Tired From Snoring? Sleep Apnea Making You Sluggish?
Studies show electro acupuncture may be helpful!
This is exciting! If you have sleep apnea, you know how tiring it can be. If your partner snores, you know how disruptive it can be on your sleep. Sleep apnea and snoring often appear together but not all sleep apnea patients snore, and not all snorers have sleep apnea.
What are the differences?
Simple snorers sleep uninterrupted (even if their partners do not.) Sleep apnea creates episodes of stopped breathing. This is troublesome for several reasons. First of all, it disrupts the sleep cycle. The oxygen levels in the blood decrease, which impact the heart, the brain and stresses the body. This causes a rift in the body resulting in a dramatic gasp for air, which wakes the body up. Often, sleep apnea sufferers are unaware of the waking but notices a lack of energy during the day or a dull headache in the morning.
See your doctor if you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea. If these apnea episodes persist over months or years, serious health risks can develop.
Where does acupuncture fit in?
Well, currently in the medical community, there is a gap in the spectrum of treatment options available to sleep apnea patients. On one end, they recommend diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to maximize healthy weight and sleep patterns. On the other end, there are C Pap machines, dental devices or surgeries. Many patients respond well to these treatments and manage the condition. Others, find the C Pap machines or dental devices difficult to wear at night, which negates the benefit of improved sleep and the surgeries have intense potential side effects.
Acupuncture fills this gap.
There are exciting studies demonstrating the direct improvement in sleep apnea episodes by using electro acupuncture. Here is a link to one of the studies. http://www.sleepguide.com/forum/topics/acupuncture-a-proven
How does it work?
Basically, there are two approaches. First, points on the hands and feet are accessed to strengthen the lungs, calm the stress and nourish the digestive organs, which are needed to convert food into energy. Then a low intensity 10 Hz current is applied to specific acupuncture points at the throat. This stimulates the hypoglossal nerve, which affects the function of the tongue. The theory is that by activating the nerve, the tongue is supported from drooping into the throat allowing for easier air flow.
The combination of calming stress, which supports the heart, brain and sleep cycles, opening the throat, and supporting the digestive organs to maximize the body’s energy works to improve sleep. The studies show a reduction sleep apnea episodes! My patients also report a decrease in snoring!
The benefits of these treatment extend beyond the sleep apnea into whole body health. Decreased stress, improved digestion, higher quality of sleep, and increased energy have been reported.