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Acupuncture for Insomnia

Insomnia, is one of the most common sleep disorders, characterized by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or early wakening. Insomnia affects 5-10% of the population, an additional 25%–35% have transient or occasional insomnia, with a prevalence of 40% in adults. Insomnia dramatically impacts quality of life and day time activities, patients with insomnia may feel tired, tense, lazy or headache. Chronic insomnia increases the risk of psychopathology and negative health outcomes, such as mental illness and even schizophrenia.

Treating of insomnia being focused on the benzodiazepine receptor agonists. For instance, alprazolam, clonazepam, flunitrazepam, loprazolam, and zolpidem are common commercial available benzodiazepine-receptor agonists. However, although most of them are mostly effective in short-term management of rebound insomnia, they may cause potential side-effects such as damage of memory, drug resistance, dependency, and addiction.

More and more individuals prefer non-pharmacological treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy; however, the high cost of such treatments makes it not accessible for many patients.

Complementary and alternative medicines, such as acupuncture, are used by as many as 25% of people with insomnia. Acupuncture is a promising, safe, and widely available approach for insomnia patients. Insomnia can be treated with many different acupuncture points. In general, a combination of the points around the heat, on the arms and legs is recommended. For insomnia, three main points, HT7 (Shenmen), GV (Baihui), and SP6 (Sanyinjiao) are recommended by the Evidence-Based Guideline of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture can regulating yin and yang to reinforce health and eliminate the pathogenic, thus to improve sleep.

For the improving of insomnia patients’ sleep quality and duration, the combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and tuina massage appears more effective than those interventions alone.

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