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Hope For sleep apnea 

     On July 23rd, 2017, Andrew was referred to me by a friend of his who was my patient at the time. Andrew came in with a file of medical reports and seeking for acupuncture treatments as his last resort. Andrew had been suffering from Sleep Apnea since he was 16. Andrew told me he had a tonsillitis at the time, and as a result his doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics for him to take. Ever since then, he felt that he was not normal again. He started to notice that he would wake up at night feeling short of breaths. In the day time, he would feel exhausted. His grades slid like landslide because he could not concentrate any more. Gradually, his father would notice that during daytime when he took a nap, Andrew would snore very loudly. What terrified his parents was that he would cease breathing for a short period of time. As symptoms got worse, Andrew would wake up screaming every night. Finally, Andrew did a Sleep Test, and he was diagnosed with Complexed Sleep Apnea Syndrome. His doctor prescribed a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine for him. The unit helped Andrew to some degree, but Andrew started to develop other health symptoms. His jaw started to bother him. It became quite stiff to open up his mouth. As time went by, he started having TMJ symptoms. His sinus in the meantime started to bother him like he was having Hay Fever everyday. His eyes were dry. His ears also bothered him. Both ears felt blocked and achy constantly. Andrew was 20 at the time. His life was miserable. His cabinet was full of medications for anxiety medications, pain killers, allergy medications and etc. When Andrew heard about me, he saw hopes again. 

     After a few sessions of acupuncture, Andrew started to breath better and his energy level improved. This made Andrew believe that Acupuncture is the final answer for all his problems. After a series of treatments, Andrew did not sleep with CPAP unit any more. He is now able to go to sleep without feeling terrified. All his other symptoms are gone along with CPAP unit.

What is sleep apnea

Are you suffering from following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring

  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep 

  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath

  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

  • Feeling not rested after even 8 hours of sleep

  • Morning headache

  • Difficulty staying asleep at night

  • Difficulty staying awake at daytime

  • Feel tired and exhausted all day long

  • Nod off uncontrollably 

  • Sexual Dysfunctions

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

  • Attention problems

  • Irritability

If you are suffering from the above mentioned symptoms, you are suffering from Sleep Apnea​.

The following complications will happen if Sleep Apnea is not treated:

  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

  • Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Disease

  • Respiratory Failure

  • Arrhythmia

  • Heart Attack

  • Heart Failure

  • Stroke

Types of Sleep Apneas

There are three types of Sleep Apnea. 

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Central Sleep Apnea

  • Complexed Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by one) low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway (e.g., because of obesity) and structural features that give rise to a narrowed airway; two) swelling and inflamed tissues inside the airway and mouth. 

 

Central Sleep Apnea is by failed respiratory neurological feedback mechanism during sleep.

 

Complexed Sleep Apnea is caused by Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea together plus other possible patho-physiologies. 

 

 

Modern Medicine Treatments for Sleep Apnea

From Modern Medicine perspective, Sleep Apnea is treated by mending its symptoms through surgeries, CAPA units and etc without satisfactory results. What is not desirable is that sometimes these procedures will cause side effects. 

Side Effects of treating sleep apnea through surgeries include:

  • Troubles with swallowing

  • Speech Issues,

  • Taste loss 

  • Tongue numbness or weakness

Side effects of CPAP unit:

  • Sinusitis 

  • Ear Pains

  • Headaches

  • TMJ

  • Eye dryness

  • Neck and Shoulder Pains

  • Claustrophobia 

 

How Does Acupuncture Treat Sleep Apnea

     Human body is an extremely fine machine with a powerful healing mechanism. When one is unhealthy or if one's body is under various duresses, this healing mechanism will be obstructed. Ancient Chinese, through tens of hundreds of years experimentation and trial and error, found out that acupuncture can trigger our body's healing mechanism to life by inserting fine needles into acupuncture points through out our body.

 

     Acupuncture is a holistic medical approach that treat whole body as a functioning mechanism. One part of body can't live without the other. Therefore, to treat Sleep Apnea by an acupuncturist, one will 1) find out the root cause of the issue 2) recognize the root issues 3) address the root cause of the issue 4) adopt preventative ways to stop sleep apnea from ever happening again. 

     Modern scientific studies have proved that Acupuncture can enhance water metabolism and reduce inflammation which happen to be the two main cause of Obstructive Sleep apnea. Acupuncture can also stimulate neurological feedback between central system and respiratory muscles, which is main cause for Central Sleep Apnea. Through a thorough examination and selection of acupuncture points, acupuncture can correct various other underlying issues of sleep apnea.

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