Community Acupuncture for Nightmares

Most nightmares are thought to be the result of our brains and bodies reacting to stress, and some doctors think they may be an attempt at processing or working through traumatic events. Whether it’s a dream about violence, losing someone you care for, or being late for work, a nightmare can evoke a significant amount of stress and cause us to wake up in a panic. Nightmares can have an effect beyond our sleeping life, as that fear and anxiety can seep into the morning, setting the stage for the rest of the day. Bad dreams can also interfere with deep, restful sleep, as we usually experience nightmares during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase or the deeper phases of sleep. Some folks even go through phases of being scared of going to sleep.

What can community acupuncture do for nightmares?

Acupuncture is great at treating stress, anxiety, and the impacts of trauma, and whether those things are causing, aggravating or are the result of the nightmares, it’s likely acupuncture will help. We have treated numerous people for their bad dreams, and usually see the nightmares get significantly less frequent, less severe, or even disappear completely.

How often should I come in?

For chronic conditions we usually suggest starting with about 10 or 12 treatments at a frequency of 2 to 3 times a week. We find acupuncture treatments to be more powerful and have more of an effect if we group them closer together. Everyone responds to acupuncture differently, so we may recommend more or less frequent treatments depending on how severe and frequent your dreams are and how you respond to acupuncture.

What if I have a nightmare in the clinic?

People do frequently fall asleep in our comfy recliners (acupuncture can be that relaxing). It is rare, but having a nightmare while getting acupuncture is possible. If this is a concern, please check-in with us. Do you want us to wake you up if it looks like you’re having a nightmare while you’re here? Would you like to remain seated upright so that you don’t fall asleep? Please tell us because we’d like to know. It’s important to us to help make your visit as comfortable and relaxing as possible.

If you have questions about how community acupuncture can help you with nightmares, please get in touch.

A row of three people reclining in lazyboys, covered with red blankets, with a practitioner seated on a stool glancing down at an acupuncture needle in her hand.
photo by Vanessa Tignanelli

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