Can acupuncture relieve your insomnia?
You’ve tried everything you can to solve your insomnia:
You’ve ‘counted sheep’
You’ve consumed countless mugs of hot milk
You’ve found that scheduled naps don’t live up to their promise
Nothing has worked. Your last resort appears to be a diet of sleeping pills, with all their potential side effects. These include headaches, stomach pains, uncontrollable shaking, diarrhoea, constipation, dizziness… the list is almost endless. And let’s not forget that sleeping pills are also addictive. Not an attractive proposition.
Many people have discovered that acupuncture has helped them in their struggle with sleep deprivation.
How does acupuncture work to improve insomnia?
In Chinese medicine, treatment focuses on caring for both body and mind without drugs. Insomnia and other sleep problems are a symptom of an imbalance in one of the body’s organs. Sleep is most commonly affected by the [Chinese view of the] liver, heart, and kidneys. Factors such as lifestyle, nutrition, and emotions (e.g. excessive anxiety or anger) can impair the function of one or more of these organs and lead to sleeplessness.
Acupuncture helps you gain a better night’s sleep because it:
stimulates the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycles;
increases production of γ-amino butyric acid, which improves quality of sleep;
reduces activity of the sympathetic nervous system, thus promoting relaxation; and
regulates various neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenalin. This helps to balance mood and promotes relaxation.
The needles used are extremely thin – many no thicker than the width of two human hairs. They are inserted in strategic positions for your unique sleep problems and condition. And there’s no need to worry about the pain – most patients don’t even realise the needles have been inserted!
Does acupuncture really help sleeplessness and insomnia?
There have been many medical studies performed in the West with the aim of understanding whether acupuncture really works for a variety of conditions. Evidence from these show that a course of acupuncture helps insomniacs fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. For example:
In a systematic review published in 2016, acupuncture showed statistically significant results in the treatment of insomnia, when compared to a placebo or pharmacological therapies (Shergis et al, 2016).
Guo et al (2013) conducted a randomised controlled trial containing three groups: acupuncture, sleep medication, and sham treatment. The acupuncture group showed a greater improvement in sleep quality and vitality, and decreased daytime dysfunction and sleepiness compared to the other two groups.
How long does it take for acupuncture to help sleep?
Most patients notice a significant improvement in their sleep patterns after a few acupuncture sessions, and some will start sleeping better after just a couple of sessions. It really depends on the severity of your insomnia and the mental and physical problems that may be the underlying cause.
Which acupuncture points are used for insomnia?
Insomnia has different classifications in Chinese medicine. For example, your symptoms may include:
Difficulty going to sleep
Waking in the middle of the night and difficulty in falling back to sleep
Waking early in the morning and unable to fall asleep again
Each classification of insomnia is associated with a unique pattern of imbalance, and each is treated differently with acupuncture. There are different acupuncture points for different sleep problems.
How will improved sleep make me feel?
Whatever your sleep disorder, there is a unique acupuncture treatment to help. You’ll soon be taking advantage of the benefits of better quality of sleep. You’ll be:
Your physical health will improve, too.
What happens in your first acupuncture session?
Your first visit begins with a consultation period. You and I will discuss your medical history and any other relevant information. This consultation normally takes between 15 and 30 minutes. You may then ask any questions you may have, before we proceed with your acupuncture treatment.
Once the needles have been placed, they stay in position for 20 minutes. In total, your first session will last approximately one hour. Then we’ll schedule further one-hour sessions to allow the acupuncture to more fully address the physical and mental issues that are causing your insomnia. These extra sessions also include Shiatsu Massage, helping you relax, easing you into the acupuncture treatment, and better informing me of your health condition. Click here for more information about Shiatsu massage.
What my patients say about acupuncture for sleep
“I must admit, acupuncture was a last resort for me, but Inbal has been a revelation. It’s nowhere near as foreboding as you might think, especially as she explains everything she does with care and consideration.”
“I saw Inbal weekly over three months for anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation. Inbal was very thorough in her investigation of my symptoms, and I was impressed with how personalised the treatment was. I found the combination of Shiatsu massage and acupuncture very effective in helping me to relax, de-stress, and sleep well.”
“I came to Inbal with a trauma causing me severe physical difficulties (such as palpitations, head pressure, headaches etc.). I could feel a small relieve after each session I had, progress I thought I would never experience before that. She's very friendly and gentle, which is a huge plus for people who fear needles, so believe when I say you don't have to be afraid at all :) I highly recommend her to anyone.”
How do I get started with acupuncture for sleep?
By searching online and finding this website, you have taken the first step to improving your sleep with acupuncture. You’ve found a qualified and experienced acupuncturist who specialises in treating people with sleep disorders: people just like you.
To find out more, or to book a free consultation, click on the button below. I’m here to help.
Guo, J., Wang, L.P., Liu C.Z. et al (2013). Efficacy of Acupuncture for Primary Insomnia: A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (no pagination), Article Number: 163850.
Shergis, J.L., Ni, X., Jackson, M.L. et al (2016). A Systematic Review of Acupuncture for Sleep Quality in People with Insomnia. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26, 11-20.