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I have chronic insomnia and nothing seems to work. Does acupuncture and Chinese medicine help with this condition?

How common is insomnia?

Insomnia is a worldwide issue and can affect 10-30% of the world’s population at any one time. In saying this, often people think they have ‘insomnia’ but there is potentially a underlying cause such as work/financial stress, depression, anxiety, excess in diet/social activities.  Insomnia can be varied in how it presents.

How can we treat insomnia at The Health Clinic?

Generally speaking, a person will sleep 7-8 hours per day, yet when this sleep is interrupted, unhealthy sleeping patterns can develop. At The Health Clinic and utilising the concept of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) we consider triggers, onset, quality of sleep and any noticeable cyclic patterns. TCM can be rather simplistic at times, so the key diagnostic measure we look for are 1) easy to fall asleep, 2) hard to stay asleep, 3) or no sleep at all. Once we develop a typical sleep pattern for a patient then we can diagnose and work on a treatment plan.

How can TCM / Chinese Herbal Medicine treat Insomnia?

Needles (acupuncture) are lovely and every effective in treating insomniac type patients. In TCM, we view the Shen (mind) as the main consideration. In TCM the shen descends and settles into the heart at night and is nourished by qi, blood, yin, and as one wakes in the morning the Shen then raises and floats back to the head and becomes the conscious mind again. If a person wakes to early, then shen can return to the ‘mind’ early and then we start to see an overthinking type pattern/complaint.

So, when we needle sleep patients, we focus on calming the mind (shen) we nourish qi and blood, we soothe qi as when qi becomes erratic it can scatter the descending of the shen at night. When we align this with Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) again we focus on nourishing blood, soothe the liver as in TCM, the liver controls all emotions. Nourishing blood with lovely herbal tonics such as Bai Shao, Suan Zao Ren are excellent in helping one sleep. We also have the option of using more anchoring herbs to settle the mind without being heavy like a sleeping pill such as Zopiclone for example….and the added bonus, our herbs are all natural and not synthetically made.


So insomnia is an everyday worldwide complaint,  with so many contributing factors, some/most we can’t avoid at times. However, there is a solution and through some gentle changes to life and work, increased exercise, mindful of when our last coffee was, closing the laptop and taking time out can all greatly improve one’s sleep pattern. Sleep is such an essential part of life, we need to love our bodies, to help us deal with everything else that is going on.

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