Acupuncture for Anxiety and Sleep
Sleep and Anxiety
With the busiest season of the year just around the corner, the number of patients arriving at the clinic exhausted and frazzled has increased exponentially: in bed late, up early, frantically meal/gift planning during your breaks at work. If this sounds like you, it may be time to revisit your acupuncturist for some much needed, rejuvenating sleep.
Every day that I spend in the clinic I am reminded of this enduring truth: acupuncture can always be counted on to put you to sleep. I have seen many patients who apologize for their snoring. Of course, I don’t mind, because it means the medicine is doing it’s job. Here’s a link to a study on acupuncture and sleep.
Why does sticking needles into your body help with anxiety and sleep?
In a state of sympathetic nervous response (fight or flight), all the resources of your body are recruited in the effort to survive, thus redirecting blood flow to your muscles. It dilates your pupils and lungs. It accelerates your heart-rate. This cascade of physiological responses prepares your body to either run or fight (hence the cleverly named “fight or flight” response). Acupuncture has the effect of stimulating the parasympathetics, thus dis-inhibiting this mechanism. Not only will this encourage better sleep and a greater general sense of wellbeing, it also reverses the blood flow, so that now, in a state of post-acupuncture rest-and-digest, your blood flow is redirected back to those non-survival structures (that you don’t need when you’re running from a predator) such as reproduction and digestion. For this reason, you will also experience better digestion, increased libido, and, over the course of a few months, an increase in egg quality.
This is the place where the stress and fertility aspects meet. By improving stress levels, reducing anxiety and improving sleep, we are simultaneously working on fertility.
Although you’ve had all of your eggs since you were an embryo, they are in an immature state. An egg is recruited many months before it is used, and spends that time going through maturation and development in preparation for ovulation. During that crucial time, we want the egg to do all this developing in the best possible environment. The extra blood flow provided by your very relaxing acupuncture sessions is a big part of this optimization.
So post acupuncture you can expect to experience all the benefits of the rest and digest phase of your nervous system, characterized by slower heart-rate, deeper sleep, smoother digestion, and increase general sense of well-being.
If you have any questions about your own case, call Acubalance and book a 15 minute phone consultation.