A lot of people tend to only fall asleep around or even past 11 pm only to wake a few hours later. They desperately try to go back to sleep to no avail. To help them get good and adequate sleep, they often use across-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills. The problem with these drugs is that they have enormous side effects that tend to give them other health issues that add to their worries. As people suffering from insomnia knows, a lack of sleep means more than having a difficult time rising in bed the next morning; it can lead to problems as mild as weight gain to health diseases as serious as high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attacks. For some people with sleeping problems, the consequences of their insomnia can show up in their relationships – it makes them cranky towards their friends, family members and fellow workers.
A sense of desperation has forced some of these people to seek out alternative forms of treatment for their condition. One of the most effective alternative cures for insomnia is acupuncture, a healing component of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
According to TCM, the vital energy flowing inside a person’s body dictates his/her state of health. This energy flow is coursed through 12 main energy pathways known as meridians. Each meridian is associated with one or more internal organs and emotions. The spleen meridian, for example, is associated with worry; anger and stress is related to the liver meridian; while the emotion of anxiety to the meridian of the heart. A very strong emotion can affect the meridians it is related with causing a disturbance in the emotional energy of the body known as shen. If shen is disturbed by too much stress or work, it prevents us from falling asleep, hinders our ability to go into REM sleep, and causes us to easily awake.
People with disturbed shen can have their emotional energy brought back into balance with acupuncture. When you come in for acupuncture treatment for the first time, your acupuncturist will ask you about the specifics of your sleeping problems, your personal life, and about your work. Afterwards, he/she may then proceed to feel your pulse and observe your tongue. For people who easily awake during sleep, the acupuncturist may attribute the cause to a peaking or rising energy (qi) in the meridian of the liver. This means that the patient with this type of sleeping problem may be suffering from an imbalance in his/her liver meridian.
Overwork and severe stress can most likely lead to an overactive shen. The thoughts about work deadlines and duties during the day remain in the mind of the person causing him/her to worry about it which makes it difficult to fall asleep. And if that person ever manages to get some sleep, he/she easily awakes due to the disturbed shen.
To adapt well to stress, TCM practitioners will most likely use acupuncture. This treatment is an excellent way of relieving stress as it is a safe form of treatment that does not have any side effects. For most types of insomnia, a treatment course lasting a minimum of six sessions is needed to produce significant results. Acupuncturists will advice against drinking coffee or smoking even on the most stressful days and discourage eating a diet with sugar or any kind of stimulant in it. Sugar and stimulants can deplete the yin or cooling energy of the body which serves as a counterbalance to the yang or fire energy in the body – too much fire energy in the body causes the fire to rage and disturb shen.
A typical acupuncture insomnia treatment will use around 16 – 20 needles inserted on certain points on the skin. Most of these points are located on the top of the head, the ears, hands, forearms, feet, and legs. Acupoints located on the legs correspond to the liver meridian, the top of the head relates to the brain meridian, and the hands and arms to the heart meridian. A synergistic effect is produced when these points are needled altogether. Interestingly, the needles do not cause pain when they are inserted into the skin although their presence can be felt when the acupuncturist manipulates them in certain ways. The reason the needles need to be manipulated is to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Once the needles are in place, some acupuncturists will expose the treated areas of the body to heat therapy stimulate the needles’ effectiveness even more. Oftentimes, the treatment makes the person feel sleepy and relaxed and it is common for the patient, even if he/she is suffering from insomnia, to fall asleep.
With each session, the symptoms and signs of insomnia should be dissipating. People react differently to acupuncture. While there may be others who after just one session of treatment are able to get adequate sleep, there may be others who require several more sessions to get the same results; some people do not respond to acupuncture treatment at all. Usually, however, most patients experience a decrease in their symptoms after a few treatments.
TCM associates each of the body’s meridians to an emotion. To properly diagnose and treat your insomnia, visit a qualified and experienced acupuncturist in Jacksonville.