Acupuncture helps Post-Stroke Insomnia

Acupuncture helps post-stroke insomnia. Researchers have found that acupuncture is able to assist with the problem of post-stroke insomnia, and it does so by reducing hyperactivity in the sympathetic nervous system.

Fifty-two hospitalised stroke patients with insomnia, were randomly assigned to receive either real acupuncture for three days, or sham acupuncture as a control. There was greater improvement in the group receiving real acupuncture, but additionally, measures of autonomic nervous system functioning (blood pressure and heart rate variability) suggested that sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity was reduced in the real acupuncture group.

(Intradermal Acupuncture on Shen-men and Nei-kuan Acupoints Improves Insomnia in Stroke Patients by Reducing the Sympathetic Nervous System Activity: A Randomised Clinical Trial. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 2009.)

Acupuncture for Insomnia

Acupuncture for insomnia may be more effective than benzodiazepines. Researchers in Hong Kong have carried out a systematic review of twenty randomised controlled trials investigating the effects of acupuncture for insomnia. The majority of trials concluded that traditional acupuncture was significantly more effective for helping insomnia, than benzodiazepines, the mean effective rates being 91% and 75% respectively.

The authors conclude that acupuncture looks a promising intervention but methodological shortcomings in the studies reviewed mean the need now for large scale, high-quality trials.

(Traditional Needle Acupuncture Treatment for Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials. Sleep Medicine, August 2009.)