What We Treat
Sleep and Insomnia
Better Health Starts with Restful Sleep
Hard to get out of bed because you didn’t sleep?! Ugh. Explore the benefits of East Asian Medicine (EAM) treatments for insomnia. EAM is a sophisticated system of holistic healthcare that can resolve sleep issues without side effects. Experience the benefits of natural treatments that are NOT habit-forming.
Find out for yourself the difference East Asian Medicine can have in your life. Let’s design a plan to get you back to normal sleep using methods that are safe, natural, and effective. Make an appointment today and start getting better sleep!
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Our Holistic Approach to Insomnia
We support you and your sleep with East Asian Medicine (EAM). We offer a holistic approach to your healing and health with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, and tuina massage — so your sleep can return to normal, safely and naturally.
Sleep Disorders and Insomnia We Can Help You With
We offer a number of treatments to address insomnia and other sleep issues in a safe, natural, and effective way. Below is a list of stress-related disorders and other sleep disorders that we can help you with:
- Anxiety Induced Insomnia
- Depression Insomnia
- Stress Induced Insomnia
- Pregnancy Insomnia
- Short-Term Insomnia
- Chronic Insomnia
- Sleep Onset Insomnia / Difficulty falling asleep
- Sleep Maintenance Insomnia / Difficulty staying asleep
- Snoring and Sleep Apnea
- Hyperhidrosis / Excessive sweating at night
- Excessive urination at night
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Pain disorders preventing sleep
- Jet Lag / Circadian Rhythm Dysfunction
Acupuncture for Insomnia
Acupuncture can stop insomnia and get you back on track with better sleep. Acupuncture therapy helps lower stress, reduces anxiety, eliminates pain, and increases a deep state of relaxation. If you experience night sweats or have a tendency of frequent urination at night, acupuncture can also regulate your body fluids so that you can sleep through the night.
Acupuncture can help you to
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Decrease sleep disruptions
- Relieve pain
- Reduce irritability
- Balance body fluids such as sweat and urine
- Stimulate melatonin production naturally
- Create a deep state of relaxation
- Calm and settle your mind
People are often impressed with how relaxed they feel and report how much better they sleep after treatment. Acupuncture therapy plans will vary, but you can experience results within a couple of weeks of consistent care (1-2 treatments per week) and sustained results within 3-6 months.
Chinese Herbal Medicine for Insomnia
Chinese herbal medicine addresses sleep issues associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders from an internal perspective. They supplement the body with added nutrients to nourish your blood, calm your mind, and make you feel anchored — so you can sleep and be ready to start your day.
There are several classical Chinese herbal remedies to help you fall and stay asleep naturally that are not addictive and have no pharmaceutical side effects. Chinese herbal medicine is often combined with acupuncture therapy for faster results.
Chinese herbal medicine can help you to
- Fall asleep and stay asleep
- Reduce irritability
- Calm your mind
- Nourish your heart
- Nourish your blood
- Balance hormonal levels
We use ethically sourced, highly-concentrated classical and modified formulas. Internal herbal remedies are compounded into a powder and are encapsulated into vegetable capsules, which make them easy to take and good for travel.
Cupping for Insomnia
Cupping therapy can improve your sleep quality and increase relaxation. Cupping alleviates tension and pain, improves circulation, and reduces anxiety. If pain is disrupting your sleep, cupping therapy is a good addition to your acupuncture treatment — so you can sleep again.
Cupping therapy can help you to
- Relieve pain
- Alleviate muscle tension
- Increase blood circulation
- Strengthen your lungs and improve your breathing
- Boost your immune system
- Improve your sleep quality
Cupping therapy is an add-on service done before an acupuncture treatment. In cupping therapy, you can expect oil to be applied to the skin before the cups are placed. Then the cups are manually suctioned and left stationary for 10-20 minutes. Your practitioner will likely leave and come back to reposition the cups to another area. While it doesn’t hurt, you will feel pressure.
Cupping is Not for Everyone
While cupping can be a beneficial practice, it’s not appropriate for everyone. For example, if you’re on blood thinners or are pregnant, then this is not for you. Discuss with your practitioner any questions or concerns that you may have.
Tuina for Insomnia
Tuina massage /twee-nah/ uses the same principles of acupuncture related to meridians (also known as pathways or channels) and acupuncture points. Instead of needles, the practitioner uses her hands to apply acupressure to these pathways and points. Kneading, rubbing, tapping, and pressing are some of the techniques involved.
Tuina massage improves sleep, reduces stress, and promotes relaxation. It also alleviates pain and improves circulation, which will help you to sleep better. As a result of better rest, you’ll experience more energy.
Tuina massage will help you to
- Improve your sleep quality
- Boost your immune system
- Improve circulation
- Relieve pain
- Reduce tension, tightness, and irritability
- Treat musculoskeletal disorders affecting muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Alleviate low back pain
- Treat depression
If you’re feeling tired, stressed or burned out, imagine how relaxed you’ll feel after a tuina massage. We’ll design a plan to get you back on track naturally. You’ll get back to normal sleep and feel re-energized. With tuina massage, you can experience results within a couple of weeks. With consistent care of 1-2 treatments per month, you can experience long term results after 3-6+ months of treatment.
Tuina massage is an add-on service before an acupuncture treatment. If needles aren’t your thing, you can combine tuina massage and cupping therapy together.
What to Expect
Creating the Right Treatment Plan for You
Your path to better health begins the moment you reach out to Nicole McLaughlin Acupuncture. You can expect my commitment to you and a holistic approach to your health. Welcome!
At your first visit, you’ll share your health history and define your health priorities. I’ll listen and design a treatment plan with acupuncture and other East Asian Medicine modalities. While treatment plans vary, new patients can expect 6-12 weeks of continuous care. At every follow-up visit, I always want to know what’s going well first. Then you’ll discuss your primary concern and what’s changed — whether things have improved, declined, or stayed the same.
When your primary concern has been resolved, you can reduce treatments to monthly or seasonal maintenance. Otherwise, you can bring up another health concern you’d like to address. If you’re looking for a solution to your health concerns, you’ve come to the right place.
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. It’s a common sleep disorder.
Insomnia is very common. More than three million cases are recorded every year in the US. It’s usually self-diagnosed and people seek medical attention in order to improve sleeping habits. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are very effective in treating insomnia and resolving the underlying causes so that you can sleep and stay asleep.
Insomnia is often caused by poor sleeping habits, an overactive mind, lack of exercise, chronic illness, or the side effects of medication. Poor sleeping habits may include excessive screen time, eating late at night, or having an irregular bedtime schedule.
No, COVID-19 does not cause insomnia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not list insomnia as a common COVID-19 symptom. New cases of insomnia are a by-product of pandemic-related stress.
Yes, stress can cause insomnia. Stressful pinnacle events and shorter periods of time can cause temporary insomnia. Major or long-lasting stress can lead to chronic insomnia.
Yes, anxiety can cause insomnia. A tendency of worrying or ruminating over a concern that causes you to wake up and not fall back to sleep is a classic example of how anxiety causes insomnia.
No, depression does not cause insomnia. While intrinsically linked, insomnia is more likely to cause depression. If you experience insomnia, you are ten times more likely to experience depression. Seventy-five percent of people diagnosed with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Understanding the relationship between insomnia and depression can help you notice the signs, get help, and respond to break the cycle.
Your goal is to remember what it feels like to wake up well rested like a baby – ready to greet the day with joie de vivre.
The most important symptoms of insomnia are not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep and not feel well rested. Insomnia symptoms may include:
- Not falling asleep at night
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Waking up several hours before the sun rises
- Not feeling well-rested upon waking up
- Sensations of tiredness, heaviness, sleepiness during the day
- Inability to concentrate or focus, feeling slow
- Inability to recall or remember
- Feeling like the walking dead, a zombie
- Frequent errors and accidents like tripping, dropping or falling… where’s my keys? Where’s my coffee?
- Worries related to financial or relationship heartache
Acupuncture and herbal medicine is extremely effective for helping you fall asleep and stay asleep naturally without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment today.
You know you have insomnia if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Erratic sleep patterns in the past two weeks… it’s been all over the place!
- Your lack of sleep is noticeable to your partner, family, friends, or coworkers
- You’re concerned that you are not getting enough sleep
- Your quality of life is affected related to mood, memory, and concentration
Yes, sometimes you can be genetically predisposed to insomnia. There are certain genes that may increase your risk. Researchers estimate that 31-58% of heredity is likely linked to you experiencing insomnia.
Three sleep elements that your genes influence:
- Your likelihood to experience insomnia or not
- How much sleep you need
- Your predisposition toward being a night owl or an early bird
Whether or not insomnia runs in your family, it does not solve how to sleep better. A consistent sleep routine, acupuncture, and herbal medicine can fix that.
No, insomnia is not a reliable sign of early pregnancy. Despite the fact that most women experience difficulty sleeping during pregnancy, it’s not a primary indicator of being pregnant. Insomnia is more likely to occur in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy when it’s harder to get comfortable to fall asleep.
If you’re pregnant and having trouble sleeping, try acupuncture and herbal medicine. They’re natural, safe, and effective treatments that will help you sleep longer and more deeply.
There are a number of basic lifestyle routines that can improve your quality of sleep.
7 Tips for Better Sleep Every Day
- Unwind and create a calm bedtime routine
- Avoid sleep-disrupting behaviors such as stimulants and electronic devices two hours before bedtime
- Avoid doing work in the middle of the night
- Make your bedroom a restful room
- Break a sweat – Exercise six days a week for 45 minutes each day
- Wake up to morning sunshine to positively strengthen your circadian rhythm
Try acupuncture and herbal medicine, which are effective, non-addictive, and natural.
Yes, acupuncture can stop insomnia and get you back on track with better sleep.
Acupuncture point locations may include the ear (auricular acupuncture) and additional acupuncture points on the head, back, abdomen, arms, or legs. The benefits of acupuncture include these simultaneous results:
- Creates a deep relaxation state that induces sleep
- Reduces the sensation of anxiety and stress
- Sleep disruptions lessen
- Stimulates melatonin production naturally
- Relieves chronic pain
Most people don’t care how acupuncture helps stop insomnia, they just want to sleep and will try acupuncture as a last resort. Then they’re often impressed with how relaxed they feel and report how much better they sleep after treatment.
If you really want to know how acupuncture stops insomnia, it helps:
- Calm and settle the mind
- Restores and improves fluid physiology
- Improves the parasympathetic nervous system to induce relaxation and reduce stress
- Reduces pain in frequency and intensity
Most people don’t want to change their habits and get discouraged when they get no results. The more willing you are to change, the more likely you are to experience success and get sleep.
Most of our conversations relate to re-establishing regular sleeping, eating, and exercise habits.
In order to treat insomnia, you need 6-12 acupuncture treatments in the first six to twelve weeks. In combination with acupuncture, herbal medicine is also recommended for the first three months for a cumulative effect.
Between these two disciplines and your commitment to improving your sleeping habits, rapid growth can happen.
If you’re currently taking meds for insomnia, it is safe to take herbal medicine and receive acupuncture at the same time.
Yes, Chinese herbs work for insomnia and help provide a natural way to address troubled sleep. Many people are seeking out a non-drug option to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders without the side effects. Chinese herbs are often used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments to resolve insomnia and calm the heart. If you are currently taking meds for insomnia, it is safe to take herbal medicine at the same time. Nevertheless, it’s important to consult a licensed acupuncturist who has been trained in Chinese herbology. Do not self-diagnose.
Here is a peer-reviewed journal article listed in the National Library of Medicine on the “Treatment of Insomnia with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine.”
Seldom is a Chinese herb taken individually like a European herb (i.e., lavender). Rather it is combined with additional Chinese herbs to make a formula. For instance, suan zao ren (jujube seed) is the most important Chinese herb and is the primary ingredient in a classic Chinese herbal formula to address insomnia. It calms and nourishes the heart, and reduces irritability. It has a special relationship between the liver and the heart.
If you suffer from the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, consult a licensed acupuncturist who has trained in Chinese herbology. Do not self-diagnose and take google searches for face value. It is important to consult a medical acupuncture practitioner before self-administering Chinese herbs.
Yes, massage can help you sleep and treat insomnia. In tuina massage (twee-nah) massage, acupuncture points are massaged to relax the mind and calm the nervous system. Tuina massage in combination with acupuncture and herbal medicine, is proven to be very effective to help you sleep.
By alleviating stress and tension, your sleep will improve. If you are having trouble sleeping because you’re unable to get comfortable, tuina massage and acupuncture are effective ways to manage pain. This may include headaches, neck and back pain, and pain after surgery. If you’re experiencing insomnia due to menopause, cancer, GERD, or other medical conditions, tuina massage and acupuncture can help. Make an appointment today.
Tuina massage helps you sleep because stretching and smoothing bound-up muscles increase circulation and sends a signal to your brain to relax. With regular treatment, tuina massage is one modality of Chinese medicine that can be used to break the cycle of hyper-alertness and encourage deep sleep.
Meet Nicole McLaughlin
Since 2015, I've been a licensed acupuncturist in Washington, DC. I have advanced training in five element acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. My specialties are helping people overcome neuromuscular pain naturally, improve sleep, and support women with fertility, prenatal, postpartum, and menopausal care. I am dedicated to partnering with you on your path to better health. Learn more about Nicole.
Normal Sleep is Possible
East Asian Medicine is a natural and elegant system of holistic medicine. Using modalities such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, there are multiple ways that we can treat your inability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Plus, we can do it naturally with no side effects. Find out for yourself how to reclaim your sleep and enjoy your life again!
We’re in-network with Aetna and BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS)/CareFirst. You can also use your FSA or HSA card. Ready to take the next step? Check your insurance benefits and then you go to our online scheduling page to make your first appointment.
Looking forward to seeing you!
Nicole McLaughlin Acupuncture