Insomnia is often referred to as a sleeping disorder that is defined by a difficulty in staying and/or falling asleep. Individuals suffering from insomnia possess one or more of these symptoms:
-Feeling tired upon waking
-Trouble getting back to sleep
-Waking up during the night
-Arising too early in the morning
-Difficulty falling asleep
Based on the statistics gathered by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Sleep Disorders around 30 to 40% of American adults suffer from insomnia each year with about 11% to 15% of them experiencing chronic insomnia. Persons who have difficulty sleeping each night without interruption for months or even years are quite uncommon. Individuals usually experience sleeping problems for a few nights (termed chronic-intermittent insomnia), followed by some nights of sufficient sleep which again is followed by some nights of sleeping difficulties.
The CDC or Center for Disease Control also did a study which sampled the US population during the years 2005 to 2010. This study showed that around 9 million adults (4% of the population) availed of prescription sleep in one month alone. This high rate of chronic and acute insomnia makes it easy to see why the pharmaceutical industry is raking in tens of billions of dollars each year just from sales in sleeping pills and drugs.
Most of us know that getting quality and sufficient amount of sleep is vital to maintaining good emotional and physical health. Homeostasis suffers when the body does not get adequate sleep. This generates an imbalance that causes illness and disease. A weak immune system (as well as weakness in the other body systems) can make the body very vulnerable, and this can affect all aspects of your being.
In alleviating the symptoms of insomnia, Western medicine provides us with prompt but oftentimes short-term relief modalities. Most of these are in the form of pharmaceutical drugs that have a litany of side effects. Moreover, the dosages need to be increased up to a point when the person eventually becomes dependent to it. This dependency can then turn into a full-fledged addiction to the drug.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a different strategy when addressing insomnia. This type of medicine not only targets the symptoms but addresses the underlying cause of the symptoms as well. By seeing the patient in a holistic way, combining Chinese herbs and acupuncture, and using differential diagnosis, the central core of the problem can be known and treated accordingly regardless if it’s a deficiency or an excess problem.
If insomnia is diagnosed as an excess problem, fire or heat is usually responsible for the problem. The insomnia may then be differentiated as either deficient fire or excess fire and range from Liver fire to Heart heat to a disharmony between the Kidney and Heart or a Heart yin deficiency. Each different pattern begets its own specific symptoms and thus will need a unique way of addressing it.
People experiencing insomnia and are diagnosed with a deficiency problem usually suffer from a deficiency in yin, Qi, or blood. These three substances possess both energetic and physical attributes that are well defined within the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medicine and are important ingredients for well-being and balance. A deficiency diagnosis can include Gallbladder and Heart deficiency, Spleen and Heart deficiency, and Heart blood deficiency. Like an excess diagnosis, each deficiency diagnosis necessitates a unique form of treatment.
People may see TCM as not really a treatment convincing enough to switch to when all that’s needed to resolve their insomnia is to just go the pharmacy and buy some over the counter drugs. As this article has pointed out, drugs merely and temporarily address the symptoms that come back as soon as the effects of the drugs wear off. TCM addresses the core problem that is causing the symptoms. Once the underlying problem, is resolved, TCM practitioners can entirely eliminate the health issue it is causing.
Countless numbers of people who have suffered from acute and chronic insomnia have had an incredible improvement in their quality of life. Moreover, their days of taking sleeping medications to help them get some very important quality sleep are done and so the dangerous side effects that come with these drugs are avoided.
If you have decided to once and for all tackle your insomnia and want a more effective, safe and natural treatment for it, then consult with a licensed and accredited acupuncturist today and get ready to experience the kind of sleep you have been longing for a long time.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.