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Acupuncture benefits sleep and reduces insomnia. Researchers conducted a single-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled investigation comparing acupuncture with sham acupuncture and estazolam, a benzodiazepine medication. True (verum) acupuncture produced significantly superior patient outcomes for insomnia patients including improvements in sleep quality and total sleep time.
A two month follow-up to the treatment regime demonstrates that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and estazolam for the improvement of sleep quality. True acupuncture also produced superior clinical results for sleep efficiency and daytime functioning. Acupuncture improved daytime functioning including: fatigue reduction, reduced sleepiness, increased alertness and concentration, reduced mood disturbances.
The researchers adhered to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) manual acupuncture techniques and attribute the positive patient outcomes to following traditional treatment protocol guidelines. According to TCM principles, de qi is an indication of the effectiveness of acupuncture. The research team ensured that de qi was achieved at most of the acupuncture points. De qi is often subjectively reported as fullness or a radiating sensation felt at acupuncture points during needling. It is also reported as a tugging or pulling motion by acupuncturists applying the needles. The researchers note that de qi was achieved at 85% of the acupuncture points and that this may have been the reason for the effectiveness of the acupuncture.
Reporting on TCM theory concerning healthy sleep, the researchers note that sleep is regarded as a cycle. There is an energetic daytime functioning of individuals and a restful nocturnal sleep portion of the cycle. If the cycle is broken, there may be low spiritedness in the daytime and hyperarousal states in the nighttime. The function of acupuncture is to restore the normal cycle. Acupuncture points used in the study were classically based selections from TCM:
A related insomnia study had similar conclusions. Researchers compared acupuncture combined with herbal medicine to estazolam intake. Acupuncture combined with herbs demonstrated significantly superior patient outcomes to the medication group. In addition, estazolam produced serious adverse effects including headaches, fatigue, dry mouth and dizziness. Acupuncture did not produce any serious adverse effects.
The herbal medicine used in the study was the herbal formula Shen Zao An Shen Tang. The acupuncture points used in the study were:
Guo, Jing, Lin-Peng Wang, Cun-Zhi Liu, Jie Zhang, Gui-Ling Wang, Jing-Hong Yi, Jin-Lian Cheng, and R. Musil. "Efficacy of acupuncture for primary insomnia: a randomized controlled clinical trial." Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 57, no. 4 (2014): 31-32.
Kou, Ji-you, Yan Wei, Xin Tong, and Long Yang. "Effect of combined acupuncture and Shen Zao An Shen Tang on sleep quality of insomnia patients due to deficiency of the heart and spleen." Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science 12, no. 2 (2014): 96-100.
Wen, Xiuyun, Qian Wu, Jingshu Du, and Wenbin Fu. "Effect of compatibility of Lie Que (LU7) and Zhao Hai (KI6) on insomnia caused by depression: a randomized controlled trial." Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Engineering 145 (2014): 227.
- See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1426-acupuncture-beats-drug-for-sleep#sthash.vJ372NQh.dpuf
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
AIAN provides education, training, and facilities to local and visiting medical personnel. Its Free Clinic administers successful treatments for both acute and seriously chronic conditions, markedly enhancing the overall quality of life for its patients.
The AIAN is one of the several institutions operated by Ananda Marga Gurukula - an autonomous university. Based on Neo-Humanist Education Values, it aims at liberating the individual and society-at-large from physical and mental bondage, thereby clearing a path for spiritual realization.
The free clinic at Ananda Nagar sees 40 to 60 patients daily. Currently the entire clinic is supported by the donations generated from two small Acupuncture clinics in rural Vermont where patients accept a two dollar increase to their fee, which is donated to the program.
A monthly, yearly or one-time donation is a way to show your support and help AIAN meet their needs for space, supplies and equipment so that they can continue to provide quality care and training. The AIAN is a registered 501(c)3 organization, your donation is tax deductible.
For more information on AIAN, visit www.acuindia.org
Can benefits of acupuncture be confirmed by something as concrete as allopathic blood tests? Here are a couple of examples from our practice:
About a year ago a woman in her early seventies came to the clinic complaining of fatigue, disturbed sleep and declining kidney function. It was confirmed by three years of blood tests that measured GFR or Glomerular Filtration Rate, a test that checks how efficient the kidneys are in filtering blood. In each consequtive year the woman's GFR would decline by about 7% and it stood at 49% by the time she came for acupuncture treatments. After receiving 12 acupuncture treatments, the patient was asked to retake the blood test. The results showed that her GFR now stood at 56%. Not only was the decline halted, it was reversed and her kidneys became more efficient. It would be interesting to see how long these results would hold and if subsequent tests would show continuous improvement.
Hypothyroidism is a fairly common condition in which thyroid gland begins underperforming. Common symptoms are fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, disturbed sleep, and erratic menstrual periods. Blood tests that are used to diagnose hypothyroidism measure TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) among a few other markers. If TSH is elevated, a patient may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
A woman in mid-thirties came to the clinic looking for help with hypothyroidism that was confirmed by the TSH blood test. She also suffered from the usual symptoms of underperforming thyroid following child birth, a common sequence of events, especially if there is considerable blood loss during labor. After 12 acupuncture treatments and about 2 months of herbs, her subjective symptoms resolved and, when she took the blood test, it showed TSH to be within normal range. It has now been 2 years later and the woman is symptom free.
Thus, we can see that acupuncture's effects can be confirmed by blood tests, something that has long been known in China and Russia, two countries that fully integrate acupuncture into their health care systems. It is our hope that in the United States also, allopathic and acupuncture communities increase their cooperation and explore what other conditions can be successfully treated by integrating both disciplines.