Acupuncture and insomnia

Montakab H

40 patients with primary difficulties in either falling asleep or remaining asleep were diagnosed according to the traditional Chinese medicine, allocated to specific diagnostic subgroups and treated individually by a practitioner in his private practice. The patients were randomized into two groups, one receiving true acupuncture, the other needled at non-acupuncture points for 3-5 sessions at weekly intervals. The outcome of the therapy was assessed in several ways, first and foremost by an objective measurement of the sleep quality by polysomnography in a specialized sleep laboratory, performed once before and once after termination of the series of treatments. Additional qualitative results were obtained from several questionnaires. The objective measurement showed a statistically significant effect only in the patients who received the true acupuncture. The subjective, qualitative assessment was better in the proper treatment group than in the control group but was not calculated statistically for methodological reasons. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that true and individualized acupuncture indeed shows efficacy in primary sleep disorders. However, a direct influence by the therapist cannot be excluded.

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