PMT, dysmenorrhoea (painful menstrual periods), irregular menstrual cycles, periods that are too heavy; for something that occurs naturally, usually on a monthly basis, it is amazing how women’s health suffers. The Chinese Medicine view is that Qi or Blood stagnation or deficiency is usually the culprit and acupuncture can help to relieve these conditions.
Acupuncture in Pregnancy
Many women, whilst being overjoyed that they are pregnant, find that the pregnancy itself is anything but fun. They cite nausea, back pain and exhaustion frequently as the downside of pregnancy. In some cases, women can feel overwhelming just how ill being pregnant makes them feel. Most GP’s will advise rest but that is not always possible. Acupuncture, when a qualified licensed acupuncturist administers it, is a safe way of helping to relieve some of the problems related to pregnancy.
From 37 weeks, a specific pre-birth treatment can help prepare a woman’s body for labour. This practice is common in German hospitals where they practice acupuncture. Only small studies have been done but these suggest that treatment consistently increases the chances of women experiencing natural efficient labour as well as reducing the time spent in labour.
In many countries, their families take care of women in the weeks immediately following labour, giving them special acupuncture treatments to aid recovery. Our modern society has lost much of this but acupuncture can be very beneficial in the days immediately after childbirth. Pregnancy and labour are very taxing on a woman’s body and even more so as women are having babies into their late 30’s and 40’s. Post-natal acupuncture can help build up the body’s reserves of energy and help fight off infection.
‘Mother Warming’ – A Gentle but Strengthening Treatment
A gentle but strengthening treatment for women post-birth is the ‘mother-warming’. This uses moxibustion (which is a dried herb called mugwort) to warm up the meridians running along the lower back and abdomen. It is particularly good for anyone with a fear of needles as we can administer it without using them. I recommend the treatment as soon as possible after birth, preferably twice a week for 3 weeks. For more information please visit the British Acupuncture Council’s advice on the puerperium.
For more information regarding acupuncture for pregnancy please read my blog
Acupuncture for the Menopause
For many women, the thought of the menopause conjures up fear of mood swings, hot flushes and ageing. Ageing is inevitable but the others don’t have to be. I have experience of treating hot flushes (or hot flashes as they are sometimes known) and has been very successful in reducing their frequency and intensity. Chinese Medicine sees night sweats as being particularly detrimental as they deprive the body of important fluids and can accelerate ageing. For more information please read my blog.
Combining acupuncture and nutrition therapy can make an enormous difference to menopausal symptoms and women’s health in general. Please read our Bridge to Health special offer.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, as the name suggests, is when multiple cysts grow on the ovaries. The exact cause is unknown but it can run in families and may be related to hormones. With PCOS, the ovaries create an abundance of follicles each month without producing an egg. This disruption in ovulation makes PCOS the most common cause of infertility among women.
- Side effects can be:
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
- Increased body hair
- Failure to ovulate
Chinese Medicine views PCOS as being linked to disharmony in the channels with Damp and stagnation. Evidence as to the efficacy of acupuncture is patchy.
Endometriosis is a condition whereby endometrial tissues, which should normally only be found in the uterus, grows outside the uterus. It can be diagnosed by laparoscopy but can take years for a diagnosis to be made. The symptoms can be
- Heavy periods
- Intense period pain
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during and after sex
Chinese Medicine views endometriosis as stagnation. Your acupuncturist will aim to relieve pain by moving the stagnation and treat the underlying disharmonies. A recent study in the Journal of Pain indicates that acupuncture can be helpful in relieving pain associated with endometriosis.