Theory

Chinese Herbal and Acupuncture Treatment Protocols for Insomnia - Formulas, Protocols, TCM Diagnoses


Insomnia - Basics

Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. Symptoms of insomnia include sleeping for short periods of time, feeling tired upon waking up, awaking early and difficulty falling asleep. The condition can be chronic (exhibiting symptoms three nights per week for more than a month) or acute (short-term symptoms). Commonly, insomnia is the symptom of a larger health issue (secondary insomnia); however, it can be its own condition (primary insomnia).


Insomnia - Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of insomnia generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of insomnia:



Insomnia - Acupuncture Protocols

The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavor that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory (and/or whatever system being used for treatment). There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. Rather using proper diagnostic procedures the patients diagnostic pattern is ascertained and that is what is treated. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.

The following Acupuncture Treatment Protocols May Be Used With Insomnia


Insomnia - Tam Healing - Tong Ren Protocols

Tong Ren Therapy is the energy healing/medical qi gong aspect of the Tam Healing System. The areas of focus for insomnia that we would use in Tong Ren techniques form the basis for our acupuncture treatments as well. Generally you would mix these primary points with points specific to the patients underlying TCM pattern and then our tuina (medical massage) would be largely focused on these points as well.

The following Tam Healing/Tong Ren Therapy Protocols May Be Used With Insomnia


Insomnia - Formulas From Our Store

The following herbal formulas are potentially useful in the process of treating insomnia. For a complete list from our store with more details see our insomnia formula section.


Insomnia - Questions

Need treatment options for insomnia and not finding the information you need?

Using our forums our staff and our community may offer guidance with regards to the treatment of insomnia.



Insomnia - Related Acupuncture Points

The following (11) acupuncture points may be useful for insomnia. A subset of these could potentially be useful with acupressure stimulation and/or tongren therapy methods as well.

Generally treatment would be based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting points by function alone, (see general points selection rules.)



Insomnia - Related Chinese Herbs

The following (15) chinese herbs may be useful for insomnia. In most cases, however, treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine is done with herbal formulas based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting herbs by function alone. When available, relevant formulas will appear below and/or in the store listings above.



The following (17) Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Insomnia

An Shen Bu Xin Wan

Er Xian Tang Wan

Gan Mai Da Zao Wan

  • Licorice, Wheat, and Jujube Formula
    • Anxiety/depression/manic issues with a tendency towards losing self-control (crying fits, excessive yawning, etc.) that result from the combination of heart yin deficiency and liver qi stagnation.
    • Insomnia, possibly with vivid dreaming and heart palpitations.
    • Post-partum depression and milder symptoms of menopause.
  • Calm The Spirit
  • Nourish the Heart and Calm the Spirit

Geng Nian An Wan

  • Peaceful Menopause
    • Menopause symtpoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, restlessness and anxiety as a result of yin deficiency.  
    • Can be used for other yin deficient symtpoms such as tinnitus, dry skin, and lightheadedness.
  • Tonify
  • Tonify the Yin
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution during pregnancy.
    • Do not use if patient presents with true heat or exterior heat.

Gui Pi Wan

  • Restore the Spleen Formula
    • The formula is used to tonify both the spleen and heart which can be damaged from excessive overthinking, compulsions, etc. along with poor dietary habits and stressful lifestyle.  
    • Anxiety, phobias, palpitations, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, poor appetite, pallid complexion.
    • In women spleen and heart deficiencies may lead to prolonged periods with little flow or early periods, heavier with pale blood.
  • Tonify
  • Tonify the Qi and Blood

Jia Wei Gui Pi Wan

  • Augmented Restore The Spleen Decoction
    • A combination of jia wei xiao yao wan and gui pi wan - similar effects but with more spleen qi and blood tonification.
    • A range of stress related issues - essentially mixes of stagnation with underlying deficiencies.
    • Potential uses with immune / idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and other bruising/bleeding issues with appropriate diagnostic factors.
  • Harmonize
  • Regulate and Harmonize the Liver and Spleen

Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan

  • Free and Easy Wanderer Pills
    • Derived from the base formula, xiao yao wan, an important formula for liver qi stagnation with herbs added to clear heat.
    • Liver qi stagnation - menstrual issues, painful cycles, irregular cycles, breast distention, PMS, acne.
    • A range of mild to moderate psychological issues arising from liver qi stagnation such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, insomnia, anger issues, etc.
    • Physical symptoms from liver qi stagnation such as headaches, tightness in the chest, cold hands and feet, various eye issues.
  • Harmonize
  • Regulate and Harmonize the Liver and Spleen

Pearl Powder

Qi Xue Da Bu Wan

  • Nourish Qi & Blood Pills
    • Fatigue, lethargy, sensation of feeling heavy or cold.
    • Low appetite, bloating, borborygmus, loose bowels.
    • Impotence, infertility, low libedo.
    • Insomnia, night sweats, vivid dreams, nightmares.
  • Tonify
  • Tonify the Qi and Blood

Sheng Mai San Wan

Sheng Mai Yin Wan

  • Replenish Pulse Pills
    • Dry mouth, dry skin, dark or scanty urine from yin and fluid deficiency.
    • Fatigue, shortness of breath, and spontaneous sweating.
  • Tonify
  • Tonify the Qi
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution for patients that present with heat signs.

Suan Zao Ren Wan

  • Sour Jujube Decoction
    • Shen related issues when arising from liver blood deficiency - anxiety, insomnia.
    • Menopausal heat contributing to sleep and/or anxiety issues.
    • Palpitations, night sweats, and general dryness.
  • Calm The Spirit
  • Nourish the Heart and Calm the Spirit

Te Xiao Zao Ren An Mian Wan

  • Peaceful Sleep Tablets
    • Insomnia, vivid dreaming, nightmares.
    • Acute emotional instability.
    • May be used to treat convulsions or spasms that are caused by a combination of blood deficiency with wind.
  • Calm The Spirit
  • Sedate and Calm the Spirit

Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan

  • Gastrodia and Uncaria Formula
    • Headaches, vertigo, dizziness, tinnitis, floaters or blurry vision, insomnia as a result of liver yang rising. 
    • Siezures, spasms, convulsions or other types of involuntary muscle activity due to liver wind.
  • Expel Wind
  • Extinguish Internal Wind
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution with patients presenting with yin deficiency.

Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan

  • Emperor of Heavens Special Pill to Tonify the Heart
    • Anxiety, insomnia, irritability, night sweats, hot flashes, flushing or sensation of heat in the palms due to deficiency heat.
    • Insomnia, poor memory, poor focus and concentration due to yin deficiency.
  • Calm The Spirit
  • Nourish the Heart and Calm the Spirit

Wen Dan Wan

  • Warm the Gallbladder Formula
    • Anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other shen disturbances caused by phlegm misting the mind.
    • Seizures, convulsions or other types of involuntary muscle contractions that are caused by phlegm and heat.
    • Nausea, vomitting, abdominal discomfort resulting from disharmony of the stomach and gallbladder/liver.
    • Vertigo, dizziness or light-headedness.
  • Treat Phlegm
  • Clear Heat and Transform Phlegm
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution with patients that present with yin or blood deficiency.

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan

  • Blood Stasis Relief Pills
    • Qi and Blood stagnation - pain, cardiovascular issues, physical organ issues.
    • Coronary artery disease, angina and other cardiovascular issues.
    • Hepatitis and other liver function issues.
    • Migraines, headaches, neuralgia from most causes.
    • A range of menstrual issues including dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids - particularly with pain and/or bleeding.
    • Certain diagnostic types of psychological illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, chronic depression, etc.
  • Invigorate the Blood
  • Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis
  • Cautions
  • Pregnancy
    • Avoid during pregnancy.
    • Avoid with heavy menstrual bleeding.
    • Use only under direction if you are taking blood thinners.
    • Generally not for long term use.



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