is to achieve mental peace when there are so many demands being
made upon us at any given time. It is also difficult to
maintain a sense of balance and perspective concerning the
impermanence and transience of these factors. Our thoughts race
around in our heads, perhaps as quickly as we would like to
accomplish everything that needs to get done. We worry. We fret.
We dwell on old hurts and disappointments. It is as if our mind
is a spooked horse that gallops out of control and we are taken
wherever it may go.
feeling of having thoughts racing out of control is often the
worst at night when we try to go to sleep. A whole day’s worth
of stress and tension flickers about in our mind’s eye as we lay
in bed, trying in vain to get to sleep. Many times, the body has
also reacted to our stressors by stiffening up, so that it is hard
to even be comfortable enough to fall asleep. It can feel as if
the mind is an engine that is overheating.
car’s engine requires coolant in order to prevent it from
overheating. We humans also require coolant to prevent our body
and our mind from overheating. In Chinese medicine, anything with
a cooling, soothing influence on the bodymind
is considered to be yin, whereas anything that is active, heating,
and energizing is considered to be yang. Most of us live extremely
demanding “yang” lifestyles nowadays. This tendency towards
constant stress and activity needs to be balanced with yin. People
with insomnia are generally considered to be deficient in
“yin”. The cooling, relaxing, soothing influence that
encourages a good night’s rest has been exhausted and is in need
Chinese herbal medicine, and meditation can all aid insomnia
through bringing balance back to the body. One acupuncture
point that is useful for encouraging sleep and relaxation is
right between the eyebrows. It is called “Yintang”. You
can go to an acupuncturist for a full treatment, or you can
try pressing on this point once in a while when you are trying
to unwind enough at night to fall asleep.
Chinese herbal formula that is often very useful for insomnia
is called Suan Zao Ren Wan. This formula can often be found in
pill form in health food stores and Asian markets. The main
ingredient is a Chinese herb called Suan Zao Ren, or ziziphus
seed, which has a calming, yin influence on the body. Research
in China has shown it to be useful for anxiety, heart
palpitations, and insomnia. It also helps reduce the
occurrence of disturbing dreams. The usual dosage is eight to
twelve pills three times a day for the Chinese patent pills.
If you buy a different version, read the instructions. It is
important to take it regularly throughout the day for a few weeks
to see results. It is not a quick fix to be taken only at
For a complete consultation, please
contact us at 704.968.0351.
course, in addition to acupuncture and herbs, it is important
to modify the habit patterns that result in insomnia. It is
important to have a regular bed time, preferably before
midnight. The Chinese believe that sleeping at irregular times
and sleeping too late depletes the body.
is also crucial to learn to put aside our stress, our tension,
and our worries before going to bed. This is done most
effectively through the use of meditation. A Western version
that utilizes meditation for insomnia is the old tradition of
counting sheep. It is important to have a point of focus for
meditation, whether it is a candle flame, a mantra, your own
breathing, or sheep. My personal favorite is reciting “Om
Shanti Shanti Om”, which is a Hindu mantra that focuses on
“shanti”, or satisfaction and peace.
a result, letting go of extraneous mental chatter becomes
easier and easier. Our mind stops overheating. The body can
loosen up and relax. It becomes easier to fall asleep at
night. We remain calm and poised during the day.
the use of meditation, herbal medicine, and acupuncture, most
people with insomnia can gain considerable relief.