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What is Acupuncture, and Why Should I Try It?

Sleep Edition

It may seem counter-intuitive to have needles inserted into your body to help insomnia, but needles are integral to acupuncture. Doctors trained in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture use long, thin needles to balance your Qi or body’s energy flow. The needles do not hurt like your routine injections from doctors, where the needle used is a lot thicker.

The acupuncture doctors will place the needles at specific points on the body to induce relaxation and improve sleep. All you will feel is a flick as the needles are inserted. Sometimes they are connected to an electro-acupuncture machine that provides electrical impulses for increased stimulation of the acupuncture points on the body. Each person may need a slightly different treatment, and different points to be stimulated, which is why the acupuncture doctor will ask questions about diet, lifestyle, and factors causing you stress or worry.

The number of sessions needed will vary depending on whether the insomnia is chronic. For chronic cases, patients may need a series of treatments, but for those with a short history of insomnia, usually less than ten sessions once or twice a week are all that is needed to provide relief from insomnia.

Teen sleep disorders seem to be becoming more prevalent for several reasons. Increased exposure to blue light from screens, as well as the changing hormones in 12 to 18-year-olds, cause many to experience sleep disorders. Anxiety and depression are being identified as problems for teens negotiating a world laced with social media pitfalls and are linked to sleep disorders. But it is not just teens; anxiety and depression have increased worldwide by 25% since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.

Clinical psychologist and sleep medicine expert Dr Michael Breus mentioned in this report that a review of 46 trials involving 3811 patients indicated that the quality and duration of sleep for these patients was significantly improved through acupuncture, compared to conventional medications.

 

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So, why does acupuncture work? The research indicates that acupuncture increases melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Acupuncture doctors believe that the needles inserted into the acupuncture points balance the flow of Qi or life force in the body by eliminating energy blockages. When this revitalized blood flow reaches the parts of the brain controlling sleep, patients can get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed.

This is in contrast to those on medications, many of whom report feeling drowsy the following day or experience cognitive impairment. There is also the risk of becoming dependent on the medication. For this reason, people are turning to alternative therapies such as acupuncture as they feel the side effects of insomnia medicine outweigh the benefits.

If you are suffering from struggling to cope due to insomnia, book an appointment at Zhou Wellness with an acupuncture doctor who will advise you of the best course of action to get you a sound night’s sleep, night after night.

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