One of the sleep techniques that have been proven to be extremely effective for many people is acupuncture. As a matter of fact, acupuncture steps in as the ideal way to treat insomnia without the adverse side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs.
This technique has gained bad reputation for being unsupported by scientific evidence. However, the truth is that apart from working on the basis of Chinese medicine and self-experimentation, acupuncture`s benefits, particularly when it comes to promoting better sleep, are backed up by science.
The Evidence Behind Acupuncture for Insomnia
A 2004 report found that in anxiety patients, acupuncture increased the production of melatonin as well as the total sleep time. The patients who underwent acupuncture also fell asleep much faster and were less stressed. As concluded by the researchers, “Acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients with insomnia.”
Another, separate study found that acupuncture promotes better sleep in patients with HIV, among whom sleep problems are extremely common. It was found that “Sleep activity and sleep quality significantly improved following 5 weeks of individualized acupuncture…”
Earlier studies have shown that this technique works for people who are completely healthy, too. A 1999 study discovered that acupuncture helped normal people with insomnia to get a better sleep.
With this being said, it becomes evident that acupuncture works as great way to treat insomnia naturally. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each person has their own pattern that describes how the body is out of balance. This is how using needles at certain points along the different meridians running through the body helps treat that imbalance.
Heart 7 and Pericardium 6 are the most effective points used to treat insomnia. There is a strong relationship between the two, from the anatomical location to the close link between the “Shen” aka spirit and the calming effect. The Traditional Chinese Medicine name for Heart 7 is Shenmen, meaning Spirit Gate while the name for Pericardium is Neiguan, meaning Inner Gate. In some instances, both of them need to be open in order to release bad influences from the inside out and receive positive from the outside in.
Heart 7 is found on the anterior side of the transverse crease of the wrist. There is a tiny depression on the radial side of the ulnar tendon where the point can be located. Sometimes, it`s better to needle this point from the ulnar side under the ulnar tendon as it`s more comfortable.
Pericardium 6 is located on the anterior side of the wrist, about two finger widths from the transverse crease of the wrist. It can be also found between the two tendons running up the arm. Just like Heart 7, this point can also offer radiation sensation when activated.
Although there are many other acupuncture points used during a treatment, these two are a good place to start. Any healing process requires a full mind-body approach, but stimulating these points can be extremely helpful for those struggling with sleep.