Patients battling chronic insomnia can tell you that insufficient or poor quality sleep leads not only to irritability and exhaustion, but also to muscle stiffness, impaired cognitive function, fibromyalgia, and other significant mental health problems. Commonly, Western medicine will search for a physical or emotional problem causing the sleeplessness, but TCM recognizes that insomnia can stem from a fundamental imbalance of energy, or qi. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), sleep is part of the natural rhythm of yin and yang in the body. Yin and yang are opposites: When we sleep, yin is the dominant force in the body. In the day, when we are active, yang dominates. Insomnia is a sign of a disruption to one's natural rhythm of yin and yang.
While Western medicine sleeping pills and anti-depressants are commonly prescribed for insomnia and other sleep disorders, these prescriptions can become addictive and patients can find it difficult to sleep naturally, without pills or medicine in the future. Patients may find better relief through the natural based treatments of acupuncture and herbal remedies.
The pairing of acupuncture with herbal remedies can bring relief to patients with chronic insomnia, nightmares, and even sleep apnea. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture helps release extra neurotransmitters into the central nervous system, including serotonin which regulates sleep patterns. As a result, acupuncture can be used to improve the quality of sleep without the sluggish side effects associated with most sleeping pills.