8 hours of uninterrupted sleep seems to be something only on people’s wish-lists. They’re in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety, so busy that they can ill-afford to put in the required number of hours to sleep. People with insomnia feel the pinch even more, they want to sleep, yet sleep eludes them. If you are reading this article you are probably looking for the right insomnia treatment, home remedies or some miracle medicine which can make you sleep like a baby, oblivious to the tensions of the world.
So if we suggest that you get yourself poked with sharp objects to put you to sleep, you will probably laugh at the suggestion, but though this statement may seem unbelievable, it is true; acupuncture has the power to find the right insomnia cures.
People who suffer from sleeplessness actually try hundreds of methods to cure it. But more often than not, it does not work; the drugs, smoothies et al, but one of the most effective yet most underused techniques is certainly acupuncture. The more you know about it, the more you will be surprised at the vast possibilities it provides. Chris Kresser has said something very true about acupuncture, he said that “acupuncture has gained an undeserved reputation for being an unsupported practice with no evidence behind it.”
There is ample truth in the sentence, acupuncture is not all about self-experimentation and Chinese medicine, as some of us would like to believe, there is so much more to it. And yes, it is backed with strong clinical evidence for a host of conditions including sleeplessness. The thought that a needle can manipulate the flow of electrons in your skin seems fairly surprising, but is true after all.
Does Acupuncture Work for Insomnia? – The Evidence to Back up the Claim
A preliminary report published in 2004 showed that for patients who suffered from anxiety, acupuncture played a role in increasing night-time melatonin production, and thus total sleep time. The patients who were administered acupuncture also were able to sleep that much faster, were unlikely to wake up in the middle of the night and were also less stressed. The researchers drew the conclusion that acupuncture was indeed able to help patients who suffered from insomnia.
Another study also showed that acupuncture also improved sleep quality also in patients who suffered from HIV. Patients affected by HIV suffered from a sleep problem. Just 5 weeks of acupuncture treatment improved sleep activity and sleep quality significantly.
Acupuncture works for people both with and without health problems. So if you are not suffering from any serious health condition, but not able to put in some quality snooze time, you can benefit from acupuncture too. Thankfully no more of counting sheep!
Another benefit of acupuncture which most people do not know about is that acupuncture provides relief from chronic pain too, which is one of the most common causes of sleeplessness.
Acupuncture Treatment – 3 Ways to Use Acupuncture for Sleep Hacking
Are you sold on the idea of using acupuncture to improve your sleep significantly? Great! Then, here are the 3 most important steps you need to take to find an answer to the question does acupuncture work for insomnia?
First things first, find you a qualified acupuncturist. There are several websites too that can help you locate an acupuncturist in your area.
Forming a connection with your practitioner is the next thing to do. Acupuncture is not only about needles, you also have to trust the practitioner and his healing abilities. This does not mean that if you don’t like an acupuncturist you won’t benefit from it, but yes you will have a far more enriching experience if you like the acupuncturist and they form a connection with you and understand your body and mind.
You have to give the process your honest effort and have to be patient enough to undergo several treatments before you decide whether the treatment is for you or not. Sometimes it takes ages before you notice major changes, and sometimes the improvements turn out to be immediate and lasting.
Traditional Eastern medicine emphasizes on the fact that you should treat the body as well as the mind in conjunction with drugs. Practitioners focus on life energy required to maintain the proper body/mind balance. Acupuncture is one of the therapies, and has treated different kinds of diseases and medical conditions for centuries. Acupuncturists regularly treat insomnia and believe it to be an ailment which results from a disruption of mind/body energy disturbance.
Acupuncture is an integral part of Chinese medicine. Today the practice has not only been able to be acknowledged by Western medicine but also used as a complementary therapy byWestern therapists.
A large number of patients have tried acupuncture to cater to their wide range of health problems that start from drug and alcohol addiction, and of course insomnia too. Acupuncturists believe that insomnia results from the disruption of yin and yang energy, day and night, and light and dark.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncturists for the acupuncture treatment for insomnia use particularly long thin needles that they insert in different parts of the body to channelize the energy flow, called meridians. Though the thought of getting pierced with long needles sound downright scary, rest assured, they are painless and are used to open a number of channels of life energy, which become blocked due to various reasons.
It is only when the physical and spiritual energy flow is shut off, that your body responds with signs and symptoms of sickness, and one of the resulting disaccords, is insomnia. Acupuncture helps with these specific symptoms, which are indicative of energy obstruction.
Acupuncture as a Treatment for Insomnia
Acupuncturists have been treating insomnia symptoms for years and years now, and till today has provided great relief. Before catering to the needs of your problem, your acupuncturist spends time distilling the nature of your insomnia. According to Chinese medicine, there are different types of insomnia, such as,
- Finding it difficult to fall asleep
- Waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep right away
- Disruptions in sleep in the early morning and not being able to go to sleep
- Disturbed sleep with disruptive dreaming
Each of the above types of insomnia is a result of unique energy imbalance as described in Chinese medicine. Different kinds of insomnia are treated differently as each symptom is a result of particular imbalances.
Can Acupuncture help Insomnia? Try these Acupuncture Points
The acupuncture points for insomnia and anxiety can provide relief from insomnia. The acupuncture points mentioned here are A Mian point, Stomach 36 point, Pericardium 6, Heart 7 and Yin tang point.
1. An Mian
This point is not located on a meridian. Go to the back of your head at the base of the skull to locate this point. Let your finger move from the centerline out and find a depression. Keep moving your finger forward until your fingers find another depression right behind the earlobe. The point actually can be located between these two depressions. This point is also known as “peaceful sleep” and thus is really good for insomnia. An mian also helps with headaches, palpitations, and emotional disturbances.
2. Stomach 36 (ST36)
This point is also known as Zu San Li or “Leg Three Miles”, it can provide you with an unmatched energy! Find this point on the leg below the knee. Place the four fingers just below your kneecap and the point is located at this level, one finger is located to the outside of your shin bone.
This point can increase the patient’s energy or Qi. According to Chinese medicine, the Shen or the spirit resides in the heart or blood. When the blood is deficient, the spirit goes into wandering mode, causing disruptions on sleep. So, basically, we need an adequate amount of this “spirit” to sleep peacefully.
3. Pericardium 6 (PC6)
Find this point about three fingers up from the wrist crease. This point is also known as Nei Guan or Inner Pass. PC6 works on anxiety, emotional problems, palpitations, insomnia and irritability among other things. This point calms down a person and also helps them sleep.
4. Heart 7 (HT7)
This Shen Men or “Spirit Gate” is just the point to treat your insomnia. It is also indicated for irritability, palpitations, mania, and dementia, among other things. The point is located on the pinky side of the wrist crease, right on the inside of the ligament that links the hand to the arm. Closing the gate helps bring the balance of the body since the gate is strongly associated with the spirit, it heavily influences sleep.
5. Yin Tang
This point, translating to ‘Hall of Impression’ point, or rather the ‘extra’ point is not exactly part of the meridian, but lies on the same line as the Governing Vessel points. Locate it between the eyebrows. This point helps treat headaches and insomnia besides other conditions. It is greatly calming and helps beat constant stress.
If you think that just one trip to the acupuncturist’s chamber can solve your trials and tribulations with sleep, you are wrong. You have to return for a number of sessions lasting a few times a week over a stipulated period of time, depending on the type of insomnia. Many patients experience an immediate calmness and relaxation with a single acupuncture session which they never dreamed of achieving otherwise. Try the below sleep hacks to fall asleep quickly, besides trying the acupuncture points.
- Hit the sack before 10PM – The liver has a significant part to play in influencing your health and your sleeping patterns. You can optimise your liver function by hitting the bed at a regular time and by 10PM.
- Earplugs- Invest in earplugs to shut the outside noise and enhance the sleep experience.
- Blackout Blinds- These kind of blinds are important for sleep hygiene as they shut out the light exposure that interferes with your sleep.
Diet and supplements do play an important role too. Consider including supplements such as melatonin, Gaba, 5-HTP, magnesium and so on.
Insomnia can be distressing and rob you of your peace of mind. If you suffer from insomnia, get help as soon as possible and find the right insomnia treatment. Acupuncture can help you on this journey to find uninterrupted and peaceful sleep.