How does Acupuncture Address Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder where your breathing is repeatedly interrupted while you sleep. It starts and stops many times, causing you to feel tired in the morning. During this process, the body and brain gets only limited oxygen. There are mainly three types of this disorder- central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and complex syndrome. Acupuncture for sleep apnea has been found to be very effective in treating this problem.

As per the study published, it is said that acupuncture therapy works efficaciously in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is considered as one of the major public health issues affecting children and adults receiving reduced airflow during sleep resulting in gas exchange abnormalities and disrupted sleep.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms and signs may differ based on the type of disorder. However, there are several common symptoms such as irritability, lack of attention when awake, hypersomnia, insomnia, and headaches in the morning, dry mouth in the morning, gasping while sleeping, loud snoring and other signs. As per the recent literature, it is estimated that sleep apnea affected approximately 27% of men and 9% of women, while 20% of the general population of people suffering from both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are affected with increased prevalence of airflow obstruction.

What causes this disorder?

Obstructive sleep apnea happens due to the relaxation of the muscles located at the back end of the throat. These specific muscles support the tongue, the sidewalls, the tonsils, the uvula, and the soft palate. The relaxation of the muscles closes or narrows the airway, restricting the amount of air that you receive. This will reduce the amount of oxygen that your blood gets. As a coping mechanism, the brain then wakes you up from sleep as it senses that you are unable to breathe. When you wake up momentarily the airway opens up again. This sudden waking up may lead you to gasp, choke or snort. Many patients turn to Acupuncture for sleep apnea, as waking up five to thirty times in an hour is very unhealthy for the body and can lead to other problems. Central sleep apnea happens when the breathing muscles do not received signals from the brain. This is less common when compared to obstructive sleep apnea.

Who does it affect?

Obstructive sleep apnea can occur in those who are excessively overweight, who have narrower airways due to thicker necks, who have narrow throats or enlarged adenoids and tonsils, who are male and older, who use tranquilizers, sedatives or alcohol, who smoke or who have a family history of this disorder.

How does Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture for sleep apnea stimulates the tissues and muscles of the airways so they become strong and have a less chance of collapsing within the sleep cycle. When you meet with your specialist, they will identify the right procedure based on your particular medical history. Acupuncture helps to stimulate the muscles near the ear and can also strengthen the tongue muscle, so it does not block the airway while you are sleeping. A study conducted on three hundred and sixty-two people has reflected that acupuncture is comparable in effectiveness to chin devices or CPAP machines. The right treatment in a timely manner can help regulate your sleep and get you back on track for a normal lifestyle.

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