Acupuncture - Insomnia

Do you struggle to get to sleep even when you are really tired?

Do you wake up in the early hours feeling wide awake and can’t fall back to sleep?

How are you when you wake in the morning, do you feel refreshed or do you feel groggy and fatigued?

If so, you are certainly not alone. Many people that I see at my practice tell me that they experience difficulties sleeping.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in adults. Symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently during the night, waking up early and not being able to fall back to sleep and feeling groggy and tired when you wake up. Insomnia can be classified into two types by its duration.

Acute insomnia

This occurs briefly and is caused by life circumstances such as worry about a presentation the following day, jetlag or shift work.  Acute insomnia often resolves on its own without the need for intervention.

Chronic insomnia

This type of insomnia is diagnosed when a person’s sleep problems have occurred for at least three times per week for three months.

What are the effects of  Insomnia?

Although we often talk about the symptoms experienced during the night by people suffering from insomnia during the night the condition also extends to cause havoc in one’s day too. As a result of lack of sleep sufferers can experience feeling drowsy during the daytime, find it difficult to concentrate, feel irritable and feel tired or when the condition has been ongoing totally exhausted. The vicious cycle that insomnia creates is that the more you can’t sleep the more you worry about not sleeping. This alone can prevent you from drifting off into a deep restorative sleep. Especially when you know you have to be at you’re the following day if you have a particularly busy day at work or a more demanding day than usual with the children planned. 

What causes insomnia?

The cause of insomnia varies from individual to individual. Chronic insomnia is usually caused by underlying physical or emotional factors. These can include feelings of anxiety, worry, and depression. People can also find it difficult to sleep when they experience pain from other health conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Hormonal changes can also play a role from pregnancy to painful periods to hot flushes during the menopause. Another consideration is that certain medications can interfere with sleep.

Why me?

Understanding the cause of your insomnia is of paramount importance to establish an effective treatment plan. So ask yourself the following

  • Do you often feel stressed?
  • Do you suffer from low mood or feel depressed?
  • Are you often anxious and worrying about future events?
  • Have you recently had a traumatic experience?
  • Do you take any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
  • Do you experience physical pain as a result of a health condition?
  • have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
  • Is your bed comfortable and is your bedroom quiet and dark?
  • Do you follow the same sleep/wake schedule every day?
  • Do your symptoms change at certain times of the month?

How can acupuncture help?

As with any health condition, the cornerstone to establishing an acupuncture treatment protocol is by understanding YOU and your experience of insomnia rather than trying to understand the condition.

This starts with a full case history taken during your first treatment with me. We will discuss when your symptoms first started and how your symptoms manifest, for example, do you have difficulty going to or staying asleep, or both? Are there particular times you tend to wake? How do you feel when you are awake, do you have racing thoughts?

From this information, I will then select certain acupuncture points based on your symptoms to help rebalance your energy and to promote deep relaxation.

Acupuncture is one modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which takes a holistic view of healing, it believes that our lifestyle and the environment around us can either negatively or positively affect our health. Therefore to ensure that your treatment fits within this holistic framework we will also take a look at these factors so that we can provide you with strategies you can incorporate to improve your health in between treatments.

How many sessions will I need?

Although your progress is discussed at the beginning of each appointment and more individual guidance can be given during the initial consultation I would propose a general treatment schedule of five to six weekly sessions. 

Alongside this incorporating any advice given to provide further help at home. The five to six-session mark is an average, for some particularly when the condition has not been longstanding results can be seen quicker than this. For others who have suffered from insomnia for many years, and other health conditions are present we may need to extend the treatment schedule.

 Any questions, I’d love to hear from you!

What to expect when you come for treatment with me:

When I first meet a client I take a full case history so I can gain as much insight as possible into their condition and the best way to help them. This is because although two people may present with the same health complaint the cause of the condition is often different. So treatment is tailored to the person rather than to the condition.

There are many Acupuncture points on the body and depending on your condition they may be selected on your arms, legs, torso or back. After your consultation very fine needs are inserted into these points, at this point people usually start to feel very relaxed.

I may also incorporate other healing modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine such as Gua-Sha, using a specialist tool to help to reduce pain and inflammation or Tui-Na (Chinese Massage). More commonly I use cupping where glass or plastic cups are placed on the body in either fixed or sliding positions. Cupping can be used to release pathogens from the body, promote detoxification from tissues, relax muscles, release tension, break up congestion and strengthen the body.

After the treatment, when appropriate I will offer lifestyle advice. This is usually nutritional but can include environmental or self massage techniques that can be applied between treatments.

I am always happy to discuss acupuncture without obligation so please feel free to mail me if you have any questions.

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