Acupuncture & Herbs
Meditation / QiGong
Essential Oils & Ear Reflexology
In case you have never heard of yin and yang, these are the polar forces that are reflected in everything in the natural world. Yin is related to stillness, tranquility, and contemplation. Yang is related to movement, accomplishment, and function. We need yin and yang to be in balance within ourselves in order to experience true health and wellbeing.
This is one of the main dilemmas that we face in terms of experiencing deep states of continuous sleep. We have forgotten how to turn our minds off due to the frantic speed of everything around us and we have become yin deficient.
The common word is stress, but there is a lot more to this picture than is implied. Another way to look at this is that the sympathetic nervous system is on overdrive. We are stuck in fight or flight mode, as we are trying to keep up with our hectic schedules and myriad responsibilities. We have excessive amounts of cortisol and adrenaline in our systems, which keep us feeling amped up and unable to rest.
With the pattern of yin deficiency and a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, we often feel too warm, excessively thirsty, dried out, and anxious. This pattern is extremely common in menopausal women. Due to the fact that we are in fight or flight, we sometimes can’t tell if we are tired. We often feel wired or manic. Yet other times a deep-seated exhaustion is felt that penetrates into our bones.
There are many other factors that contribute to insomnia, but this is the primary issue that many people are facing. Other potential inputs are nutritional imbalances, suppressed emotions, relationship troubles, hormonal imbalances, and energetic imbalances.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top natural treatment options for insomnia:
1) Acupuncture: All of the major organs of the body are related to specific kinds of insomnia. For instance, there is a liver/gall bladder insomnia in which one is kept awake strategizing, planning and scheduling their lives at night. This person often can’t turn their minds off unless they read or watch TV before bed. Likewise, there are kidney, heart, lung and spleen forms of insomnia that all have specific manifestations. Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option for insomnia, regardless of its etiology.
For chronic insomnia, we generally recommend receiving acupuncture once a week for 4-6 weeks, then we can assess for progress. Acupuncture helps to restore balance to the central nervous system and harmonize Qi, the functional energy that underlies our general state of health. Qi can either become stagnant, meaning that too much energy is locked up in a certain area or organ, or it can become deficient, meaning that there is not enough energy in an area or organ. Either pattern can cause insomnia and both are treatable with acupuncture.
2) Herbs: There are many Chinese and Western herbs that can be very helpful for insomnia. Chinese herbs are typically used in combination to create formulas that treat specific patterns of disharmony. Western herbs are frequently used on their own. The great thing about herbs is that they don’t cause the drowsiness and disorientation that many of the Western sedative drugs do. Here is a great list, and our Acupuncturist can help you make an appropriate selection.
4) Energy Healing: Many people find light touch/no touch energy healing helps them to reach a mind state that is so relaxed it becomes a mentally transformed experience. In this altered state, it can feel like floating, energetic sensations throughout the body or in focused areas, and simultaneously being in a deep sleep while being aware of not being asleep. Medical QiGong Energy Healing uses the same energy pathways as acupuncture, and externally re-balances energy (Qi) flow to assist in healing symptoms.
5) Meditation and QiGong: Meditation – either still or gently moving like QiGong, is a deeply restorative practice and can replicate many of the benefits of sleep. In fact, meditation is often considered to be even more beneficial because it can lead to a state of non-thought, which is said by many spiritual traditions to be the deepest state of relaxation and healing possible for human beings. In sleep, our minds are still processing and dreaming. Spend 15 minutes before bed meditating and it will quite likely allow you to fall asleep faster and to sleep more peacefully. Not sure how to do this? We can teach you, and there are many excellent guided meditations.
6) See our YouTube video on Essential Oil and Ear Reflexology for Insomnia. Click the image to access the video.