A good night’s sleep is one of the three pillars of health according to Chinese Medicine. Suffering from insomnia creates misery. When we don’t sleep well we feel exhausted and this in turn affects our ability to cope with life day to day. Our ability to think is compromised and our zest for life disappears. We may end up missing work or having to call in sick, we will look tired and we will age prematurely.
At the Acupuncture Works, we carefully differentiate the cause(s) of your insomnia and set you back on the right path. As part of your Personal Treatment Plan (PTP), you will receive a course of acupuncture treatments designed to ‘re-balance’ your systems, exercises to compliment treatment, lists of foods to enjoy as well as those to avoid and suggestions regarding your lifestyle to help improve your overall health and well being.
- Call 01273 359 050 to book an appointment or arrange a free 20 minute consultation
- Or book now using The Acupuncture Works Online Booking System
And start looking forward to a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
The term insomnia covers a wide range of sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleep, waking in the night, being disturbed by dreams, sleeping restlessly and waking early in the morning.
From a Chinese perspective the amount and the quality of sleep a person receives depends on the state of the Mind, which is also referred to as Shen.
The Chinese model states that the Mind is rooted in the Heart and more specifically in the Heart Blood and Heart Yin.
It follows that if the Heart is healthy, the Blood will be abundant and the Mind will be well rooted and sleep will be sound. However if the Heart is agitated or deficient, the Blood will not be of a great quality and the Mind will not be properly rooted and sleep will be affected.
According to the classics, ‘When a person lies down and cannot sleep, it means the yin organs are injured so that the essence has no residence and is not quiet and the person cannot sleep’.
The Mind is not the only aspect of a person that needs to be considered when it comes to sleep; the Chinese system places a great emphasis on the Hun otherwise translated as the Ethereal Soul. When the Hun is well rooted in the Liver Blood or Liver Yin, the sleep will be normal without too many dreams. When the Liver Blood or Yin is deficient, the Hun is deprived of it’s residence and the Hun wanders causing restless sleep with tiring dreams.
The classics state that ‘At night during sleep the Ethereal soul returns to the Liver, if the Ethereal Soul is not peaceful there are a lot of dreams’.
The classics also state that: ‘Overexertion, worrying and excessive thinking injure Blood and fluids so that the Mind and Ethereal Soul are deprived of residence and insomnia results’, and ‘Worrying and excessive thinking injure the Spleen so that it cannot make Blood and insomnia results’.
There maybe other issues such as asthma or shoulder / back pain or itching from a skin complaint, and none of these things can truly be classified as insomnia since the sleep issues will resolve once the presenting problems subside.Insomnia may not always be down to internal issue and my be attributed to external causes that are likely to be temporary, such as sudden changes in the weather, a bedroom which is too hot or too cold, drinking too much tea or coffee close to sleeping, emotional upset or worrying about something specific.
The best sleeping position (see diagram above) is a person lying on their right side, legs slightly bent, right arm bent and resting in front of the pillow, left arm resting on the left thigh. In this position, the heart is in a high position so that Blood can circulate freely, the liver is in a low position and blood can collect there to root the Ethereal soul and promote sleep, and the stomach and duodenum are in a position to encourage the downward movement of food.
When we overwork and worry a lot the energy of our Spleen, Lungs and Heart are injured. When the Spleen energy is deficient, it cannot produce enough Blood, which means that the the Heart and Mind are affected; the Mind is unable to settle into its residence (good quality Heart Blood) and insomnia results.
If the effects or worry anxiety do not cause the Heart Blood to become deficient, it may lead to Heart-Fire if there is a constitutional tendency towards excess, the Heart Fire blazes upwards, agitating the Mind and causing insomnia.
Mental overwork under extreme stress combined with irregular diet and excessive sexual activity will weaken Kidney Yin, which if depleted over long periods of time, will fail to nourish Heart Yin leading to Empty Heat.
This is seen more often in people who tend to worry and is recognised as Heart and Kidneys not harmonized.
Since Chinese Medicine is a circle and not a line, the reverse is also true. That is to say severe emotional strain over a long period will give rise to Heart Fire, which flares upwards and fails to communicate downwards with the Kidneys.
Excessive Fire injures Kidney Yin and may lead to Kidney Yin deficiency, the result is Kidneys and Heart are not harmonised and is seen commonly in insomnia with the elderly.