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December 2020

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Can Acupuncture Help with Sleep Problems?

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Insomnia is one of the world’s most widespread sleep disorders, one that affects people from many different walks of life. But can acupuncture help with sleep problems?

If you or one of your loved ones suffers from this kind of sleep problem then you will be relieved to know that there are ways to treat insomnia without resorting to the use of powerful prescription drugs, which can have many unpleasant side effects. How? 

By drawing on the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine and using acupuncture as an effective treatment of insomnia.

This short guide will explain some of the most common issues surrounding insomnia, how you can find relief and how acupuncture treatments can improve your sleep quality.


What Causes Insomnia?

Insomnia cartoon

Insomnia is a catch-all term that covers many common sleep issues, with various causes and consequences. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, frequent wake-ups during the night, restless sleep and excessively early morning wake-ups with the inability to get back to sleep.

Persistent insomnia can have a variety of negative health consequences for those who suffer from it, including major impacts to their quality of life. The lack of energy, mood troubles and memory lapses that are commonly reported can be truly demoralizing over time. 

Also, these issues have an effect on everyone in the household, not just the affected person, because they put a strain on relationships and make clear communication more difficult.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia results from imbalances in the body and mind that disrupt our flow of vital energy (Qi). 


Where Do Imbalances Originate From?

These imbalances can stem from a variety of sources, some of which include:

  • Worries – From a Western perspective, this category covers out what most would consider to be anxiety. Racing thoughts and concerns can undermine the proper function of the spleen, liver and heart, which prevents the flow of Qi and disrupts sleep
  • Anger – Strong emotions, including frustration and resentment, affect the liver, and the disrupted Qi troubles the mind, which can trigger insomnia that includes vivid dreams and nightmares.
  • Burnout – Overworking and a lack of proper rest or chronic stress can weaken kidney function, which affects the heart’s energy balance. These imbalances lead to a restless spirit and disturbed sleep.
  • Shy Gallbladder – People who tend to be shy, fearful or who have trouble making decisions can have underlying energy problems relating to the gallbladder and heart. This disrupted flow can lead to the kind of insomnia associated with waking up too early and being unable to get back to sleep.
  • Poor Diet – Overeating or eating too much unhealthy food upsets the stomach and can throw off the body’s heat and moisture levels, which results in disturbed sleep.
  • Menopause- premenopausal or menopausal women may have night sweats which cause frequent waking up and being unable to fall back to sleep. 

( All the internal organs mentioned above are Traditional Chinese Medicine terminology. They are different from anotomic organs. They are more of a functional combination.) 

In many cases, insomnia results from a combination of two or more of these potential causes, which disrupts the body’s flow of Qi in different ways. 

Fortunately, a targeted treatment of acupuncture in Calgary focuses on the correct acupuncture points, and can help re-establish good Qi and treat insomnia effectively.


Find Out How Acupuncture Can Help With Sleep Problems 


Although many Western doctors are quick to prescribe medications to handle insomnia, people are increasingly skeptical of this approach, as the medications used can have many adverse effects, such as dependency and addiction.

Although it has been common knowledge in Eastern cultures for a long time, Western medical culture now agrees that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for insomnia. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is more than a targeted solution to a specific problem, it takes a holistic approach and seeks to promote Qi flow to promote general well being.

More and more people are now embracing the holistic outlook offered by traditional Oriental approaches and getting great results with acupuncture treatments to help them sleep.

In acupuncture treatments, regulating Qi and its yin and yang manifestations are the key to restoring the body’s proper function. Improved energy balance helps foster good overall health and can reduce or eliminate sleep problems. 

In Western parlance, it is believed that acupuncture can improve the function of certain neurotransmitters that are crucial to the synthesis of melatonin, which can have a regulatory effect on sleep cycles.


Southcentre Chinese Acupuncture Can Help

If you, or someone you know, has been suffering from sleep issues like insomnia, Dr. Hong Yan can help! A registered acupuncturist in Calgary with close to 30 years of experience at providing acupuncture treatments, trust Dr. Yan to help resolve a variety of ailments, including stress-related insomnia.

Acupuncture treatments can help you improve your sleep quality without resorting to sleep-aid drugs. If you are looking out for a natural solution to help get a restful night of sleep, book an acupuncture appointment today!

woman meditating in forest with cat

Acupuncture Basics Part 2: Can Acupuncture Help You?

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As mentioned in part 1 of our blog on the subject, acupuncture is an ancient medical practice that facilitates an uninterrupted flow of the body’s Qi through the insertion of acupuncture needles at specific points on the body. 

Some individuals hope for acupuncture to present an immediate cure to their pain or discomfort, but in truth it is usually a more lengthy process, because acupuncture is to activate your own healing system to make you feel better.  Changes usually can be expected after 3 sessions and long last results usually need 6 to 12 visits. 

The good news is, when you consult a licensed practitioner of acupuncture, like Dr. Hong, you will see results, and discover exactly how acupuncture can help you.


Types of Pains Relieved by Acupuncture

Southcentre Chinese Acupuncture offers many specialties to relieve patients of their many ailments.Common reasons people seek acupuncture services for their aches and pains include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Internal organ pain 

These aches and pains can be eased with the help of acupuncture needles, however, you may just be reacting to the symptoms when you need to address the cause. 

The origin of your aches and pains can sometimes be rooted in other areas, such as having too much stress at work, experiencing a respiratory disease, or having a syndrome you’re not aware of, such as IBS

It’s essential to discuss your health with your doctor to give them a complete picture so they can create a targeted acupuncture plan that is right for you.


acupuncturist inserting needle into patient


Does Acupuncture Help for Nerve Pain?

While Easter medical practitioners speak of “Qi” and “meridian points,” Western practitioners use a slightly different vernacular, and may instead explain acupuncture as a way of stimulating the body’s nerves. 

By inserting an ultra-thin acupuncture needle into the body, local nerves send signals to the brain that cause it to release certain chemicals that allow the body to feel less pain, initiate nerve growth, and promote increased blood flow to an affected area. 

Much like a massage, it’s typical to feel sore or fatigued after undergoing an acupuncture session, but the temporary discomfort is well worth it. By stimulating the body in ways that only acupuncture can, your body can begin to more easily heal itself, rather than treating symptoms through harsh chemicals, as is often seen in more Western-oriented medicinal practices.


Visit Your Acupuncture Specialist in Calgary

Even if you’re afraid of needles, many of Dr. Hong’s patients feel at ease because she walks you through the process. We will delve more into how acupuncture may help you.

Southcentre Chinese Acupuncture in Calgary offers a wide array of services to ease your pain and illnesses. Everyone experiences different results, so it may help you, depending on the pain or ailments you’re experiencing. Acupuncture has been around for over 2,000 years, which means there’s a high chance for its success! 

Schedule an appointment today!