Despite being a popular comedic topic, snoring can seriously affect your sleeping pattern and health when not treated properly. Sleep apnea, reduced oxygen intake, and lower immune system can happen to you if your sleep is frequently disturbed by this loud nasal noise.
Putting nose strips before sleeping can help ease your nasal passage. Sadly, this is just a temporary fix. If you prefer a remedy with long-term effects, then you can try acupuncture.
It’s a traditional Chinese complementary medicine wherein the pressure points in your body are pricked with needles. Aside from snoring, this process is also effective in treating other body pains.
Read on to learn more information about how acupuncture can help treat snoring.
How does acupuncture for snoring work?
The process looks painful, but it’s actually a pleasant experience.
Acupuncture aims to speed up the natural healing process of the body by stimulating a particular part – which is known as the acupoint. This can be done by using sterile needles. Some even use pressure or heat in order to increase the stimulation of the acupoints.
In the case of snoring, the area that needs to be stimulated is the sinus. Inflamed sinuses are one of the leading causes of breathing problems because it blocks the nasal cavity. Acupuncturists will find the acupoints that will speed the healing process of your sinus so you can sleep better at night.
During this treatment, an acupuncturist will first perform a quick physical check up before administering the needles. Then, he or she will ask about your sleeping habits and the frequency of your snoring. Once they find the right treatment plan for you, they will start administering the needles in various parts of your body. Each session usually lasts for up to 30 minutes. In addition, it may take several sessions before you can fully be free from snoring.
Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Snoring
According to a recent case report posted on Sleep Science, acupuncture not only treats snoring, but it also reduces sleep apnea.
In the study conducted by Katia Svaelli G. Bencz and Paulo A.D. Nabarro, a patient’s sleep apnea and hypopnea index can be reduced from 13.1 to just 0.5, after being subjected to acupuncture treatment for just 10 weeks.
The traditional Chinese remedy also improved their subjects’ sleeping patterns, especially their REM sleep. After 3 months of acupuncture treatment, their obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) level was reduced from 13.1 to 0.5.
Dr. Ruth Krill, the leader of the Arlington Acupuncture and Wellness Program in Massachusettes, has also noted that poking the correct acupuncture points can reduce mucus in the nasal cavity and thus prevent one from snoring.
If you have the flu or common cold, mucus builds up and it can even lead to sinusitis. With acupuncture, you can improve the flow of the mucus in your nose and even speed up recovery from these illnesses.
Are There Risks to Acupuncture?
The possible complications of this treatment are:
- Soreness in the punctured area – Minor bleeding and bruising may occur after pulling out the needle.
- Organ damage – The needles can puncture your internal organs if they are pushed in too deep.
- Infections – Reused and unsterilized needles can lead to various complications like hepatitis.
These side effects may seem severe, but you do not have to fear them if your acupuncturist is licensed. Make sure that you research well before accepting any acupuncture treatments.
Are you a candidate for this treatment?
Sadly, not everyone can use acupuncture to treat his or her snoring problem. If you have the following conditions, your risk of acquiring complications might be higher:
- Bleeding problems – Bleeding and bruising can be more severe for people who have bleeding disorders or those who are taking blood-thinning medicines.
- People who have a pacemaker – Some acupuncturists also apply mild electric pulses to further stimulate the acupoints. This is effective for some patients, but people who are using a pacemaker should consult a doctor first before undergoing this remedy because the electric current can affect the machine.
- Pregnant women – Stimulating the acupoints may cause premature delivery.
Choosing Your Acupuncturist
In order to make acupuncture work for you, make sure that you choose the right acupuncturist. Aside from having a license, here are additional factors that you need to consider:
1 – Malpractice insurance – The cases of acupuncture malpractice is quite low in the country, so licensed practitioners only pay lower insurance premiums compared to other health providers. Nevertheless, it is still ideal to choose an acupuncturist who offers an insurance premium because this treatment is not 100% risk-free.
2 – Does not rush things – Consultations with an acupuncturist should take at least 1 hour, especially if it’s your first time. He or she should thoroughly check your medical history to avoid any complications.
3 – What’s their specialty? – Some acupuncturists can treat various illnesses, but others choose to specialize in a particular condition. Ask the practitioner if they have experience in treating snoring or sleep, and what you should expect from their treatment.
4 – Type of acupuncture – The traditional Chinese acupuncture has branched out into various forms over the years. There’s scalp acupuncture, Japanese style, and even a Korean hand method. The traditional Chinese method is more commonly used for treating snoring problems.
Before taking the treatment
Here are tips you should know before going to an acupuncture session:
1 – Eat before starting the session. It doesn’t have to be a full meal; a light snack will do. The extra energy can help the treatment become more effective.
2 – You don’t have to take off your clothes. However, it’s better if you wear loose-fitting shirt and pants that you can easily roll up, just in case the acupuncturist wants to stick needles in your arms or legs.
3 – Acupuncturists also use other tools aside from needles. The treatment has evolved over time so expect that these professionals use other techniques to treat their patients. Examples are cupping and moxibustion.
Acupuncture is an effective complementary treatment to snoring and acupuncture can stop snoring but it still comes with risks. Choose your acupuncturist carefully and get a thorough physical checkup to avoid any complications.