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Author Topic: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help  (Read 1669 times)

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Offline OzPaul

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  • a very blessed 29 year ltnp
Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« on: September 21, 2009, 11:23:50 PM »
Hi everybody

I've been struggling with insomnia for several years now and it's getting worse. I'm on meds for bipolar disorder and am doing well on that front. I'm seeing an acupuncturist and Chinese herb Dr. on Friday. Does any one have experience with this ? Did it, can it, does it help ?  I don't drink caffeine after 8am, I have one beer a day, don't eat after 6pm and get lots of exercise, so that's all good.

Thanks, Paul
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 12:53:00 AM by OzPaul »

Offline komnaes

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2009, 02:36:31 AM »
Hey Paul,

I see an acupuncturist regularly and my experiences so far have been good. I am not sure if it's just psychological but I do sleep better for a few nights after each visit.

You should however note that not all acupuncturist is Chinese herbal medical practitioner - i.e. s/he may know how to use the needles but not have the full training on "prescribing" herbs for ailments. While acupuncture relays on a more "scientific" principle of pressure points (i.e. adding pressure on certain points would help certain problems like neck pain, sleeplessness, etc), it cannot be said on herbs. You want to be even more careful if you're already on HIV meds.

I would therefore say that there's not much to worry about seeing acupuncturist - there's nothing to loss if it doesn't work; but if you're also getting herbal treatments you may want to ask first his/her qualification to practice and second if s/he's experiences with us HIV patients.

Wish you the best, Shaun

PS - just to be on the safe side I am not saying acupuncture or herbs offer any alternative treatments to HIV, only that they, in particularly the former, can help in some cases to ease other problems (in particularly pain issues) and side effects caused by meds..
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline OzPaul

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2009, 04:06:53 AM »
Hey Komnaes

Thanks so much for your insight into my query !! While I'm not on HIV meds, I will keep your points in mind regarding the bipolar meds I'm taking.

The folks I'm seeing for insomnia are  husband and wife, both licensed and highly qualified. One does the needles, the other the herbs. They both come to me recommended by friends who have been treated by them.

Cheers,

Paul

Offline CallMeSid

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2009, 01:37:01 PM »
I have seen an acupuncturist (two actually) for a period of a few months at different times (both times preceded my acquisition of HIV).  The first period of acupuncture treatment was done not for any specific complaint, but more out of curiosity to see if it would contribute to my overall health.  I can't really say that I saw a noticeable benefit.  The second period of acupuncture treatment was prompted by fatigue, lack of energy, and low-grade depression.  Again, not much improvement was seen.  Both times I was prescribed herbal remedies in conjunction with the acupuncture.

Just curious, were your friends who referred you to the acupuncturists treated by them for insomnia or for other complaints?

Maybe you've already done this, but if you haven't, you might want to be evaluated by a sleep specialist (a MD somnologist).  I was evaluated by one a few years ago when I thought I might have sleep apnea (turns out I didn't meet the criteria).  He suggested that I start using melatonin on a very specific schedule -- I did it for a while and then stopped.  (I wouldn't recommend trying melatonin on your own -- it's available at health food stores, but there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about how it works among the regular folk.)

Hope that helps!  Sorry to hear about your long struggle with insomnia.  One night of insomnia messes me up for a couple of days, so I couldn't imagine a years-long struggle.  Hang in there!
07/2006 HIV-negative
06/2007 HIV-positive
07/2007 CD4: 795 (40%), VL: <50
09/2007 CD4: 629 (43%), VL: 895  (~2 weeks after measles/mumps/rubella booster)
12/2007 CD4: 854 (45%), VL: <50
03/2008 CD4: 880 (45%), VL: 151
12/2008 CD4: 943 (46%), VL: 116
05/2009 CD4: 865 (44%)  VL: 107

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2009, 02:38:08 PM »
I agree with the sleep study/specialist route, just to rule out sleep apnea which is being diagnosed in more and more people.  Not that I have anything against acupuncture at all, as I did it myself during my first year of HIV diagnosis.  My acupuncturist was great, and was also a M.D., gay, and knew a lot about HIV so his emphasis for my treatment was on my digestive tract.

Anyway, good luck.  I've had insomnia issues now for at least a decade, and it's not that unusual in folks with an HIV infection or at least one that has progressed a lot -- but since Paul is a LTNP I doubt that is related.  Of course, sleep apnea can occur with anyone.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline OzPaul

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  • a very blessed 29 year ltnp
Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2009, 03:39:22 AM »
Thanks Sid and Miss P. for you replies !

I'm hoping the acupuncture/herb treatment will work. If not , I'll consider my other options. I live in a rural area so it would mean heading to Melbourne for treatment, which is okay, particularly if I can get much needed help.

Paul

Offline water duck

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2009, 03:40:51 AM »
Did it, can it, does it help ?  

it all depends on what is causing your insomnia; as such it is advisable to consult a sleep study/ specialist as sugguested.

if you choose to do acupuncture and chinese herbs (which are branches of TCM) then understanding it's philosophy and concept would make you a informed consumer. the whole idea is to balance the yin and yang energies in the body , which is done by taking the pulse which is an 'art' all by itself, based on the sensibility of the practitioner.  chinese herbology take into consideration the five elements ; fire, wind ,water , metal , earth = where one can nourish or control the other - all the main organs are attribute an element where they also govern an emotion. over reactions ; etc causes imbalance in the body , therefore the body becomes = dis-ease ; the whole purpose is to balance these energies which could be 'ascending' ; 'descending' ; 'dispersing' ; 'stagnant' . so if the person you are seeing are using vocabularies like these , she/he knows what they are talking about.

i guess the most important issue here is DO you believe in it or not, otherwise , it will not work.

Offline OzPaul

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  • a very blessed 29 year ltnp
Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2009, 04:06:45 AM »
Hi Water Duck

Thanks so much for your insight ! Yes, I DO believe. I was treated in Santa Fe last year for a couple of ailments using herbs and needles and had excellent outcomes. Even back when I was 16, a long time ago, I went to a 'holistic' Dr.  :D

I'll be sure to keep in mind your descriptive terms regarding energy as well.

Thanks again everyone for you input !! It's been very helpful.

Cheers,

Paul

Offline Dale Parker

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2009, 03:17:00 PM »
Hey Ozpaul: I hope that you have good luck with both the acupuncture and herbal meds. I have friends that do those things and swear they help. Before you start taking any herbal medicines you should check with your hiv doctor and pharmacist.  I read on the Kaletra website that if you take St. Johns Wort the Kaletra it will not work as well as it should.  This may apply to other hiv drugs and herb combinations.
Best of luck
Dale
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline BT65

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Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2009, 05:43:06 PM »
In a (drug) treatment center I was in, they did acpuncture in the ears.  I was hesitant at first (just fear), but eventually got talked into it.  I was so glad I did it-totally relaxing, and I felt a sort of high for a couple hours when it was done.  I wish insurance would cover acupuncture.  Maybe someday.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline OzPaul

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  • a very blessed 29 year ltnp
Re: Insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, need help
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 02:37:01 AM »
Hi Dale and Betty

Tomorrow is my big day. I'm optimistic for good results and realize it may take a few treatments and time for the herbs too work. My sleep has been so bad for so long I can wait a spell for the good effects to kick in.

BTW Betty, Australian Medicare (which everyone has) does not cover acupuncture either but some private insurance coverage pays for part of the acupuncture fees. Mine alas does not.

Cheers,

Paul

 


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