Acupuncture has been a buzzword recently, with interest in this ancient Chinese treatment skyrocketing as more and more people seek out safe alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions. Anecdotal and some clinical evidence indicates that acupuncture can be helpful for treating a wide variety of conditions, including sleep disturbances like insomnia. But what exactly is acupuncture, and how does this crazy-sounding treatment help people sleep better? Let’s find out…
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice. While it is viewed as new and exciting in the U.S., other cultures have used acupuncture for centuries to treat a whole host of medical, behavioral, and mental conditions. Acupuncture is done by inserting tiny, razor-thin needles just under the skin at certain points around the body. In TCM, this is thought to improve the flow of Qi, or life energy, around the body.
Scientifically speaking, acupuncture causes change by inhibiting sensory signals, like pain, where the needles are inserted. When acupuncture is done on someone inside an MRI machine, widespread activity can be seen in the brain. While this brain activity isn’t fully understood, it is clear that acupuncture has a direct effect on the nervous system.
Causes of Sleep Disturbances
Before we talk about how acupuncture helps improve sleep quality, let’s talk about why people don’t get a good sleep in the first place. Chronic pain is a leading cause of sleep disturbances like insomnia in American adults. Other causes include anxiety, depression, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, uncomfortable bedding, working night shifts, and some other medical conditions. Some cases of insomnia cannot be attributed to an underlying cause.
How Acupuncture Promotes Better Sleep
Now that we know why we’re not getting good sleep, let’s do something about it. Acupuncture has been shown to improve many of the conditions that cause poor sleep, such as anxiety and even sleep apnea. But exactly how acupuncture creates all this positive change is still a bit of a mystery. As we mentioned before, acupuncture is seen by scientists as a neuromodulator, blocking certain sensory signals that cause discomfort and pain. However, some of the effects of acupuncture cannot be explained with this theory, such as improved oxygen saturation levels in sleep apnea patients. More research is needed to understand the pathways acupuncture uses to improve health, what conditions it is best used for, and the best treatment practices.
Acupuncture Services in Tampa and Wesley Chapel
If you’re ready to try acupuncture for your sleep problems in Tampa Bay, make the call to Florida Injury & Wellness Center at 813-638-0830 to schedule your appointment. Better sleep is waiting!