Based on a study published in the JAMA (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine), ear acupuncture or auricular acupuncture is a proven treatment for insomnia. Researchers in the study gathered data from six controlled randomized trials. All the trials were done in Hong Kong or mainland China. One was in English while five were in Chinese. Of the total 673 subjects who participated in the trials, 402 were administered with auricular acupuncture. For the control groups, Western medications were used in four of the trials, one used fake auricular acupuncture while another used routine unit care.
The study revealed that the subjects given auricular acupuncture exhibited better improvement than those in the control groups. In addition, the therapy led to better recovery from insomnia compared to diazepam. Auricular acupuncture was favored over the interventions used in the control groups to increase sleep durations for up to six hours each night, for staying asleep throughout the night, and for feeling refreshed upon waking.
The medication Diazepam is usually prescribed for alcohol withdrawal, seizures, insomnia, and anxiety. The product was first introduced under the label Valium.
Because of a shortage of follow-up data, there were no conclusions made about the long term efficacy of auricular acupuncture in the treatment of insomnia. Also, because of the lack of data on negative effects, no conclusions were also determined as to the safety of the therapy in the treatment of insomnia.
A very common condition marked by problems falling or staying asleep, insomnia is usually connected with functional impairment while awake. Insomnia related functional impairment during the day includes occupational impairment, depression, irritability, and drowsiness.
Based on a study sponsored by the World Health Organization, 25 percent of respondents either woke up too early or had difficulty staying asleep and 16 percent of respondents had had problems falling asleep. Statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that insomnia affected about sixty million Americans 30 percent of which were men and 40 percent of which were women.