The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACA) published a study showing ear acupuncture or auricular acupuncture to be quite effective in treating insomnia. The researchers in the study gathered data from six controlled randomized trials. All the trials were done in conducted in Hong Kong or mainland China. One was in English and five were in Chinese. 402 out of the 673 subjects were given auricular acupuncture therapy. Western drugs were given to the control group in four of the trials. One used fake or auricular acupuncture and the other used routine medical care.
The researchers observed that the subjects treated with auricular acupuncture experienced greater improvement compared to the people in the control groups. In addition, auricular acupuncture brought about better recovery from insomnia than diazepam. For feeling refreshed upon waking, for boosting sleep to 6 hours a night, and for remaining asleep during the night, auricular acupuncture was preferred over the control methods.
Diazepam initially sold under the label Valium. Doctors commonly used this drug to treat alcohol withdrawal, seizures, insomnia, and anxiety.
No conclusions were done about the efficacy of longstanding treatment of insomnia using auricular acupuncture due to the lack of follow-up information. Also, no conclusions were made about the safety of auricular acupuncture use for the treatment of insomnia again due to a lack of information on harmful effects.
A typical disorder marked by difficulty going to sleep and/or staying asleep, insomnia is often related with functional impairment while awake. Functional impairment associated with insomnia during the day includes occupational impairment, depression, irritability, and drowsiness.
Based on a study sponsored by the WHO or World Health Organization, 16 percent of subjects experienced problems falling asleep and 25 percent of subjects either woke up too early or had problems remaining asleep. Based on statistics gleaned from the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are about 60 million Americans suffering from insomnia affecting about 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women.