Women's Health Care
Besides fertility supports, acupuncture is playing an important role on other women’s care.
Acupuncture for women's health
• Monday, February 11th, 2013 By Maria Christofi
Acupuncture has been used for the preservation of women's health in time honoured tradition for centuries. The timeline of a woman's life from her first period through to the Menopause, is a journey that is filled with many life events and circumstances which can affect the smooth ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle.
Pre menstrual tension, period pains, gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts, fertility, pregnancy and menopause are all manifestations of the female experience and a system of medicine such as acupuncture can treat symptoms at root level rather than masking the symptoms with medication thus re-establishing balance and prevention of further progression of the condition. It can be life changing for some women to be able to eradicate PMT symptoms from their life, enabling them to feel much more at ease throughout their monthly cycle.
Painful periods are addressed with the stimulation of acupuncture points which strongly move the uterine blood flow, this can help to relax the uterus reducing the contractions which cause painful cramps as well as clearing away old blood. Overtime, many women report that their menstrual blood changes from a darker red to a brighter colour....cleaner blood, like water runs a lot more smoothly. Acupuncture is now very much linked to fertility treatment and its effect on the endocrine and reproductive system can greatly boost natural fertility as well as enhancing the chances of assisted reproduction techniques such as IVF.
Emotional support is a major factor during any fertility journey and the relaxation benefits of acupuncture as well as a practitioner you can talk openly with about how you feel can be an invaluable support. Once conception has been achieved, pregnancy is seen as key transitional time and an opportunity when a woman's health can really be boosted with Acupuncture. The post natal period in particular is considered to be a very important time to nourish a new mother.
Treatment at this time would involve the use of points aimed at relaxation, aiding sleep and boosting energy levels as well as points which balance the reproductive area. Other post natal symptoms such as low energy, emotional changes, mastitis and post caesarean healing can also be treated successfully. Acupuncture points are like gateway's which open up the flow of Qi and blood, clearing away stagnation to allow room for the new, nourishing the body and calming the mind.
Our bodies are like diagnostic maps, an external mirror of what is happening inside the body, physically, mentally and emotionally. Careful observation of the tongue, pulse, complexion and other physical symptoms allows the practitioner to form a treatment plan specific to the individual.
Acupuncture is an energetic medicine and treatment is so much more than the insertion of the needles into the points, additional healing tools can include: Moxabustion - a warming, smouldering herb used to warm and nourish the body at different points, encouraging blood circulation and boosting immunity. Abdominal palpation and massage - a core part of a treatment session, revealing areas of tenderness and imbalance , helping to promote blood flow in the reproductive area. Incredibly relaxing, this is something clients can take away as "homework" to incorporate healing into the everyday lifestyle. Lifestyle advice - diet and incorporation of Chinese dietary principles to help balance a person's presenting condition, Qi gong exercises to help strengthen Qi and meditation or visualisation to calm the mind.
The mind clearing effect of an acupuncture session can greatly assist yoga practice, helping to shift away stagnant thoughts and emotional patterns. Whatever the treatment plan involves, the main focus is to empower the individual to achieve a healthy balance in their life.
Int J Womens Health. 2014; 6: 313–325. Published online 2014 Mar 17. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S38969 PMCID: PMC3962314
Acupuncture and women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women’s reproductive health
Acupuncture and other modalities of Chinese/East Asian medicine have been used to treat women’s health for many centuries. Gynecology specialties focus particularly on menstrual and reproductive disorders. Both the adoption of the use of acupuncture outside Asia, and the incorporation of scientific analysis in Asia have challenged biomedical conceptions of what can be achieved with this treatment method. The scale of research activity in relation to acupuncture and women’s health has increased over the last 20 years.
There is preliminary data indicating acupuncture may improve menstrual health and coping for women experiencing delays falling pregnant. There is experimental data showing that acupuncture can influence female reproductive functioning, although the actual mechanisms involved are not yet clarified. Further well-conducted clinical research would benefit our understanding of the usefulness of acupuncture to women’s health.