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April Bui Holistic Acupuncture

Houston Acupuncture & Energy Medicine Clinic  .  Memorial, Spring Branch


  713-922-3474  |  Monday - Sunday  

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Sleep Disorders

On this page is a brief discussion about sleep disorders according to Chinese medicine principles, the possible causes of this condition by Chinese medicine diagnosis, and the treatment protocol at our clinic.


Please keep in mind that Chinese medicine is very different in principle, concept, language, and treatment method from western medicine. The information here is intended for the lay people who have no knowledge about Chinese medicine, therefore this discussion must be limited in scope and depth. 


The purpose is to impart the relevant information and to help you gain a general understanding, from your standpoint as a potential patient of Chinese medicine, how Chinese medicine views and diagnoses this condition of interest and what you can expect from a treatment if you decide to become a patient of our clinic.

Chinese Medicine Terminology

Below are brief explanations of some common terms and concepts in Chinese medicine diagnosis that you would come across in a reading. Although Chinese medicine concept can be abstract, this helps you to understand better the discussion on this page.

  • Qi - means energy and is the universal energy that pervades within and without us everywhere in our physical realm of existence. Strictly speaking in our body, qi is the vital force that causes all movements, activities, functions, growth, development, control, check and balance, nourishment, protection, and transformation.

  • Blood - the food sustenance for life force and nourishment for all functions in our body. 

  • Yin - pertains to the material basis of our body.
  • Yang - pertains to the energetic, functional aspect of our body.

  • Jing Essence - the vital substance which governs and originates the primal foundation for the soul aspect and physical aspect at the moment of conception as well as throughout life. Essence is intrinsically connected to and stored in the kidneys. Essence also helps to create bone marrow and reproductive vital substances such as semen, sperms, eggs, menstrual blood.

  • Damp - refers to moisture in the body. The mentioning of damp in a diagnosis usually refers to an excessive accumulation that consequently produces problems.

  • Heat, cold - temperature in our body. The mentioning of temperature in a diagnosis usually indicates an extreme level of imbalance.

  • Wind - exists naturally in our body. The mentioning of wind in a diagnosis indicates an imbalance has occurred which causes the activity of wind to become excessive or in severe cases out of control.

  • Meridian - another term for energy channel.
  • Deficiency, excess - the condition of imbalance in the body relative to a normal balance.

Chinese Medicine Diagnosis:

Sleep disorders are characterized by the inability to fall asleep, waking frequently throughout the night, inability to sleep deeply, respiratory obstruction such as sleep apnea, significant disturbances such as overly active dreams or nightmares, feeling lethargic when wake in the morning. According to Chinese medicine, these imbalances are the result of:


• Qi stagnation of liver, heart, gallbladder

• Yin deficiency of liver, heart, kidney, spleen

• Blood deficiency

• Heat, excess or deficient type

• Excessive phlegm obstructing heart

The human body is an energy matrix and proper energy regulation is necessary to achieve a deeply restful sleep. All cases of sleep disorder have one thing in common and it is the inability of one’s energy to descend from the mental/head area and be grounded at the dan tian (the seat and power source of energy located at the navel level). 


When too much energy is active and concentrated in the head area at night, the common results  are inability to fall asleep, able to fall asleep but wake frequently through the night, lots of mental activities including active dreaming even though one sleeps through the night, frequent disturbing dreams or nightmares. Consequently, one is really not sleeping deeply and the energy system does not have an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate therefore waking in the morning feeling sluggish and dragging through the day.

Treatment Protocol:

Acupuncture and herbs are the primary methods used in sleep treatment to achieve these healing effects:


• Nourish qi, yin, and blood. 

• Clear heat and/or phlegm obstruction. 

• Unblock energy pathways, guide qi downward, and calm the spirit. 


Chinese medicine is quite effective for treating sleep disorders. For severe cases, we also incorporate flower essence remedy to strongly harness and ground mental energy during night. 


The course of treatment is six weekly sessions. A maintenance program is necessary to continue supporting the body and energy system. 


Important Tips:

  • It is important to avoid sleep aid while undergoing acupuncture treatment for sleep.
  • Avoid all caffeinated drinks in the evening including sodas, black tea, green tea, white tea.
  • Avoid all stimulants in food or beverages.
  • Avoid yang type of food in the evening, for example salads or raw vegetables, raw fruits, fresh juices or smoothies. Yang type of food stimulates energy and is more appropriate for daytime consumption, not evening.  
  • Avoid consuming alcohol in the evening as alcohol invigorates blood and will stimulate metabolic and energetic activities during sleep.
  • Some high blood pressure and anti-depressant medications cause insomnia. If you're taking these medications, it's important to check their side-effects and consult with your doctor.

Individualized Assessment:

An in-person consultation is necessary in order for us to give you an in-depth assessment and to recommend an individualized treatment plan. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation appointment.

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