Though it has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has become common worldwide. Acupuncture is a treatment that involves inserting thin metallic needles into the skin to stimulate nerves in the muscles and body. The practitioner then gently activates the needles by hand or through electric stimulation.
Acupuncture is believed to help relieve chronic pain and other conditions, such as sleep disorders. In this article, we discuss how acupuncture can help improve the quality of your sleep and review the risks associated with this alternative treatment.
How can acupuncture help with sleep disorders?
Quality sleep is essential for the health of our bodies and minds. Sleeping issues such as insomnia or sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of gender or age.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty falling back to sleep after waking during the night
- Consistently waking too early
Acupuncture for insomnia
Acupuncture is gaining popularity as a non-drug alternative treatment for insomnia. The treatment is usually readily available and has fewer side effects than sedatives, which can cause drowsiness the next day or lead to dependence.
When treating insomnia, practitioners make a diagnosis and use acupuncture techniques to treat the symptoms, creating balance and regulating bodily systems. Studies show that acupuncture can also reduce chronic pain, which may help treat insomnia arising from that pain. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, treatment may also impact areas of the brain known to reduce pain and stress sensitivity, promoting relaxation and improving sleep.
How many acupuncture sessions do you need for insomnia?
The number of sessions required to help your sleep depends on the stage and severity of your insomnia. For example, temporary insomnia might improve after fewer than ten sessions. In contrast, acute insomnia might require one full course of treatment (10 sessions, two to three times a week) and chronic insomnia can require several courses.
If you’re already on a sedative prescription, consult a health professional for advice before switching to acupuncture treatment for your insomnia.
Acupuncture for sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where a person stops breathing for up to a minute while sleeping. This can happen when soft tissue in the mouth and throat causes the airway to narrow or close or if the tongue falls back and blocks the airway. People with OSA can experience oxygen deprivation on and off all night, resulting in poor sleep quality and exhaustion the next day.
Research has shown that acupuncture may help strengthen the tongue muscles of OSA patients, preventing them from falling back in the mouth during sleep.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
As an alternative treatment for sleep problems, acupuncture has numerous advantages over conventional medicine, including:
- It is non-addictive. Acupuncture is a non-drug treatment alternative, so there is little risk of overdependence or addiction.
- There are fewer side effects. Drugs prescribed for sleep can cause fatigue and drowsiness during the day; however, this is not a concern with acupuncture.
- It is flexible. You can combine acupuncture with conventional medication without fear of harmful treatment interactions.
What are the risks of acupuncture?
The most common risks or side effects of acupuncture treatment are soreness, bruising, or bleeding around the insertion sites. Infection can also occur if your practitioner doesn’t follow standard hygiene practices or uses unsterilized needles. You should always seek treatment from licensed and experienced acupuncture practitioners.
Are you looking for a professional acupuncture treatment centre in North Vancouver?
If you struggle with sleeplessness and want a trustworthy alternative treatment, contact Moveo Sport & Rehabilitation Centre today.
Our team of skilled multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and high-quality acupuncture treatments will give you long-lasting results and help you get a better night’s sleep.