Acupuncture Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition characterized by breathing cessation or shallow breaths when you sleep. This can disrupt your sleep at least five times per hour, while you stop breathing for 10 to 20 seconds, or even longer. As a result, you may suffer from poor sleep quality, snoring, abrupt awakening, and daytime sleepiness, which may also come with headaches and shortness of breath.
But there are other medical problems associated with this sleeping disorder. It may lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes, mainly due to the reduced flow of oxygen to the brain. Some studies even show how not being able to get a good night’s sleep due to sleep apnea may cause fatty liver disease. One of the solutions explored today to treat sleep apnea is acupuncture. While this alternative treatment still requires more research to explore its effectiveness, there are a few clinical trials which have supported the possibility that acupuncture can help those who suffer from sleep apnea.
How Acupuncture Remedies Sleep Apnea?
Acupuncture and acupressure stimulates the muscles in the upper respiratory airways, which usually cave in during a sleep apnea attack, using very fine needles. However, these alternative treatments may not be effective on people with severe sleep apnea. There is a specific type of acupressure called auriculotherapy recommended to complement the more conventional methods in treating sleeping disorders.
Auriculotherapy focuses on the outer portion of the ear and considers it as a microsystem comparable to that of a human body. This method is also called auricle acupuncture or ear acupuncture. Needles are inserted into critical acupuncture points on the outer areas of the ear. Manual pressure also helps, while some practitioners use magnets, lasers, or ear pellets to stimulate these points.
It is believed that the energy meridians around the ear must be cleared to get rid of the causes of obstructive breathing that lead to sleep apnea. By inserting needles into the target acupoints, symptoms may improve, as well as its underlying problems. Some practitioners believe that the ear also serves as a localized reflex system that is directly linked to the central nervous system, which when treated well, can have a positive effect on the overall health of the patients. It’s the same case for both men and women who suddenly find their breath pausing in the middle of the night.
The best among benefits provided by acupuncture is that it is completely natural, so the patients can heal without suffering from any side effects. If there’s any, you can only expect minimal aches after a session, unlike the risky side effects of the drugs used in modern science.
Researchers have found out tests often involved with sleep studies called multiple channel polysomnography. Before treating a patient with sleep apnea, the acupuncturist would have to make it a point to learn more about the patient’s medical history and lifestyle. Knowing such information will help the practitioner find the target points needed to start the healing process. Acupuncture helps people who suffer from sleep apnea through auriculotherapy, as clinical trials have proven, although further studies are necessary to establish its effectiveness.