Treating Insomnia With Traditional Chinese Medicine

There are various causes of sleeplessness. In Western Medicine, insomnia is usually linked to stress and anxiety as well as depression. Some health problems that cause pain may also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping disorders are also common among women going through menopause.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain deficiencies in the body cause sleeplessness, particularly Blood Deficiency. TCM physiology sees Blood as the house of the Spirit and the Spirit will keep the mind awake all night if the Blood is weak, which happens when there are imbalances in the organs related to the Blood such as the liver and the spleen. 

In TCM, Heart Blood Deficiency causes the type of insomnia where a person finds it difficult to fall asleep while Heart Yin Deficiency causes sleep that is often disturbed and where the person finds it difficult to fall back to sleep. 

Treating insomnia generally calls for changes in one’s lifestyle. However, when such changes fail to enhance sleep quality, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers alternative options to help get adequate and restful sleep such as the use of natural herbal formulas and dietary recommendations.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends certain foods which are good for encouraging a good night’s sleep, including seaweeds and oyster shell. Some vegetables, such as beets and asparagus, also help in relieving sleeplessness. Beef is also recommended for insomniacs because it is believed to help tone the Heart Yin and Heart Blood.

Stress and anxiety are also seen in TCM as external factors that contribute to insomnia so there are also specific foods and herbs such as Mimosa tree bark, Reishi mushroom and Senega root that practitioners prescribe to calm the spirit and nourish the heart in order to treat stress-related sleeplessness. 

For short-term insomnia, an acupuncturist can offer some relief because it helps to calm the nervous system and balance the flow of Qi in the body. Mindful exercises such as Qi Gong are also helpful in calming the spirit and restoring harmony in the body, the lack of which definitely causes sleeplessness.

Because varying factors can lead to insomnia, there may be deeper health issues causing it that need to be addressed. Therefore, it is best for people suffering chronic insomnia who would like to try TCM to consult with a licensed practitioner who will customize a treatment plan for them

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