Insomnia is not only a condition of the elderly. At some point in our young lives, we may experience sleepless nights or even difficulty falling asleep. There may also be times when we wake up in the middle of the night only to find ourselves unable to get right back to slumberland. There may also have been instances when we woke up very early in the morning. While some of us would instantly pop a sleeping pill to help with our insomniac tendencies, this is not really a safe way to go. A much safer and more effective way to a peaceful sleep is by getting acupuncture for insomnia.
Don’t believe us? How many of you have already tried getting a really deep, soothing, and relaxing massage at your favourite health and wellness spa clinic? Or how many of you have tried getting a loved one massage your head or even stroke your hair? During these instances, we are pretty sure you felt somehow relaxed and could almost certainly swear that you’re already falling asleep. Now, try getting an acupuncture session from any of the highly trained and duly certified practitioners from Freedom Chinese Medicine and you’ll instantly be in la-la land in no time at all.
What Causes Insomnia?
Before we go into understanding how acupuncture can help you with your insomnia, let us first understand what causes it in the first place. There are many reasons why we have difficulty sleeping. It can be because of too much stress that keeps our minds too preoccupied even when it’s already time to call it a day. We’re not saying that everyone who is under stress will experience insomnia, but, the fact of the matter is that, stress has always been implicated in a variety of health conditions that it’s virtually impossible not to consider it as a cause of insomnia. Nevertheless, the following are some of the more common causes of our difficulty sleeping.
- Irregular schedules at work
- Certain medications
- Life changes
- Substance abuse
- Chronic pain
- The use of stimulants such as caffeine and certain over the counter drugs
- Mental health conditions such generalized anxiety disorders or even depression
- Certain health problems like asthma, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease
If we are going to look closely at these causes, the major problem is in the disruption of the natural circadian rhythm of our bodies. It’s like our body’s natural alarm clock that tells the different organs when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to rest. If the process of telling our body the time for physiologic processes to either commence or rest is flawed, interrupted, or changed, then we’re faced with the inability to get sufficient sleep. It is also possible that the timing mechanism in our brain has been rewired that it is now malfunctioning such as what happens when we use stimulants or even illicit substances. The point is that our brain is no longer able to process all the different information that it requires to tell the rest of the body that it’s time to sleep.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
Since the major issue is in our circadian rhythm, a variety of approaches can actually be used to attempt to reset our biological clock. These can include naturopathic supplementation, light therapy, dietary modification, breathing exercises, and acupuncture. Now, you may be wondering how acupuncture can possibly help us.
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that insomnia is caused by the disruption in the flow of chi or qi, the life force of our body. All over the body are meridians that correspond to different organ systems which are also connected to our emotions. For instance, the meridian of the heart is known to equate to anxiety while the meridian that covers the liver is typically associated with stress and anger. The energy of the emotional aspect of our being is known as shen. When this energy is blocked, because of stress and anxiety or any other emotional problem, balance is not achieved resulting in insomnia.
When we are under stress, as what can happen if we have a lot of unfulfilled commitments at work or even unexpected changes in our lives, our emotional balance goes awry and our emotional energy, shen, becomes hyperactive. This makes us unable to sleep whenever we want to. It also keeps us from attaining REM sleep further aggravating the stress that we feel because our body was not able to get rid of this excess psychic energy. We are also easily aroused or waken up because of the hypersensitivity of our shen.
This is where acupuncture can help. By removing the blockage to the flow of our shen, we are able to fall asleep a lot easier and faster. We can also achieve REM sleep a lot more efficiently. We will also not wake up that early or too easily.
We know you’re a bit sceptical about the use of acupuncture for insomnia. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences showed that anxious patients were able to sleep better when treated with insomnia. In 2001, the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care published a study about the improvements in the quality of sleep of HIV/AIDS patients after undergoing 5 weeks of highly individualised acupuncture. There are many more studies that show just how effective acupuncture is in improving the sleep patterns of patients. Now, if these sick individuals were able to derive such benefits, what more for healthier individuals like us?
Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to sleep better and sounder. Visit your nearest licensed acupuncturist now or try Freedom Chinese Medicine’s renowned acupuncture treatments and experience more restful sleeps.