Recently the Sleep Education Blog has reported on two reviews and a new study of acupuncture for insomnia; the evidence to support its use remains limited.

But a new government report shows that acupuncture is growing in popularity. The report examined the use of complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. in 2007.

It found an overall decrease in visits to CAM providers in 2007 compared with 1997; but visits to acupuncturists increased by three times. People in the U.S. made an estimated 17.6 million visits to acupuncturists in 2007.

Why is there a growing interest in acupuncture? The report outlined a few reasons.

First, more states now license this practice; as a result the number of licensed providers has increased in the last decade.

Insurance coverage for CAM therapies also has increased in recent years. And more media coverage of acupuncture has raised public awareness.

A 2006 study estimated that 1.6 million people in the U.S. use CAM to treat insomnia. It suggested that about 8.5 percent of these people use alternative medical systems such as acupuncture.

Other proven treatments for insomnia are available. Both cognitive behavioral therapy and medications are effective.

A board-certified sleep specialist can determine which treatment is best for you. Contact an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center if you have an ongoing problem with insomnia.