I want to address acupuncture treatment for insomnia which is one of the most prevalent conditions I have to deal with. In many cases, people will come into my acupuncture clinic for pain and different sorts of maladies and not think to mention insomnia as a distinct problem.
However, in my questionnaire for new patients I ask questions regarding the quality of their sleep. And I am absolutely overwhelmed by the extraordinary breadth and depth of this particular condition in our society.
Insomnia from a traditional acupuncture perspective ia an imbalance of energy. In other words, during the day we have the Yang energy which moves our hands and helps our minds to work and supplies blood to the muscles and this is quite natural for this to occur. At night, what should happen, according to Japanese acupuncture, is that the Yang energy should go back inside the body and nourish the vital organs. This is very important from a preventative medicine perspective – it is absolutely vital for health and wellness.
So insomnia is not just lack of sleep, it is also going to affect the ability of the body to regenerate and heal at night whilst enjoying quality sleep. This is just so important for longevity, for quality of life in so many instances.
So what happens with insomnia is that the Yin energy, which is the contractive or internal energy of the body, is not strong enough to draw the Yang energy back in deep. Thus what will happen is the Yang energy, or active principle, will continue to circulate at a more superficial level during the night. This can result in things like palpitations and an inability to turn off the brain which keeps turning and turning.
In some cases we get situations at my acupuncture clinic where people suffer from restless legs at night – the Yang energy still in the legs not returning to the body to nourish the internal organs. This is a traditional oriental medicine perspective on insomnia.
Insomnia will often be aggravated in a menopausal situation for women and this is very common. Again what will happen is that a woman will come into one of my acupuncture clinics and complain about hot flushes and a feeling of being unwell and imbalanced. It tends to be a very secondary comment, “Oh, my sleep is terrible, I wake up every so often right through the night.”
Insomnia adds a very debilitating factor to this continuous menopausal condition – interrupted sleep or the inability to get to sleep or waking up early. All of these particular aspects of insomnia can have a very adverse impact on the quality of life.
Acupuncture is based on balancing the Yin and the Yang. From that perspective, I have found it extraordinarily effective in draining the Yang energy, the active principle, back inside the body during the night and assisting the patient to enjoy quality rest and to wake up the next morning happy, rejuvenated and reinvigorated.
Acupuncture treatment for insomnia has proven to be very effective because of this energy balancing, enabling each form of energy to function as it should.