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If you’re having difficulties falling and/or staying asleep, don’t resort to a prescription therapy; instead, go and check out acupuncture, a Chinese-developed form of healing used to address a host of health-related conditions.
In trying to treat insomnia, first things first; one needs to know what causes it. HelpGuide.org says that in spite of insomnia being the most frequently heard sleeping complaint, it is not just one type of sleep disorder. A better way to view insomnia is to see it as a symptom of other health problems. The underlying cause or causes of insomnia varies from person to person.
What type of stressors do you have in your life? Do you have a hard time managing stress? Do you have poor eating habits? Do you have a need to have meals late at night like an hour or so before going to bed? Do you drink a lot of coffee throughout the day? If you answer yes to most of these questions then chances are you are suffering from insomnia. However, the good news is that most types of insomnia are curable and with the right changes in your lifestyle and eating habits, you can cure yourself of your problem without the need for across the counter or prescription sleeping drugs or sleep specialists.
Acupuncture and Insomnia
Studies Reveal Acupuncture’s Effectiveness in Treating Insomnia
The Medical Acupuncture journal states that “Insomnia is frequently encountered in clinical practice, occurring in around 40% of the population. Acupuncture, although not normally used to treat this problem, has been found to be helpful in treating of insomnia and has an excellent safety and tolerability profile.”
The principle behind acupuncture is the notion that two opposing but complementary forces exist in nature called yin and yang energy which reside inside the human body. Energy flows through the body’s Yang areas during the day to keep the mind active and alert. The Yang energy, at night, should go back to the lower and deeper Yin areas of the body. The problem begins when the Yang energy remains in the Yang areas of your eyes and brain; these parts of your body are continuously energized preventing you from falling asleep resulting in insomnia.
A research work done in Taiwan around 2007-2008 had 33 patients participating who were all suffering from primary insomnia. The study saw that acupuncture was equally potent as zolpidem (a drug sold under the labels of Sublinox, tilnox, and Ambien). The subjects were either given 10 mg of zolpidem each night or treated with acupuncture once each week.
The conductors of the study discovered that both groups (the acupuncture and zolpidem group) showed significant improvements at a similar rate over time. This means that acupuncture is just as effective as pharmaceuticals sleeping drugs for the treatment of insomnia.
Pharmaceutical drugs are unfortunately the go to treatment for most insomnia sufferers in the United States. And it’s not just sleeping pills such as tricyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepines, oral hypnotics and sedatives are also heavily used. The Medical Acupuncture state these drugs are highly addictive and are likely to be abused by users.
The drawback to tricyclic antidepressants is that they have undesirable and debilitating effects, such as heart arrhythmias, urinary retention, orthostatic hypotension, and dry mouth.
Insomnia May Require the Need for Repeated Treatments
While medications can have blanket effects on patients, practitioners of acupuncture tend to take a more individualized approach.
The founder of website Foot Under Foot, Melissa Sokulski, who is also an herbalist and acupuncturist herself said that “acupuncturists do a detailed history of their patient and this includes a tongue diagnosis, pulse assessment and questioning in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the patient as a whole. Treatment is always different for each patient even if they have the same underlying insomnia problem which more often than not is yin deficiency. The treatment is based on the constitution of the patient (the person’s type and strength og his/her health and body), and other relevant factors.”
Experts say that a person is likely to get a good night’s sleep right after an acupuncture procedure; however, after several days, the insomnia might come back.
The CenterAccupuncture.com says that “this is a sign that one should try acupuncture treatment for insomnia on a regular basis since it often requires several rounds of acupuncture treatment each week, for many several to cure chronic insomnia completely.”
Earlier studies showing acupuncture’s superior effectiveness in treating osteoarthritic knee pain over Western medicine have been validated by new research.
In a meta-anaylsis study of 14 random controlled, separate, clinical trials of 3,835 patients, it showed that acupuncture treatment resulted in the significant relief of knee osteoarthritis pain and a much better improvement in function than conventional care treatment, sham acupuncture, or waiting for further treatment. These results and more were posted on the website of the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HMI).
The study further revealed that acupuncture treatment of osteoarthritic knee pain in New York resulted in the restoration of function and pain relief than Western conventional care and sham acupuncture.
Following this posting, HMI said that real interest in acupuncture in treating knee osteoarthritis has increased significantly. The above mentioned research, performed on 2006, also involved 13 separate meta-analysis studies, that observed the effects of randomized acupuncture treatment in adults suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee or chronic knee pain compared to other treatments: active intervention, usual care (no extra intervention), and placebo (sham) acupuncture.
The study concluded that acupuncture that passes the benchmark for sufficient treatment has a superior effect in treating patients suffering from chronic knee pain than usual care and placebo acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been used to help treat knee pain for thousands of years.
Several studies spanning more than a decade have demonstrated (besides being a very valuable mode of treatment for osteoarthritic knee pain), that acupuncture is a much better and much cheaper alternative to knee surgery.
Acupuncture in Medicine journal published a 2008 study showing this very old and definitely not archaic form of Chinese treatment was performed for a couple of years on 90 patients with ages that averaged 71 years old.
The patients were initially treated once a week for a month and beyond with acupuncture. The regularity of the treatments was reduced to one treatment every six weeks as reported in the Counsel & Heal website. Forty one patients were still receiving treatment a year later; then a couple of years later 31 still were.
Physicians observed even after the first month, that patients showed significant clinical improvements in the severity of their pain.
Acupuncture-trained nurses were tasked to observe two factors: Whether acupuncture was a valid alternative to costly knee replacement operations or whether acupuncture improved symptoms while decreasing the cost of care.
The nurses observed that knee surgery treatment is not a treatment for everyone although the cost of the surgery was worth the procedure since it relatively brings about successful results. This means that for others who can’t afford knee replacement surgery, acupuncture is a very good treatment option for osteoarthritic knee pain or chronic knee pain.
In terms of economy, acupuncture treatment for osteoarthritic knee pain or chronic knee pain can help save the United States tens of millions of dollars in medical costs alone each year.
How does acupuncture work?
For people who had not experienced acupuncture treatment, it may seem strange that a form of treatment has managed to survive for thousands of years. This is because acupuncture really works and is so much effective in treating several types of health conditions.
Here’s how acupuncture works.
Extremely thin small and sterile needles are stuck just below the surface of the skin specific parts of the body known as acupoints. These points are selected by acupuncturists depending on what kind of condition the patient is suffering from (GI problems, back pain, sore knees, allergies, etc.).
Underneath an acupoint lie energy pathways known as meridians. These are where vital energy or qi is believed to flow. Along these meridians, there are several specific spots that normalize levels of health in different areas of the body. The human body has around 12 major meridians and 8 minor ones.
If say, for example you are suffering from a stomach problem. This does not necessarily mean that needles will be stuck on your stomach. Some of the meridians commonly needled by acupuncturists include:
Lung meridian – Found on the inside of the arm above the wrist
The Large Intestine – This meridian is found between the thumb and index finger on the back of the hand
Stomach: Found on the front of the leg below the knee.
More and more people are realizing the positive results alternative medicine can bring. Being treated with acupuncture treatments in between migraine attacks can help migraine sufferers although the results of the treatment may depend on how well your body responds to the treatment and the severity of your condition. Acupuncture helps banish the frequent migraine attacks and acute pains. People living in large cities usually complain of pains and headaches in the temple and forehead. Acupuncture can cure the mild and moderate pain although it may take a while for the treatment to also resolve chronic pain. A person is only required to find the right place and practitioner to perform the treatment. Acupuncture has become one of the best ways in which headaches and migraines can be relieved. The type of acupuncture treatment for migraines will depend on whether the patient desires preventative treatment in between migraine attacks or comes into the clinic experiencing acute pain. Acupuncture can help bring about long-term symptomatic migraine relief.
This treatment also takes out stress and helps a person relax. Too much stress is one of the biggest reasons for headaches and migraines. A series of studies indicates acupuncture’s effectiveness in the prevention of migraine. A well qualified and experienced acupuncturist in Cleveland will never take a chance of performing a treatment in which a patient walks in suffering from a full blown migraine attack. Nor will he insert acupuncture needles into the neck and head. Migraine occurs when the blood vessels in the head become dilated and when needles are stuck in the neck and head it can boost blood flow to those areas, which can exacerbate the pain. Also, for migraines and headaches, the patient is required to sit instead of lie down to prevent too much blood from rushing to the head.
There are only a few cities in the United States who have acupuncturists who understand the proper way of treating a migraine or a headache. The number of needles stuck into the legs and arms should be reduced when a patient is already having a headache. The painful symptoms can be vastly reduced this way. Between migraines and headaches, the former is more disabling to the patient. Migraine sufferers tend to feel the pain in one part of their head. They are extremely sensitive to sound and light. During a migraine attack they oftentimes feel nauseated and vomit. Some may experience losing their eye-sight. Migraines can be attributed to faulty genes that control the activity of certain brain cells.