What is nocturia?
Getting up during your night’s sleep to urinate is known as nocturia. There are a number of causes of this problem including adverse effects of medications, bladder obstruction, edema of the legs, congestive heart failure and too much sodium in the diet. However, in most instances, the problem of nocturia is just put down to aging. It was at one stage thought to be more prevalent in men and a symptom of benign prostate hypertrophy but is now viewed as just being as a co factor in prostate problems, as it is just as common in men as in women. Analysis of data has revealed that as one ages, the number of times of getting up in the night increases. About 80% of people over the age of 75 will get up at least once during the night.
Getting up at night to urinate is one of the main complaints that cause disruptive sleep and then the follow on effect of fatigue during the day.
Circadian rhythm and nocturia
Modern scientific investigation into the root cause of nocturia has shown that one possible cause could be due to changes in the body and its ability to deal with circadian rhythms. There is a unique subset of peripheral tissues of which about 10% of our genes are being clock-controlled in each organ. A part of the brain known as the anterior hypothalamus has an important regulatory area for the sleep-wake function.
Chinese medicine and nocturia
The main cause of nocturia according to Chinese medicine is due to declining Jing-Essence and deficient kidneys due to aging. In fact, even modern medicine has shown that the kidneys play a role because of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and its action on sodium via the hormone aldosterone. Ancient Chinese physicians always emphasized the importance of maintaining kidney health to prevent premature aging. Taoist sages aiming to achieve longevity used herbs, acupuncture and meditation to improve their health including treatment to counteract the aging problem of nocturia.
Acupuncture points and nocturia
There are a number of acupuncture points that address the symptom of nocturia. Some of these include kidney channel points such as kidney 3 taixi, kidney 6 zhaohai and Kidney 7 fu liu. There are also acupuncture points on the face from the Master Tung style acupuncture method known as water through and water gold.
Chinese herbs and nocturia
The Chinese herbal pharmacopeia has over 5000 herbs at its disposal but about 500 are more commonly used. Of these there are many that treat kidney deficiency and some specifically address urination and nocturia symptoms. Examples of herbs that treat nocturia include fu pen zi, jin ying zi, lian xu and shan yao. There are also time tested formula that have been used in the treatment of nocturia including Sang Piao Xiao San.
Exercise and Meditation to treat nocturia
Qi gong and yoga are exercises that can improve health and may even help slow the biological clock to treat nocturia. An ancient Taoist classic, The Secret of the Golden Flower, mentions specific meditations that aim to rejuvenate the body one of which involves a focus and concentration on the 3rd eye area on the forehead. Who knows, maybe this mental exercise stimulates the anterior hypothalamus, which is known to play a role with the circadian rhythm.
Acupuncture New Zealand
There are over 700 members of Acupuncture New Zealand throughout the country for you choose from to help you with treatment. Heiko Lade of The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings and Kane Monrad of Connect Therapies in Hamilton are both members of Acupuncture New Zealand and practice exclusively the Tung Style Acupuncture method.