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Treating Insomnia with Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
By Susan M. Glod, L.Ac.

Most of us suffer from the occasional sleepless night, commonly attributed to such things as a stressful day, too much caffeine, a spouse’s snoring, or a myriad of other short term problems. But for many it is more than a temporary annoyance, and can have significant impact on health and well being.
The typical treatment for insomnia, (when any serious underlying health issues have been excluded) usually includes diet or lifestyle modifications, relaxation techniques, and prescription medications such as sedatives & hypnotics. These treatments can be very effective, but sleep medications can have undesirable side effects, and some people may instead opt for no treatment at all, or struggle to reduce their medications. This is where complementary medicine such as acupuncture& herbal therapy can have a big impact in helping you get a good night’s sleep and to restoring the sleep cycle.
In traditional Chinese medicine, sleep is seen as the sinking down of the active & dynamic “Yang” energy of the body, which then unfolds and yields to the “Yin”, or the quiescent, restorative aspects of the body. Insomnia results when the active energy is hyperactive or unable to be subdued, or if certain pathological elements “harass” the Yin aspects. Your practitioner will ask you detailed questions which help to determine the root cause of your insomnia, and where the disharmony is. For example, you may be asked if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up at a certain hour every night? Do you have vivid dreams or nightmares? Does your mind race at night? Is it worse with stress? Do you sleepwalk or talk in your sleep? Any major anxiety or heart flutters at bedtime? Are your legs restless?
Combined with a detailed health history and tongue and pulse examination, your answers will give the practitioner a good indication as to what organ, substance, or energetic system is out of balance, and thus, what acupuncture points and herbal combinations that will be most effective in treatment to restore your “Yin” and “Yang” balance and the sleep cycle.
Susan Glod is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. She is the owner of Confluence Healing Community Acupuncture & Herbs in Scott Towne Center located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. For more information, visit www.confluencehealing.com or call (412) 279-1115.

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