Auricular Acupuncture Versus Sham Acupuncture in the Treatment of Women Who Have Insomnia

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COMPARATIVE studies
ACUPUNCTURE -- Therapeutic use
INSOMNIA -- Treatment
INSOMNIACS -- Medical care
SLEEP disorders -- Treatment
Geographic Terms:SWEDEN

Abstract:Background: Improvement in sleep parameters in relation to acupuncture treatment is often found and referred to as being a positive side-effect in the treatment of other illnesses. There is a lack of randomized studies, which primarily study the direct effect of acupuncture on sleep. Objectives: To investigate whether or not auricular acupuncture has an effect on sleep parameters among people with insomnia. Design: A single-blind, randomized pilot study where the treatment group received auricular acupuncture treatment (AAT) on active points and the control group received AAT on sham points during a 6-week treatment period. Setting: Participants were recruited from the psychiatric outpatient clinics in the geographical area connected to a local hospital in central Sweden. Subjects: In all, 28 women were included in the study, with 14 in each group.

Their mean and median age was 53 years. Outcome Measures: Sleep parameters were obtained by using the Karolinska Sleep Diary. Results: No statistically significant differences were observed between the groups relating to parameters associated with the definition of insomnia. The treatment group experienced that it was easier to wake up in the morning compared with the control group (repeated-measures analysis of variance, p = 0.04). Both groups showed a statistically significant recovery in subjective sleep parameters during the study period (weeks 1–6) compared with baseline values (week 0). Conclusions: Only modest evidence was found supporting the hypothesis that AAT may have an effect on insomnia. Least improvements were found in total sleep time and number of awakenings, 2 parameters directly associated with the definition of insomnia. AAT may have a role in the treatment of insomnia, especially in combination with other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy. This study provides an example of how to perform studies using alternative therapies for sleep disorders.

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