Acupuncture for Insomnia
The therapeutic benefits of using acupuncture for insomnia are documented in several published studies. Statistics show that acupuncture not only improves sleep outcomes, it also enhances other treatments for insomnia that you may already be using.
If you have ever had acupuncture before, you may have noticed experiencing extreme relaxation and better sleep afterwards – even if the treatment was for something unrelated to sleep. By stimulating the nervous system, acupuncture is believed to cause molecular and biochemical changes that promote sleep and relaxation.
Now covered by many insurance plans, acupuncture is a treatment option commonly used to treat pain. However, clinical studies also show the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating insomnia.
How Effective Is Acupuncture for Insomnia?
According to the results of studies. the success rate of acupuncture as a treatment for insomnia can be as high as 90%.
Many factors can either cause or contribute to insomnia. Various studies address these specific factors and demonstrate acupuncture’s effectiveness in improving sleep quality. For example…
Insomnia from anxiety…
Insomnia from depression…
Insomnia and depression often go hand-and-hand. According to a 2010 study, Acupuncture is superior to the drug Trazodone in relieving depression and improving sleep quality. What’s more, adverse side effects are non-existent with acupuncture.
Insomnia from chronic pain…
Chronic muscle or joint pain can make life difficult and sleep nearly impossible. The cumulative results of several studies showed that acupuncture relieved chronic pain by approximately 50%.
Even if you currently use other treatment modalities such as drugs or herbal remedies, you can also safely treat with acupuncture. Studies demonstrate that the addition of acupuncture actually increases the effectiveness of other treatments over that of the other treatments by themselves.
Acupuncture has been shown to provide relief for other sleep disorders as well. For example, patients suffering from moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) recorded significant improvements in managing their disorders in a published 2007 Sleep Medicine study.
[Recommended reading: Insomnia Relief, from author Deborah Bleecker, provides valuable insight into acupuncture and other natural sleep aids.]
How Does Acupuncture Work for Insomnia?
Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system which in turn sends complex signals to the brain. The release of certain neurochemicals results. These substances promote relaxation, reduce sensitivity and help shut down an overactive brain.
More specifically, the benefits of acupuncture for insomnia include:
- An increase in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. (Read more about melatonin for sleep)
- The regulation of neurotransmitters – including serotonin, dopamine and GABA – resulting in reduced stress and increased relaxation
- A reduction in nervous system activity.
- An increase of blood flow to the brain.
The number and frequency of treatments before you see significant results varies from person to person. A treatment course is influenced by the severity and type of insomnia as well as how long the condition has existed. Typical treatment duration may be as short as a few weeks for acute problems or up to several months for chronic conditions.
How to Get Started with Acupuncture
After choosing a practitioner, a treatment plan should be discussed during your initial visit. The plan should include the frequency along with the expected number of treatments.
You can explore qualified practitioners below: