Ever since I was a little kid, I've been obsessed with sleep. I've always been a lucid dreamer, and in fact can still clearly remember lucid dreams I had starting at age five. As I grew older, I started to really embrace the mystery of what happens when we drift off. It's such a complicated process, and there is so much we don't know. My interest in this subject was further titillated by several things. First, my dreams were so vivid that I would quite often get confused between dreams and "real" memories. I would start talking about something that happened a few months ago, and then realize that it didn't happen in my waking life. It was just a dream, but a dream so excruciatingly detailed, it was inseparable from reality.
Secondly, I suffered from frequent night terrors as a child, and these terrors lasted well into my adult life. I used to have nightmares of something dragging me out of my bed. When I awoke, I would be hanging off the bed, desperately clinging to it, as if something invisible was pulling at me. For a long time, I entertained the thought that demons were coming to steal me away in the middle of the night. As I grew and researched, I found the true cause of this phenomenon (it's actually fairly common), but it didn't make it any less terrifying while it was going on.
Then, when I was a teenager, my mother began to suffer from a variety of health issues, which led to sleep apnea. The sleep apnea progressed to such a degree that she became narcoleptic. In case you're not familiar with the term, narcolepsy is a condition in which someone will fall asleep anywhere, anytime, with no warning at all. She would fall asleep driving, talking, or walking. It was frightening, and extremely dangerous.
Fortunately my mother has since recovered with the help of a CPAP machine, but my fascination with sleep and sleeping disorders hasn't wavered. In fact, I feel like all of these things have happened for a reason, and that focusing on sleep in my practice is my personal calling. I absolutely love treating insomnia, and actually get excited when patients come in with this complaint. The effect acupuncture has on sleep is truly mind-blowing. And the unfortunate thing is that very few people know this. Usually I end up treating sleep issues as an afterthought. Patients come in with back pain, and only mention that they have trouble sleeping when I specifically ask. Oh, but when I do find out...I'm sure my eyes light right up. Because I know how well it works, and when I am able to give someone the gift of a good night's sleep, I feel like Santa pulling out a spectacular toy.
So, if you know anyone who suffers from insomnia or other sleep issues, now you know. Acupuncture works. And it works really well. Spread the word!