From PMS to Menopause…Try Acupuncture!
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are safe and effective modalities to restore and maximize women’s health. Acupuncture can be used for girls and women through all phases of life. According to the theory of TCM, Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the vital energy that travels through the body to all cells and organs through pathways called meridians. When Qi and blood are of adequate quantity and are free flowing health is present. However, when Qi or blood are inadequate or channels become blocked disharmony and disease follow. If Qi and blood become stagnant dampness and heat can lead to phlegm accumulation. Phlegm accumulation is responsible for the development of diseases such as fibrocystic breast disease or fibroid tumors. If health is not restored the body’s ability to maintain normal cell function becomes compromised which in turn can lead to more significant diseases including cancer.
There are several organs and meridians that are associated with gynecological health including the liver, kidney and spleen. These organs can become imbalanced due to inadequate nutrition, emotional issues, trauma, excessive inactivity, or insufficient sleep. Organ or meridian disharmony can cause the symptoms associated with PMS, irregular or painful menstruation, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breast disease and other pathologies. Listed below are some of the common conditions that acupuncture and TCM can effectively treat:
- Irregular menstruation or painful menstruation, PMS. Short, long or irregular menstrual cycles, premenstrual syndrome, heavy bleeding and hormone related migraine headaches. These problems are often related to liver Qi stagnation. Treatment is geared at soothing the liver, reducing emotional imbalance and restoring the free flow of Qi and blood to reduce symptoms. Treatment usually includes acupuncture, cupping and herbal formulas to restore harmony.
- Infertility. The liver, spleen and kidney organs and meridians are associated with infertility. Acupuncture and moxibustion are effective in balancing hormone levels, improving ovulation and preparing and maintaining a receptive uterine lining. Several studies have found that acupuncture and can improve pregnancy rates during in-vitro fertilization when treatment is completed prior to and after embryo transfer. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome are treated with acupuncture and herbs which are used to normalize hormone levels, improve metabolism and restore a healthier menstrual cycle.
- Pregnancy-related discomforts. Acupuncture can relieve many of the discomforts that often accompany pregnancy such as morning sickness, heartburn, headache, fatigue, constipation and back pain. Acupuncture treatments are essential for building Qi and blood after delivery, improving milk supply, and dealing with anxiety or postpartum depression. Acupuncture and moxibustion can assist with inducing labor in a post-term pregnancy limiting or preventing hospital intervention.
- Fibrocystic breast disease. This condition is related to Qi stagnation, accumulation of heat, chronic disharmony, or phlegm accumulation. The liver and stomach channels both cross the breast, if disharmony is present in the organs or meridians, stagnation may occur bringing heat changes in the breast leading to phlegm accumulation and cyst formation. Acupuncture and herbal formulas are the treatment of choice to restore harmony and allow the body to heal naturally reducing breast lumps, pain and inflammation.
- Uterine Fibroids. According to TCM theory, fibroids are masses caused by the accumulation of blood, Qi and phlegm. There are several predisposing factors including deficiency of vital Qi and emotional or physical trauma during menses. Fibroids are most common in women of child bearing age. They can cause significant pain, abdominal distension and heavy menstrual bleeding that at times is severe enough to cause anemia. The spleen, liver and kidney meridians are most often associated with the development of fibroids. The treatment is aimed at reducing the symptoms and halting the growth of the fibroids. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are the treatment of choice for fibroids.
- Menopause. Acupuncture can relieve many of the common symptoms of menopause including, night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, changes in libido, digestive changes, memory problems, anxiety and mood swings. From a TCM perspective menopausal symptoms are the result of a decline of Kidney Essence including both the Yin and Yang aspects. Treatment consists of acupuncture and Chinese herbs used to tonify and nourish the Kidney.
TCM has various treatment modalities available including acupuncture, herbal remedies, cupping, moxibustion, guasha, Tuina, nutritional recommendations and electroacupuncture. Acupuncture and TCM are effective for both acute and chronic women’s health issues. Acupuncture can be used as a preventative medicine when treatment is given periodically throughout the year. Treatment helps the body adjust to changing seasons, cope with physical and emotional stressors to maintain the balance of the Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood.
Jo-Ann Connelly, RN, L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in Glastonbury, CT. Wolfspirit Acupuncture offers treatment in a community clinic as well as private appointments. The community clinic combines the benefit of acupuncture and TCM along with massage therapy by Katie Thayer of Glastonbury Healing Massage and Wellness. Katie is available for private sessions as well. For more information please visit: www.wolfspiritacupuncture.com or call Wolfspirit Acupuncture at 860-430-9653.