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Natural Treatments for Insomnia

There is a wide range of natural treatments used today for insomnia and stress control.  They may be utilized by themselves or in combination with conventional medical treatments.  Factors like health condition,  economical issues or personal preference have to be considered to optimize patient's outcome.

Most common natural treatments for insomnia include:

Behavioral treatment
Older couple in behavioral therapy for insomnia

This is a strategy where patient education plays a critical role.  

Often changing some bad sleep habits and employing good sleep hygiene helps solve the problem with insomnia.
Aromatherapy may be helpful in insomnia treatments

Use of essential oils for treatment of different disorders goes as far back in time as ancient civilizations.  

The aromatherapy oil can be used in small amounts for massage, bath or inhalation.  Some people just put 3-4 drops on the pillow.  Oils used commonly for stress and sleep problems are made from lavender, marjoram and ylang-ylang.
Acupuncture may be helpful for insomnia

This is done by sticking very thin needles through the skin to special, symptom-related points on the body.

The idea of acupuncture involves energy flowing throughout the body.  This energy called chi flows along the pathways - meridians.  When chi is blocked or unbalanced at any point on a meridian, you may become ill.  The goal of acupuncture is to unblock and balance the flow of chi to restore health.

This is the same idea as acupuncture.  The difference is that instead of needles, the index and ring fingers are used to apply pressure on sensitive points.  

Some practitioners may also use heat or mild electrical shock to stimulate the meridians.
Massage Therapy
Massage therapy helps to relax

Massage therapy has been successfully used to heal a wide range of medical conditions.  Among them are stress and stress related problems like depression and insomnia.  

There are different types of massage therapy from very gentle to rather intense.  Gentle massage of the neck and shoulders may be very helpful for body relaxation.
Relaxation and Meditation
Meditating women Relaxation techniques include breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation.  
Breathing exercises involve slow and deep inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth.  
Muscle relaxation will reduce the tension and mental anxiety resulting from stress.  

Recent studies suggest that meditation may influence production of certain hormons in the body.  One of them melatonin  regulates circadian rhythm and sleep. 

Often it is very helpful to use a prerecorded audiotape, where an instructor guides you through all the steps.

Both conventional and natural treatments for insomnia have benefits and risks. Non-pharmacologic approaches are preferred by many people because, being relatively effective, they are often free of side effects.  Also natural methods like meditation, counseling, relaxation techniques or massage can help ease stress and improve a person's sense of well-being, which may positively influence their physical health in general.

Some elements like Calcium, Magnesium, vitamins B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin and pantothenic acid) and vitamin D play an essential role in many of the body's metabolic reactions and also in the regulation of the nervous system.  Deficiency of any of these elements or vitamins may be linked with sleep problems. 

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