For some women, menstruation may be accompanied by unpleasant symptoms for example a percentage of women experience abdominal pain, commonly referred to as ‘cramps’ and medically referred to as dysmenorrhea. Self-medication with ‘pain-killers’ may have little effect and the ‘Pill’ is often prescribed for young women. This is not the best solution. Acupuncture at the right time in the menstrual cycle, can help. It is based on the principle that our health is dependent on the balanced functioning of the body’s motivating energy, known as Qi. Qi flows throughout the body, but is concentrated in channels beneath the skin, known as meridians. The atm of treatment is to restore the balance between the equal and opposite qualities of Qi, namely the Yin and the Yang. Acupuncture a centuries old procedure, uses very fine needle to stimulate specified points, selected in accordance with the patients unique malady and basic constitution. Its strongest feature is its ability to treat conditions for which conventional medicine has no answer, no treatment and no relief other than with potential unpleasant side effects.

Another frequent problem with menstruation that some women experience is distressing physical, psychological and behavioral changes, collectively known as Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS). These changes may include headache, backache, fatigue, feeling bloated, breast tenderness, depression, irritability, unusually aggressive feeling and social withdrawal. Conventional medicine may treat the symptoms of PMS with diuretics, antidepressants or high doses of progesterone which make symptoms worse. TCM sees the person as an integral mind and body and so does not treat just symptoms. It stimulates the body’s natural healing potential by treating the root causes. There are no invasive procedures and drug therapies with known and unknown side effects.

At some point in a woman’s life, she will stop menstruating altogether. This is the menopause sometimes known as the ‘change of life’. Whilst menopause can be taken as an opportunity for growth and development, it can be a time of difficulty for some women. It can be a time for emotional distress, anxiety or depression with physical symptoms such as hot flushes, intermittent bleeding, palpitations, weight gain, insomnia and headaches. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) still poses many questions regarding safety especially for long term use. Menopause can be helped made much smoother through TCM. The practitioner can help bring about regulation and harmony giving the women another avenue rather than the question whether to use or not to use HRT.

Acupuncture has been used successfully to treat the above women’s health problems. It can also help other menstrual abnormalities such as irregular or heavy periods. It can help endometriosis and infertility as well as during the period through pregnancy and childbirth. Endometriosis and female infertility are two women’s health problems which have gained wide attention in recent years. The incidence of endometriosis seems to be on the rise. With more women attempting to have children later, often in their late thirties, the incidence of female infertility also seems statistically to have risen. Modern western medicines diagnosis and treatment of these two conditions is expensive, invasive and often ineffective. Treatment according to the theories of Chinese Medicine with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is more humane, safer and gentle, and along with changes in diet, exercise and lifestyles can be both beneficial and effective. Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment on the path towards optimum health.

Most women today believe that physical or emotional symptoms before or during a period are an unavoidable burden. For some the severity of the symptoms plays havoc with work, relationships and quality of life. Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids and cysts carry the additional concerns about fertility.

Chinese Medicine considers that gynaecological symptoms such as pain and swelling, irregularity and emotional disturbance, excessive bleeding, fatigue and infertility reflect underlying imbalances in a woman’s overall health. The primary causes relate to emotional factors, diet, lifestyle and increasingly the use of oral contraceptives, hormone therapies and other drugs. By addressing these underlying issues, Chinese Medicine does not simply alleviate symptoms but can bring about an overall improvement in health and happiness.

Therapies include:

Chinese Herbs: can usually bring about a significant and lasting improvement in PMS and period pain within three menstrual cycles. More serious conditions can also be effectively treated although the timescale may be longer. Acupuncture is a very powerful way of rebalancing the body’s energy to relieve pain, congestion and emotional tension particularly if received in the premenstrual phase.

Dietary Therapy: is an essential support to Chinese herbs and acupuncture. The focus on soya products in Chinese dietary therapy is now understood to have a beneficial effect on hormonal balance.

Massage: can release trapped emotions and tension and is an excellent way to keep healthy after herbs and acupuncture have relieved serious symptoms.

Exercise: Tai chi and Qigong help to calm the mind, circulate energy and put us in touch with our body.

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