Relieving Insomnia with Acupuncture and Herbs

The United States Department of Health and Human Services stated in 2007 that approximately 64 million Americans regularly suffered from insomnia each year. Insomnia is 1.4 times more common in women than in men. Although insomnia is not a disease but a symptom of one of several sleep disorders. Insomnia is defined as "difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both" and it may be due to inadequate quality or quantity of sleep. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake.

Acupuncture and Insomnia

A doctor of Chinese Medicine will focus on the Heart, Liver, Spleen or Kidney organs and channels when insomnia is a patient's main complaint. In Chinese Medicine, the Heart and Liver both house a specific aspect of the spirit or "shen". When these two organs are out of balance, the spirit may wander from not being housed properly. Chinese Medicine also states that when the Spleen is injured, the subsequent blood deficiency will lead to insomnia. The Kidneys are in charge of generating the Yin fluids or calming aspects of the body. When the Kidneys are disrupted, there will be more relative heat at night, causing insomnia.

Western medical research has shown that acupuncture is associated with a significant nocturnal increase in endogenous melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone and is important in the regulation of the circadian rhythms of several biological functions, including sleep.

Research on Acupuncture and Insomnia

  • Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences: Acupuncture Increases Nocturnal Melatonin Secretion and Reduces Insomnia and Anxiety: A Preliminary Report
    Conclusion: Acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients with insomnia.
  • Journal of Advanced Nursing
    Effects of acupuncture therapy on insomnia.
    Conclusion: The results of this review suggest that acupuncture may be an effective intervention for the relief of insomnia.