The Case of Insomnia Addressed by Acupuncture


Chief-complaint: Insomnia

Western-diagnosis: Insomnia

Medical-history: Patient was a male in his mid 30’s who had been having trouble falling asleep for the past 2 years. Patient had tried many drugs and supplements, but with not much success. Taking Ambien helped the patient fall asleep, but the quality of sleep from an Ambien induced sleep was poor. Patient also tried melatonin, with very limited success. No other major medical problems besides the insomnia were reported.

Symptoms: Patient consistently had trouble falling asleep for most of his life, but condition took a turn for the worse in the last 2 years. On average, it took him 2 to 3 hours to fall asleep, and this resulted in poor energy during the day. Patient had some minor stress from work and family life, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Besides the sleep issues, patient did not complain of any other medical concerns.

Pulse: Pulse was slightly rapid and wiry in all positions.

Tongue: Tongue was pink/purplish in color, thin white coat, with a slightly swollen body. Patient would have some slight spontaneous sweating during his acupuncture treatments.

CM-diagnosis: Liver Qi Stagnation leading to some heat, Spleen Qi Deficiency

Treatment-principle: Free course Liver Qi, Dispel Heat, Tonify Spleen

Point-prescription: Yin Tang, Anmian, LI4, HT7, ST36, SP6, LV3, KD6, Ear Shen Men, Ear Insomnia, Ear Liver

Herb-prescription: none

Lifestyle-prescription: I asked the patient to remove any type of stimulation from the bedroom such as TVs and work materials so that the bedroom would only be associated with sleep. I also advised him to refrain from eating any meals 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, and to avoid all caffeine while he was being treated.

Results: After 3 weekly sessions, the patient started to see some decrease in duration of time it took him to fall asleep and improvement in quality of sleep overall. He said he still experienced some problems falling asleep about once or twice per week. After 6 more sessions, the patient reported that he was no longer taking Ambien and he could sleep well throughout the night. 2 more treatments, later the patient was pleased to report that his sleep issues seemed to be resolved and that he was even able to fall asleep in unfamiliar surroundings while staying with relatives.

Synopsis: This patient’s trouble with sleeping was due to Stagnation of Liver Qi leading to some depressive heat. Once the LV Qi stagnation was resolved, this patient had no trouble falling asleep and no longer had to rely on medications.

  • Angie Ng
  • L.Ac.
  • Acupuncture for Balanced Wellness
  • 29 N Wacker Dr Suite 601
  • Chicago
  • IL
  • 60606
  • USA
  • 312-223-0692
  • pain management, sports injuries, weight loss, women’s health, infertility, smoking cessation, insomia, anxiety
  • Last modified: December 4, 2009   Posted in: Neurological