Acupuncture for Snoring. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could get a straight answer to the snoring question? That’s what the “sleeping” industry has been up to for the last few decades. Companies have been continuously inventing new products and techniques to control and cure the outwardly intolerable habit of Snoring.
All manner of anti-snoring aids and methods exist in the market today. Some work well than others while some are perfectly fit for certain types of Snoring.
This article takes a deep dive into acupuncture as a snoring solution. We have broken down the topic to help you digest effortlessly.
- The History of Acupuncture
- What’s acupuncture
- How acupuncture works for snoring
- The Acupuncture Points
- What Happens During Acupuncture
- Whether Acupuncture is Effective in Treating Snoring
- The Potential Risk of Acupuncture
- Who is Acupuncture Recommended For
- Who acupuncture is not Recommended for
- Preparation for Acupuncture Session
- Acupuncture for Sleep Apnea
- Acupuncture for Insomnia
- A lot more
It’s easy to dismiss snoring as a trivial problem. It true that you don’t need to worry too much about snoring. However, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, which causes severe side effects when left undiagnosed or untreated.
Acupuncture offers a safe and effective method for alleviating snoring habits.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese healing treatment that involves pricking pressure points in the body with needles. The acupuncturist inserts sterile, thin needles into specific parts of the body to stimulate various nerves and muscles.
Today, western doctors rely on acupuncture as a way to naturally stimulate the body’s pain relief function and increase individual blood flow by stimulating nerves, muscles, and tissue at specific pressure points, which are also known as acupoints.
Acupuncture relieves discomfort and pain associated with many physical conditions. Examples are:
- Nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy
- Pain in the lower back, neck, or dental region
- Headaches and migraine
- Menstrual cramps and labor pain
Acupuncture also alleviates symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea, and feeling of stress and anxiety, which can interfere with sleep.
Acupuncture treatment is today recognized by the National Insitute of Health as a viable option for general pain treatment.
Before we get deeper into the topic, let’s have a quick peek at the history of acupuncture.
The History of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice based on energy forces found in the universe a natural form. The technique involves the insertion of needles in strategic points along 14 meridians of the body to rebalance a disturbed energy flow.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, your health depends on the flow of energy in your body.
The energy forces consist of two forces called yin and yang, which are opposite and travels along invisible pathways called meridians.
The energy found in yin and yang is called Qi. Qi flows throughout one’s body in balance and promotes its natural ability to heal itself.
If Qi ever gets blocked, a person’s physical and mental well-being get negatively impacted, and it might require rerouting to maintain the balance. In fact, that’s where acupuncture comes into play.
During acupuncture sessions, thin needles are inserted into the skin to stimulate specific points, depending on symptoms. The aim is to unblock the Qi along the body’s meridians to restore the normal flow of qi through the body.
For nearly three millennia, acupuncture has been a medical practice in both Eastern and Western cultures as a natural way of relieving pain, nausea, and a host of disorders that can interfere with sleep.
This ancient practice has been passed down through the generations and is still applicable in the modern world.
How does Acupuncture Work For Snoring?
Snoring happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. The sounds are heard when muscle tissues around the throat region vibrate when air passes through an obstructed track.
Different factors can contribute to snoringSinusitis is a condition that commonly causes snoring and is a direct result of an allergy.
Sometimes a weakened immune system, which a huge contributor to a sinus infection, is a result of qi (a person’s energy, or life force) deficiencies. The swelling of the sinus can be a result of allergy or infections, which might be a manifestation of qi blockage.
That said, is it essential to explore how acupuncture specifically applies to Snoring?
Acupuncture comes down to speeding up the natural body healing process through stimulating particular body parts, known as acupoints.
The stimulation involves the use of long, sterile needles. In some cases, it might involve the application of heat or pressure to increase the level of acupoint stimulation.
Since acupuncture speeds up the process of the body by actually stimulating certain areas (the sinus, for instance), it can dilate blood vessels and allow oxygen and nutrients in the nostril tissue, which might eventually make it rigid and eliminate edema. This action reduces congestion and clears the airways to reduce snoring.
Therefore, acupuncture will treat the root of the snoring problem by aligning the body’s flow of energy and enhancing the patient’s qi.
However, acupuncture doesn’t cure instantaneously. It might require you to undergo several sessions to truly control snoring habits.
What are the Acupuncture Points (Acupoints) For Snoring?
The central point when treating snoring with acupuncture is the sinus. This is because one of the leading causes of breathing issues is inflamed sinuses.
Before starting the acupuncture procedure, the acupuncturist must determine all acupoints that will speed up the healing process of impacted sinuses.
The following acupoints are associated with sleep disorders.
FUNCTION IT SERVES
|GV24.5: Governing Vessel 24.5 Also Third EyePoint||Directly between the eyebrows where the nose meets the forehead||It helps with sleep apnea, calming racing thoughts that inhibit sleep, relaxes the nervous system, alleviating anxiety and emotions of panic, fear, and depression.|
It also helps with headaches, nose bleeds, vertigo, epilepsy, and dental pain.
|P6: Pericardium 6“Inner Gater” Nei Guan||On the center of the forearm below the wrist||Treats nausea, motion sickness, relieves nausea, vomiting, indigestion, anxiety, palpations, chest/cardiac congestion and pain, depression, asthma, coughs, vertigo, and irritable mood.|
|B38: “Vital Diaphram”||Between the shoulder and the spine at heart level||Helps with balancing moods and emotions, reduces feelings that hinder sleep, such as stress, anxiety, fear, and grief. |
Also, it helps treat cough and respiratory issues.
|B10: Urinary Bladder 10Also Celestial Pillar||On the back of the neck below the base of the skull||Helps with insomnia, fatigue Relaxes and clears the mind, reducing exhaustion and stress-related insomnia, relieves headaches, shoulder and back pain, neck pain, vertigo, sore throat, nasal congestion, and skin issues|
|H7: Heart 7 Also Spirit Gate or Shenmen||on the inner side of the wrist crease along the line of the pinky||Reduces anxiety, cold sweats, and overwhelming emotions that cause insomnia. Also, help with cardiac and chest pains or palpitations, epilepsy, and irritable mood; it helps with calming.|
|GV16: The Governing Vessel 16Also Wind Mansion||In the center of the back of the head, in the hollow below the base of the skull||Relieves mental stressors, reduces stress, fear, manic and suicidal thoughts. It also helps with earaches, headaches, sore throats, bloody noses, eye issues, asthma, spinal cord problems, and chest congestion|
|GB20: The Gall Bladder 20Also Gates of Consciousness||below the skull, between the two vertical neck muscles||Treats mental fatigue and headaches; relieves migraines, cold, flu symptoms, blurred vision|
|CV17: Conception Vessel 17Also the sea of tranquility||at the chest, the center of the breast bone||Deals with chest congestion, relieve anxiety, and nerve induced insomnia.|
It also helps with chest congestion, coughs, asthma, palpitations, and breast problems. Works best with combination with GV24.5
|K6 – Kidney 6Also the shining sea||on the inside of the ankle bones||Helps with hypertension, anxiety, and reduces insomnia, and anxiety|
Also helps with hypertension, digestion problems, sore throats, menstrual issues, epilepsy, and eye issues
|B62 – Urinary Bladder 62||on the outside of the anklebone||It alleviates lower back pain, neck pains, headaches, nerves, and epilepsy helps with calming. Work best with K6|
All these acupoints may vary depending on the acupuncturist’s license. However, acupuncture for Snoring breaks down into three primary therapies:
1. Throat Acupuncture
Excess phlegm and mucus buildup in the throat and near the fatty mouth tissue may be the underlying cause of your Snoring. The GV24.5 is one of the most triggered acupoints because it targets snoring and helps with sleep apnea.
2. Sinus Acupuncture
These are acupuncture points that treat sinus or allergy rhinitis.
3. Aqupuncher For Immune System
What Does the Treatment Process Look Like?
When you visit the acupuncturist, the first thing they will do is assess your general health. This consultation might take up to one hour, but Subsequent appointments may take a relatively shorter time.
As each treatment is unique to an individual, a general check-up will ensure you get the most effective treatment.
The acupuncturist will ask you a couple of questions relating to your sleeping habit. Depending on what condition you’re seeking treatment, the practitioner will identify the right treatment plan. You might have 6 to 8 acupuncture appointments.
During the session, the patient lies down on a table, which similar to a massage table. Then the acupuncturist proceeds by inserting needles at pressure points, which may or may not be close to where you’re experiencing the pain or discomfort.
The acupuncturist might use anywhere between 5 to 20 needles during a single treatment. They may move, twirl, heat, or apply electric pulses to the needles, depending on your symptoms. The needles are very thin, so most people experience little to no discomfort.
The patient is then expected to lie still while the needle remains in place for up to 20 minutes, after which the acupuncturist will remove them painlessly.
Typically, one acupuncture session does not exceed 30 minutes. However, it might require several treatments before getting rid of snoring completely.
How effective is Acupuncture for Snoring?
Of many snoring treatments, acupuncture can completely treat snoring.
In fact, studies find acupuncture effective for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and a potentially valid and successful substitute for the CPAP machine.
A closer look at the study suggests that acupuncture outperforms the nCPAP (Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine for increasing blood oxygenation as measured by AHI Apnea-Hypopnea Index.
What’s more, stimulating specific acupoints, like the GV 24.5, may reduce the amount of nasal mucus, which might combat snoring.
This means, if you have flu, you are more likely to have a higher amount of mucus than usual. This condition might result in sinusitis. If you subscribe to a couple of acupuncture treatments, you may speed the recovery process.
Are there any risks?
Generally, acupuncture is a safe therapy when a trained professional executes it. But as any other thing worth considerations, it comes with potential risks. Here are some of the most common:
- Bleeding and Bruising
When the acupuncturist pulls the needle out, there is a slight chance of bruising or bleeding. The procedure is, therefore, dangerous for patients with bleeding disorders or people who take blood thinners.
The punctured area will most likely feel sore for some time.
- Puncturing of the internal Organs
If the acupuncturist pushes the needle too deep, the is a chance of puncturing and damaging an organ.
- If the practitioner use unsterilized needles, it poses a risk of transmitting infections to patients
Who is Acupuncture for Snoring recommended for?
Not everyone qualifies for anti-snoring acupuncture treatment. But the therapy best suits:
- Persons who find wearing nCPAP cumbersome
- Persons looking for pocket-friendly treatment for sleep apnea
- People who have partners or who the noise of the CPAP machine wakes them up
- Individuals looking for long-term snoring solutions
Who is acupuncture not recommended For?
Some conditions make acupuncture dangerous treatments. Acupuncture is not appropriate for persons with:
- Bleeding problems
If a person is suffering from blood-related disorders or is taking some blood-thinning drugs, s/he should avoid acupuncture as it might be dangerous.
When a person has a pacemaker, s/he should consult the doctor before attending any acupuncture session. Some acupuncturist apply electric pulses in their treatment, which might affect the pacemaker
- Pregnant Person
Acupuncture might result in premature births.
Where to Get Acupuncture to Treat Snoring
Acupuncture is common practice for pain relief, and you can usually get the services from chiropractors and holistic doctors.
Can you self-administer acupuncture for Snoring?
The most straightforward answer to that question is:
Yes, you can treat yourself to a certain extent by practicing acupressure. Acupuncture and acupressure are very similar in that they use stimulate specific body points.
However, acupressure involves gentle massage on acupoints to stimulate the nerves without the need for a needle. Anyone can execute acupressure, even on oneself, and in the comfort of the home.
On the other hand, an acupuncturist (a licensed medical doctor) should be the only person to administer acupuncture. Self-treatment with acupuncture is not recommendable, whether with needles or gadgets.
Acupuncture is only appropriate for trained professionals.
Is Acupuncture for Snoring covered by insurance?
Many insurance providers recognize acupuncture as a holistic treatment and provide a cover for it. However, not all health plans cover acupuncture. Even those that do vary in the type of body offered.
If your insurance doesn’t cover acupuncture sessions, the service costs about $100 -$200 per visit, depending on location and type of facility.
How to Prepare for an Acupuncture Appointment?
While acupuncture is a low-risk procedure, there are some best practices you need to keep in mind to ensure your appointment goes smoothly.
What to do Before and During Acupuncture Session
#1- Seek Out A Professional Acupuncturist
A qualified professional is the first and surest way to make an acupuncture appointment.
And the best way you can go about it is to ask you, doctors and friends, for referrals and ensure the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturist certifies them.
#2- Clear Out The Rest of The Day
Schedule your acupuncture session on a day you’re free from other obligations. This clicks right, especially for your first appointment.
You’ll need to worry about rushing to other appointments or getting errands done. This will reduce your stress and give you time to recuperate in case you feel fatigued after the session.
#3- Wear Loose, Comfortable Clothing
In a private session, your acupuncturist will provide you with an open gown to wear to have access to vital areas. Nevertheless, most public meetings are performed with clothes on.
Still, it’s essential to wear clothes that allow the acupuncturist east to access vital acupoints
What not to Do Before and During the Acupuncture Session
#1- Don’t come empty stomach
Eat no later than two hours before your appointment, but ensure you eat something. This will help you avoid lightheadedness or fatigue during and after the session.
#2- Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine on the Appointment Day
Caffeine is a stimulant and might counteract the effects of acupuncture, which aims at relaxing you.
What’s more, acupuncture aims at bringing you more in tune with your body and personal awareness. Alcohol, which impairs your sense, interferes with that process
What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Snoring?
Besides alleviating symptoms associated with the physical condition for which one sought for treatment, acupuncture comes with plenty of additional benefits, including:
- More restful sleep
- Higher energy
- Increased mental clarity
- Better digestion
- Lower stress level
- Reduces allergies
- Improved fertility
- Fewer Headaches
- A little to no Side Effect
Acupuncture might give you bruises, but those are just temporary. It is proven to get you well without adverse reactions to your body.
What are the disadvantages of acupuncture?
While acupuncture is relatively low-risk, there are some side effects to be aware of.
While most people feel increased energy after acupuncture, some people think more significant fatigue, which might last as long as the rest of the day
- Muscle soreness
Acupuncture isn’t always pain-free. Some individuals may experience muscle soreness at insertion points, but this typically goes away within 24 hours.
Fainting and lightheadedness may occur if you sit or stand up too quickly after the session
- Results are not Instantaneous
Unlike other anti-snoring solutions, acupuncture requires you to take a few sessions. However, it might serve as a long term anti-snoring solution, unlike other anti-snoring products.
Acupuncture vs Acupressure
Acupressure is acupuncture with no needles. The therapy uses the same philosophy and same meridians as acupuncture but with the use of finger pressure instead of a hand to stimulate acupoints and rebalance energy flow.
On the flip side, acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate an acupoint. As a result, acupuncture triggers more muscular stimulation to activate the body’s innate healing ability than acupressure.
Acupuncture for sleep apnea
Sleep Apnea is a condition that blocks airways and restricts airflow during sleep due to anatomical abnormality or the reduced function of the dilator muscle in the upper airway. It is described as sleep-disordered breathing, where a person stops breathing during sleep.
A person with sleep apnea will have severe episodes of obstructed breathing throughout the night, which might reduce the oxygen level in the blood.
Sleep apnea might result in, sleepiness irritability, depression, reduced concentration, and memory, erectile dysfunction, or even metabolic conditions.
Standard treatment for sleep apnea involved the CPAP machine.
The main problem?
Lots of patients complain of facial or nasal discomfort from the mask. Plus, CPAP isn’t a permanent solution to ending obstructive sleep apnea.
And that’s where acupuncture comes in. Several studies have determined the efficacy of acupuncture therapy in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
During the research, they determined that acupuncture can treat individuals with sleep apnea by stimulating the muscles and tissues of their airways so that they are more robust and less likely to collapse during sleep.
Particularly, auriculotherapy acupoint pressure can alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea by stimulating muscles around the ears as well. One of the recent studies has shown acupuncture to be just as good—or better-than CPAP machine or chin devices.
This natural approach—both manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture—focus on strengthening the tongue muscle to prevent it from subsiding and blocking the airway during sleep.
Acupuncture remains a popular holistic treatment because it effectively relieves pain and discomfort, without many of the dependency issues or side effects posed by other therapies and medication.
Acupuncture for insomnia
And when it comes to insomnia, researchers have shown acupuncture is just as effective for insomnia treatment.
The treatment relieves anxiety, stimulates melatonin production, induces sleep onset, and reduces sleep disruption and arousal during the night. All these increase quality and duration of sleep.
Sometimes, acupuncture does not treat insomnia itself, but the pain that results from other physical conditions that make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
It achieves all that by activating the parasympathetic system—a part of the human brain that encourages one’s body to rest and digest—using needles to several acupoints.
Choosing a reliable acupuncturist can be a challenge, mostly if you have never visited one. Asking for recommendations from co-workers, neighbors, and friends is a good start. But in the end, you’ have the last word.
Here are some factors you might need to put in consideration:
1. Malpractice Insurance
Even though the cases of malpractice of insurance are low, it is ideal to choose an acupuncturist who offers an insurance premium because this treatment is not 100% risk-free.
2. Take your time
Do not rush things during the consultation. It should take an hour at least if it is your first time. The acupuncturist should thoroughly check your medical history to avoid any complications.
3. Check the Acupuncturist Specialty
Some acupuncturists can treat various illnesses, but others choose to specialize in a specific condition. Inquire from the practitioner if s/he has experience in treating Snoring or sleep, and what you should expect from their treatment.
4. Type of Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese acupuncture has branched into various forms over the years. There are scalp acupuncture, Japanese style, and even the Korean hand method. For Snoring, the traditional Chinese way is more common.