Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Acupuncture Update: Nightmares

Over the past two weeks and with increasing frequency since my last treatment I have been having terrible nightmares. My husband really enjoys waking to the sound of a blood curdling scream at 2 am. The worst part for me is that I waken so terrified, heart pounding, crying, and recalling my dream. I always remember exactly what is happening and one dream has been recurring since childhood. Last night was the most bizarre series of dreams I have ever had and unfortunately I couldn't go firmly back to sleep until around 5 am, overslept began developing a migraine and felt crappy all day. At my treatment today, my doctor asked me specifics of the dream and noted that it could be a number of things and recommended a few interesting things to help clear my mind including smudging, which is explained in detail below, and covering or removing the mirror facing my bed. She then proceeded to stick a needle square in my forehead (and other places) and I drifted off in a warm and comforting wrinkle in time. I did find some interesting information about nightmares and acupuncture and I am hoping that tonight is a more restful experience as a result.

From: Acupuncture - Dream Disturbed Sleep

t is important to differentiate between normal dreams, and dreams which are troublesome and indicate some kind of imbalance.

Dreaming which does not make the sleep restless, is not frightening, does not disturb the mind the morning after, and does not leave the person very tired in the morning, can be consider as normal.

‘Excessive dreaming’, or dreams with indicate imbalance may be defined as dreams which cause restless sleep or nightmares, resulting in the person feeling very tired the following morning.

Within Chinese medicine, the Mind (or Spirit) resides in the Blood, in particular the Heart Blood. In this sense, the Blood acts as an 'anchor' for the Mind to prevent it from wandering off. When the Heart Blood is weak, then there is no 'anchor' for the Mind and at night it can wander and cause excessive dreaming. The old classics of acupuncture described various types of unpleasant dreams such as nightmares, waking up screaming, sleepwalking and talking in one’s sleep. They related dreaming to the wandering of the 'ethereal soul ' at night.

Although it is mainly the Heart organ that is involved with excessive dreams, other organs such as the Kidneys, Gall Bladder, or Stomach may also be involved. The content of the dream may also give some indication of where there is an imbalance, for example, dreams with crying and weeping would point to a Lung excess condition, since these are the emotions linked to the Lungs. Plunging into water and being scared would indicate a Kidney deficiency condition, and there are many others.

At the initial consultation, information is gathered to get a complete picture of what is causing the bad dreams and disturbed sleep. Treatment would normally be once weekly, perhaps more frequently if the dreams were particularly disturbing.

Smudging: What It Is and How to Do It

By Annie B. Bond

Smudging is used and recommended by indigenous peoples, feng shui practitioners, healers, and more, for “space clearing” and purification.

A Native American healer I respect smudges his computer every night. I myself use it frequently when I feel “stuck” emotionally. What is smudging? Why do it? Why learn about it?

Here is what I think smudging is, and why it is often a very useful tool to use in the home.

Healers often recommend smudging to change the “energy” of a place after an event has happened, such a death, or even an argument. Smudging a computer would be done to remove the electromagnetic field energy; smudging one’s desk at the end of the day could be to remove the “work” mentality from the air; smudging after an argument would be done to clear the air, quite literally.

I think that smudging works to change the energetic of a space because of the science of entrainment. Our senses respond to vibrations, and there is a law of physics that makes vibrations want to start being harmonious, to be in synchrony. Entrainment is a word often used with music. In sound healing, the dissonant chord is gradually influenced by the harmonious cord and the disharmony changes to harmony over time.

Even air has a vibration, held I believe in the humidity. The water of the humidity would absorb the negative “vibe” of an argument, for example, and hold it. If you burn a healing plant, such as sage, in such an atmosphere, the humidity would then hold the energetic of the healing plant, and bit by bit the discordant energetic of the argument would be influenced by the harmonious vibration of the plant smoke.

The herbs burned are usually sage (white in particular), sweetgrass, or cedar, although any dried herb is fine, even lavender. If the herb has too woody a stem, the leaf part will burn very fast and die out.

White sage is a good choice because the leaf clusters are very long, and the leaves will smolder for quite a long time, emitting smoke into the air. Sage is also known as a purifying herb. Sweetgrass burns very quickly, and is a great choice for emanating sweet smell into the air (and healers believe sweet grass brings a high level of spirituality and burns away negativity). Cedar is very strong, and is considered powerful for removing negativity.

Buy your smudge sticks from those who honor the plants and bundle the herbs with sacred ceremony of appreciation. If you grow your own herbs, research making smudge sticks and honoring the plants.

To burn herbs, and create smoke, you have to be very careful not to start a fire. I use a big ashtray, with steep sides. Some light whole bundles of herbs, but I don’t because there is no need, usually, for that much smoke. Instead, I untie a smudge bundle and pull out just a few leaves, and light them. Once there is a flame, you blow out the flame (making sure you catch any sparks in the ashtray). The herbs will smolder, and the smoke will waft into the home. Walk around with the ashtray (smoking herbs included), and make sure the smoke reaches into all the areas of a room you want.

When you are done, let the herbs extinguish on their own (if they are safely in the ashtray and away from wind), or extinguish them fully with water.

As I think about smudging, sitting here on the cusp of spring and winter, I can see how smudging out the winter mood’s to let in the renewal of spring is a great use of smudging.

From Dream Moods:

To see twins in your dream, signifies ambivalence, dualities and opposites. It represents security in business, faithfulness, and contentment with life. It may also mean that you are either in harmony with or in conflict between ideas and decisions.

To see twins fighting in your dream, represents a conflict between the opposites of your psyche. One twin signifies emergence of unconscious material and suppressed feelings, while the other twin represents the conscious mind. There is some situation that you are not confronting.

To see a spider in your dream, indicates that you are feeling like an outsider in some situation. Or that you may want to keep your distance and stay away from an alluring and tempting situation. The spider is also symbolic of feminine power. Alternatively, a spider may refer to a powerful force protecting you against your self-destructive behavior. If you kill a spider, it symbolizes misfortune and general bad luck.

To see a spider spinning a web in your dream, signifies that you will be rewarded for your hard work. You will soon find yourself promoted in your job or recognized for your achievement in a difficult task. Spiders are a symbol of creativity due to the intricate webs they spin. On a negative note, spiders may indicate a feeling of being entangled or trapped in a sticky or clingy relationship.It represents some ensnaring and controlling force. You may feel that someone or some situation is sucking the life right out of you. Alternatively, if a spider is spinning a web in your dream, then it could be a metaphor for the world wide web and global communication.

To see a spider climbing up a wall in your dream, denotes that your desires will be soon be realized.

To dream that you are bitten by a spider, represents a conflict with your mother or some dominant female figure in your life. The dream may be a metaphor for a devouring mother or the feminine power to possess and entrap. Perhaps you are feeling trapped by some relationship.

To see a web in your dream, represents your desire to control everything around you. Alternatively, it suggests that you are being held back from fully expressing yourself. You feel trapped and do not know what to do or where to go. The dream may also be symbolic of your social network of acquaintances and associates or it may represent the world wide web.

To see your mother in your dream, represents the nurturing aspect of your own character. Mothers offer shelter, comfort, life, guidance and protection. Some people may have problems freeing themselves from their mothers and are thus seeking their own individuality and development.

To dream that you are having a conversation with your mother, denotes a matter that has preoccupied your mind and you are not sure how to deal with it in your waking life. It indicates unresolved problems that still need to be worked out with your mother.

To hear your mother call you in our dream, signifies that you have been negligent in your duties and responsibilities. You are pursuing down the wrong path.

To hear your mother cry in your dream, denotes some illness or affliction.


To dream that you are throwing something, indicates that there is someone or something that you need to rid yourself of from your life. Consider the object that you are throwing. Alternatively, the dream may be a pun that you are "throwing" or fixing a game or situation. Are you working against the objective?

To see rocks in your dream, signifies permanence and stability as expressed in the familiar phrase "as solid as a rock". It may also indicate that you are making a commitment to a relationship. Or you may be contemplating some changes in your life that will lay the groundwork for a more solid foundation. On the other hand rocks may also symbolize stubbornness, disharmony and unhappiness.

To dream that you are climbing a steep rock, signifies struggles, obstacles, and disappointments.

To dream about the death of a loved one, suggests that you are lacking a certain aspect or quality that the loved one embodies. Ask yourself what makes this person special or what do you like about him. It is that very quality that you are lacking in your own relationship or circumstances. Alternatively, it indicates that whatever that person represents has no part in your own life.

To dream of your own death, indicates a transitional phase in your life. You are becoming more enlightened or spiritual. Alternatively, you are trying desperately to escape the demands of your daily life.


  1. I am being treated for miscarriages. Every time I receive acupuncture I have horrible nightmares that my mother is missing or ill. I scream in my dreams and wake very tired. I spoke with the doctor and he doesn't think it is related to my treatments. I appreciate any guidance on this matter.

    1. Talk to your acupuncture person... Doctors don't understand... I would say they are related ... We don't listen to our bodies enough anymore!

  2. Great Blog!!! Thanks for sharing the article.Acupuncture promotes natural healing. It can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve overall function and well-being.
    Acupuncture in Ellicott City


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