What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a condition whereby one suffers sleeplessness. This is experienced at night when one wakes up in the middle of the night and stays awake till dawn. Why is insomnia a concern? Well, sleeplessness leads to irritability, fatigue and low concentration due to reduced energy, mood alterations as well as slow pace of functioning in the normal activities.
However, insomnia can develop into chronic cases whereby one continually fails to fall asleep throughout the night. Serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart related ailments and metabolic diseases like diabetes may surface over time if insomnia is not addressed.
Typically, insomnia can be classified under the following categories:
- Not able to fall asleep quickly
- Awakening shortly after falling asleep and unable to resume sleeping
- Not able to sleep soundly
- Unable to sleep at all
Common Causes of Insomnia
Physical causes of insomnia
Hormonal changes may lead to insomnia that might be mild or severe. This is common in women who experience drastic change in hormonal composition especially during different phases of the menstrual cycle, menstrual cramps, pregnancy, during breastfeeding period and menopausal period. When the hormone changes, the sleeping patterns of an individual might be affected hence suffering from insomnia.
Advanced age can also lead to insomnia. When one is aging, the levels of melatonin which is the hormone responsible for sleeping decreases gradually. This accounts for insomnia cases prevalent in elderly individuals.
There are other causes such as apnea and genes. Apnea is a condition whereby a brief absence of breathing activities occurs in a person at night. Also, genes might make one prone to insomnia. This leads to inability to fall asleep.
Psychological Causes of Insomnia
Anxiety is a condition characterized by constant worry, fear of known and unknown or feeling of helplessness and uncertainty. Anxiety comes as a result of financial constrains, relationship issues, insecurity and other social problems that lead to unending tension. This may make the affected person unable to fall asleep.
Also, intense stress causes psychological disturbance that keeps the mind active even at night making it difficult for one to sleep. Stress is a condition that results from excessive worry and concern over different issues that affects daily life.
In addition, mild or severe depression can lead to insomnia. This is a psychological condition that causes of insomnia that can be described as intense feeling of misery, sadness and sense of giving up.
Insomnia can be caused by transient events that occur once in a while in an individual’s life. Change of the time zone or working hours. When an individual travels across the world to areas with different time zone may disrupt one’s sleeping patterns. Also, working on night shifts may lead to insomnia.
In addition, immediate changes in life results to adjustment sleep disorder which manifests in insomnia. These changes may be physical or psychological. For example, moving from one house into another in a different location may lead to insomnia before one gets used to the new locality. Also, loss of a loved one either through death or separation due to broken relationships may result to insomnia.
Relieving Insomnia through Traditional Chinese Therapy
Traditional Chinese methods offer a natural relief for insomnia without intake of drugs with chemicals that may lead to other problems in the body. Here are some therapies that are effective in the relief of insomnia.
1. Moxibustion Therapy
One of China’s most ancient art of healing enriched with thousands of years of history, Moxibustion Therapy entails the use of Moxa stick (infused with chinese herbs) to stimulate adequate blood circulation throughout different parts of the body using heat. The therapy is effective against ailment such as rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia treatment, lower back pain, irregular periods, dysmenorrhea when applied across various ‘acupuncture’ or ‘meridian’ points to activate the flow of energy (‘qi’) and blood in the body.
For insomnia, moxibustion is usually applied on the meridian point located in the head and middle of the sole of the heel of the foot. Stimulating the flow for this point enables the production of melatonin to induce a deep, sound and restful sleep.
Moxibustion therapy helps to restore the natural circadian rhythm of the body, allowing one to sleep through the night, and assuring quality sleep which is adequate and refreshing. Here, only the most popular form of moxibustion technique (indirect moxibustion) is practiced over direct moxibustion.
Clinical trials conducted has led testament to the curative effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on insomnia. The therapy led to significant improvement for those who exhibit insomnia symptoms through better sleeping quality, time to fall asleep and improvement in sleeping disorder.
2. Cupping therapy
There has been a persistent trend of insomnia sufferers resorting to taking sleeping pills to help them sleep better “effective only” for that day with every intake. To be able to sleep subsequently, they are likely to continue with the intake of sleeping pills.
However, taking sleeping pills is not without its accompanying side effects. One will normally feel groggy all day long. Furthermore, there are side effects due to continual ingestion of these chemical pills.
Instead, one should consider the use of natural, self-healing and self-regulating therapy for relieving the symptoms of insomnia. The use of cupping therapy entails the use of cups that are placed on the skin then warmed or sanctioned to reduce the air pressure in them. This therapy stimulates the flow of energy in the body leading to healing of the body.
Our trained therapist will place the cups for about 5-10 minutes, building it up for not longer than 30 minutes. Essential oil will also be applied before hand for penetration and to produce a comprehensive warm flow of energy (‘qi’) in the meridians of the body, enhancing vitality and blood circulation.
Essentially Cupping Therapy will aid to relieve insomnia through the following:
- Improve and balance hormone production
Cupping will assist to balance the level of stress-hormones such as adrenalin and natural produced noradrenalin. Through cupping therapy, the production of your sleep hormone (Melatonin) will also be increased gradually when applied 30 minutes before bed time.
- Heat Regulation
Whether you feel excessively hot or cold, one’s body temperature is another determining factor affecting and disrupting your sleep pattern. Through cupping, your body’s ability to regulate your basal metabolic temperature will improve, keeping you comfortable and asleep.
- Activation of the Parasympathetic Nervous System
This will decrease your heartbeat, calm the nerves and relax your mind, relieving symptoms of insomnia.
Note: depending on the amount of toxic in the body, you will be left with a few cup kisses over the next few days.
3. Gua Sha therapy
Gua Sha therapy involves the use of a scrapping plate with a round edge to massage the different acupuncture points of the body. The friction generates heat and a ultrasonic pulse beneficial for the release of toxins from the body that might be contributing to inability to fall asleep. However, one may develop painless bruise like marks on the body that disappears within three days. It is advisable to increase intake of water in order to effectively flash out the toxins from the body leading to healing of insomnia.
Traditional Chinese Therapy can be a natural remedy for alleviating the symptoms of insomnia.