Not sleeping is such a distressing problem as it really can lower the quality of a persons’ life. It can cause feelings of exhaustion, feeling emotionally strung-out and stretched to the limit. I hear these phrases again and again to describe this problem. According to a survey by the office of national statistics, around 29% of adults reported experiencing sleep problems the week before an interview. This is hardly surprising news! A good example of how our minds can keep us awake!
The treatment for insomnia depends on the length and nature of the symptoms. Advice should be given on appropriate routines to encourage good sleep, such as avoiding stimulants and maintaining regular sleeping hours with a suitable environment for sleep (NICE 2004). Drugs can relieve the symptoms of insomnia, but do not treat the underlying cause. Expert bodies have long advised that the used of hypnotics for insomnia should be limited to short courses for acutely distressed patients only (Joint Formulary Committee 2009).
So, how can acupuncture help?
Reviews are consistent in showing that most trials have found acupuncture to be significantly more effective that hypnotic drugs (SUN 2010). On the evidence that we have, given that acupuncture appears to be at least as effective as existing conventional drugs, without their level of side effects, it could be considered one of the therapeutic options for insomnia. In general acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the analytical brain, which is responsible for insomnia and anxiety (Hui 2010).
In other words we know that acupuncture can help patients with sleep difficulties. Every case is different, and sleep problems can arise for all sorts of reasons. I see a lot of patients being kept awake by pain which is very distressing. I really feel for them. I know I feel grotty if I miss sleep, both physically and emotionally. However, if you are suffering in this way, why not try a few acupuncture treatments to regain your sense of wellbeing”.
Post by Wendy Goodman.
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