Researchers who conducted a systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for insomnia say some therapies, including acupressure, are promising—but that when it comes to treating sleeplessness, Swedish massage and some other CAM therapies need further research. This review showed:

• acupressure, yoga and tai chi are all effective in addressing insomnia

• there is mixed evidence to support the use of acupuncture and L-tryptophan for insomnia

• the evidence to support herbal medicine for insomnia is weak.

“Surprisingly, studies involving several mainstream CAM therapies (e.g., homoeopathy, massage, or aromatherapy) were not located or did not meet basic inclusion criteria … If CAM interventions are to be considered as viable stand-alone or adjuvant treatments for sleep disorders, future researchers are urged to use acceptable methodology, including appropriate sample sizes and adequate controls,” the researchers noted in an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

“[Randomized controlled trials] evaluating other untested CAM therapies such as massage, homoeopathy, or osteopathy are encouraged, as is the exploration of using CAM therapies adjuvantly with conventional therapies,” they added.

“A systematic review of insomnia and complementary medicine” was published in Sleep Medicine Reviews (2010 June 5).

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