(NaturalNews) Auricular acupuncture, or ear acupuncture, may be effective for treating insomnia, according to a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. In the study, researchers collected data from six randomized, controlled trials. All six were conducted in mainland China or Hong Kong. Five were in Chinese and one was in English. Out of 673 participants, 402 were treated with auricular acupuncture. Four of the trials used western medication for the control groups, one used routine unit care, and another used sham auricular acupuncture.
According to the study, those who received auricular acupuncture recorded better improvement than those in the control groups. Additionally, auricular acupuncture produced better recovery from insomnia than diazepam. Auricular acupuncture was preferred over the control interventions for increasing duration of sleep up to six hours per night, for remaining asleep during the night, and for feeling refreshed upon waking.
Diazepam is a drug commonly used for treating anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. It was first marketed under the trademark Valium.
Due to the lack of follow-up information, no conclusions were made regarding the effectiveness of long-term treatment of insomnia with auricular acupuncture. Also, due to a lack of information on adverse effects, no conclusions were made with regard to the safety of using auricular acupuncture for treating insomnia.
Insomnia is a common disorder characterized by a difficulty in falling asleep, or staying asleep, and is often associated with functional impairment while awake. Daytime functional impairment from insomnia includes drowsiness, irritability, depression, and occupational impairment.
According to a World Health Organization study, 16% of respondents had difficulty falling asleep and 25% of respondents either had difficulty remaining asleep or woke up too early. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia, affecting about 40% of women and 30% of men.