Of all the issues that can come between you and your partner, snoring is one of the most frustrating. The complex structures that surround your airway can become blocked at any of several different points, causing sounds that range from a light snort to something from a horror movie. Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, offers several treatment options that can help ease the underlying causes of snoring. Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a serious condition. Talk to your doctor.
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Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can both work to treat the issues that cause snoring, says Benjamin Krieg, acupuncturist at the Roots of Eastern Medicine Acupuncture Clinic in Pleasanton, California. On the clinic’s website, Krieg notes that TCM can help reduce phlegm, improve the muscle tone of the structures in your mouth and throat, and decrease inflammation -- all of which can contribute to snoring.
Sleeping with your mouth open — a common trait in snorers — is an indication that your qi or vital life energy is weak, according to Dr. Bisong Guo, acupuncturist and qigong teacher in England, and Dr. Andrew Powell, chairman of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom, authors of “Listen to Your Body: The Wisdom of the Dao.” In addition to pursuing TCM treatments, you can increase the strength of your qi by eating natural, local vegetables that are lightly cooked, lean proteins and whole grains. Exercises that strengthen your legs and qigong meditation are two other ways of strengthening your qi.
One of the most popular herbal preparations in TCM is the ginseng and astragalus combination, or GAC, according to the Acupuncture website. GAC is a qi tonic, and can correct the underlying energy imbalance that causes the structures in your mouth and throat to collapse when you sleep. Some TCM doctors use GAC to treat obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, a disorder in which the soft tissues completely block the airway and preventing breathing during sleep. GAC help to relieve your snoring.
Acupuncturists work to stimulate the flow of qi by inserting tiny, hairlike needles into acupoints in various areas of your body. A 2007 study published in the journal “Sleep Medicine” by Anaflavia Freire and colleagues at the University of San Paulo, Brazil found that obstructive sleep apnea patients who received acupuncture experienced significantly fewer respiratory events during sleep than those who received sham acupuncture.
What to Expect
When you first visit a TCM doctor, she will ask you a series of questions about your overall health and wellbeing. Some questions might seem to bear no relation to your condition, notes the Yin Yang House website. You might wonder how what you do for a living or the kinds of food you enjoy have any impact on your snoring. Bear in mind that TCM views your entire being -- mind, body and emotions -- as part of the disease procress. Most TCM doctors will view your tongue and feel your pulse in order to diagnose you. Once the diagnostic is complete, the doctor will recommend an anti-snoring treatment plan that might include acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, exercises and lifestyle changes.