a whole host of different health problems. 

Whether or not you believe in things like emotional energy and the 12 meridians doesn't really matter, and not believing probably won't make the acupuncture any less successful. 

The only thing you need to know is that acupuncture really does work, and there is a lot of research and scientific evidence to support its effectiveness as an insomnia treatment.

Evidence Supporting Insomnia Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been gaining popularity only slowly in the Western world over the past few decades, and even many medical doctors are not recommending it as an alternative treatment option for their patients suffering from a variety of diseases, ailments, and other health problems. When looking at insomnia acupuncture though, the research has been mostly overwhelmingly supportive.

Acupuncture has long been used to help relieve stress and anxiety, and has been proven to help some people with these problems fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly through the night. However, it wasn't until recently that the reason for this was fully understood.

acupuncture insomniaIt seems that patients suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety have much higher levels of melatonin production during the night after undergoing acupuncture treatment. 

This is important for treating insomnia because melatonin is one of the main chemicals in the brain that helps to regulate our sleeping-waking cycle

In fact, melatonin production doesn't begin until after dark, at which time it then is responsible for feelings of sleepiness.

Studies have shown insomnia acupuncture helps promote sleep in people of all ages and levels of health, making it one of the safest and possibly most effective natural insomnia treatments around. Still, stimulating melatonin production isn't the only way acupuncture can effectively treat the causes of insomnia.

 

Chronic pain is another one of the leading causes of insomnia, and acupuncture has been used for centuries to help deal with this problem as well. So, if your problems falling asleep are related to pains, acupuncture could help you sleep in multiple ways, both by lessening your pain and increasing melatonin production.

 

Tips for Using Acupuncture to Treat Insomnia

If you've never tried acupuncture before, the first step is to find a qualified acupuncturist. Make sure to read plenty of reviews and look for someone with a good reputation and experience using acupuncture to treat insomnia. Choosing a qualified and reputable acupuncturist will definitely ensure you get much more out of the experience, and also prevent you from being ripped off by a con artist who only pretends to know acupuncture.

Still, just as important as choosing a qualified acupuncturist is choosing one that you get along well with. Acupuncture is a very personal treatment and you need to be completely comfortable and relaxed for it to work properly, so it's very important that you like the practitioner. 

Not liking your acupuncturist doesn't mean the treatment won't be effective, but you'll definitely get more out of it if you get along well and are comfortable with him or her.

The final tip is the one most people struggle with: making sure you give the treatment enough time before deciding it works. Acupuncture is a slow and gradual process, so you probably won't see any signs of improvement after only a few sessions. 

Instead, you should try to give it at least a month or two before deciding it doesn’t work. With any luck, you'll soon be sleeping like a baby thanks to your insomnia acupuncture treatment.


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