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One of the most prevalent conditions of the body, particularly in the US is insomnia. Studies from the US Department of Health and Human Services reveal that roughly 35 percent of all people suffer from some form of insomnia. This ranges from people having difficulty falling asleep to staying asleep in getting a full night’s rest. The lack of sleep offers a wide variety of conditions that range from drowsiness during the day to irritability, shortness of temper and even more serious conditions such as increased risk of acquiring health issues and depression. These particular conditions are most normally treated by some form of medications or drugs including sedatives or antidepressants that may offer more dangerous side effects and serious complications that the insomnia in which they seek to treat. One natural treatment that is gaining more favor is the use of Chinese acupuncture, a form of therapy designed to relax the body and calm the mind that creates the proper conditions to allow a person to fall asleep more regularly and overcome their insomnia.
The Benefits of Acupuncture Therapy
There are numerous benefits to acupuncture in treating insomnia which starts with the fact that there are no drugs or medications that are used. Instead, acupuncture uses the traditions of Chinese medicines that are gaining favor in the West. Noninvasive: Although the needles penetrate the skin, their effect is not fully into the body. Therefore, this is considered a noninvasive treatment of insomnia. Safe & No Side Effects: Because no drugs are used, the overall effect of acupuncture is that of being safe to the body. This means that other methods of treating insomnia can be used, but in many cases may not be needed in terms of using pharmaceutical treatments. Lifestyle: Acupuncture is often best used in combination with other traditional Chinese methods that include improving the diet, changing the lifestyle, including herbal treatments and Quigong or energy practices that soothe the mind and body.
The Effects of Acupuncture on Insomnia
There has been a considerable amount of research in acupuncture as an effective treatment for insomnia. One of the most interesting studies was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing in 2003 where a series of studies by the University of Pittsburgh over a 27 year period demonstrated that in 11 different experiments performed on a number of subjects who suffered from insomnia that their condition improved dramatically as a result of acupuncture treatment. There have been many other studies as well which have confirmed the effectiveness of acupuncture on the body in terms of reducing or even completely relieving the effects of insomnia. Over the past 40 to 50 years there have been many different studies and clinical trials which have shown the positive effects of acupuncture treatment. In fairness, many of these studies have been performed in China, but there have been enough studies in the Western part of the world which has confirmed the standing that acupuncture has on the body. In addition, many of these studies also included what were known as “placebo” treatments on another group to compare the differences. In all cases, the group which received the acupuncture treatment did far better than the control group which tends to eliminate the psychological effect of believing that the treatment may or may not work. In addition to helping people fall asleep, acupuncture was also demonstrated to help people sleep better as well. Acupuncture helped people in sleep for at least six hours straight and felt more refreshed when they awoke in the morning. It would appear from the overall effect of the treatment that the acupuncture delivered results that extended beyond merely helping people fall asleep. In fact, it was noted that the effects of acupuncture was so profound that it actually out-performed pharmaceutical medications such as diazepam or Valium that has been in use for decades. Acupuncture treatments are today considered a very powerful weapon in combating insomnia when the patient uses it in conjunction with other forms of treatment as well such as diet, exercise, limitations on caffeine and the like.
In addition to the duration, the quality of sleep enjoyed by those who have undergone the treatment was quite remarkable as recent studies have concluded. In fact, subjects who underwent more than one form of acupuncture also benefitted from the treatment as well. In 2009, a study published in the Chinese Medical Journal demonstrated that electro-acupuncture treatments offer increased improvements in terms of the quality of sleep. Longer REM times and slow wave times of sleep were improved dramatically in patients who otherwise suffered from insomnia. Not only were the treatments effective immediately, but even one month after they were completed 67% of the participants were still free of insomnia, making this one of the most effective forms of acupuncture treatments to be used against sleep deprivation. There is little doubt that electro-acupuncture treatments will be used more frequently when combating insomnia in the future in addition to the traditional form as well as combined with other natural therapies as well. Since acupuncture has proven to be so effective, more doctors are now recommending this form of treatment to their patients since it involves no form of drugs or medications which have detrimental side effects to the body. In fact, the overall natural approach of acupuncture has helped many thousands of people find relief from insomnia and other sleep issues which have allowed them to enjoy a full nights’ sleep without disturbance. Perhaps not a revolution, but certainly a new way of thinking with the success of acupuncture has led many doctors to reconsider this form of treatment and get away from the medications of the past. With no known side effects and other natural treatments being encouraged, this may stand as a way to finally treat insomnia in a completely natural way. With acupuncture being covered by many different insurance plans, many more people will be able to experience acupuncture treatments as a way to eliminate insomnia from their lives without the use of drugs or medications.