Insomnia is a problem that manifests itself in various sleep disorders such as: difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings from any noise or dream that is sometimes difficult to fall back asleep after and in severe cases even complete lack of sleep. Conventional treatment for sleep disorders relies mainly on sleeping/ sedative medication and melatonin pills that are supposed to regulate the biological clock. These drugs have only a short-term effect, so the patient depends on them daily, as their effect decreases over time.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture helps by balancing mind and body to restore healthy sleep patterns. Research has indicated a number of benefits to acupuncture: Increasing melatonin secretion, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles.
Acupuncture increase blood flow (specifically in this case to the brain) which reactivates areas of the brain responsible for sleep quality.
Acupuncture reduces the sympathetic nervous system activity, the fight of flight response. Calming the body and increasing relaxation
Acupuncture helps regulate levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA and neuropeptide Y; this alters the chemistry in the brain and helps reduce stress and enhance relaxations and sleep.
The treatment focuses on the patient and the specific factors that led to insomnia - emotional / orthopaedic / metabolic, etc. Acupuncture had been shown to be very effective in treating insomnia.
More good news for insomniacs is that researchers from Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in China, conducted a study and found that acupuncture is more effective in treating insomnia compared to the sleeping pill Zopiclone.
Insomnia is not a disease, but a symptom that has many causes. Insomnia can lead to many diseases because during sleep many physiological processes take place including: tissue regeneration, liver cleansing, free radical cleansing (substances that damage the immune system and body cells), building muscle, regulating sugar levels, building brain cells and normal hormonal function.
Possible causes for insomnia
Sleep is affected by various factors such as mental stress, age (over the age of 50 the quality of sleep is impaired) anxiety, depression, environmental changes, caffeine, vitamins, medications, urination, menopause and more.
Recommended sleeping hours; babies need at least 14 hours of sleep a day, children and adolescents need 8 to 12 hours of sleep, and an adult needs 8 hours of sleep (athletes need more), the elderly tend to sleep less and their sleep stages also change (this is normal).
Chinese medicine distinguishes between different types of sleep disorders:
Anger and tension can damage the Liver energy and cause bad dreams, multiple awakenings, difficulty falling asleep, palpitations, and restless sleep. Chinese medicine treatment will focus on nourishing the Liver and strengthening the Heart.
Excessive work - people who work long hours, whose diet is unbalanced and suffer from lack of sleep may suffer from Kidney depletion and therefore may have severe sleep disorders, hormonal imbalance and restlessness. Acupuncture will be based on points that strengthen the Kidneys.
Restlessness - emotional load during the day will be expressed in the weakening of the Spleen and Liver and over time also in the Kidneys, Heart and Lungs. It is recommended to eat strengthening and soothing foods and adopt a calmer lifestyle. Acupuncture in this case will be based on soothing and nourishing these organs energetic spheres.
Acupuncture treatment uses thin, delicate, sterile needle which is not painful aiming at balancing the element of fire, the Heart - the abode of the soul, calm it and allow a good and pleasant sleep over time.