Acupuncture and Menstrual Issues
PMT and Irregular Periods
In the West, the symptoms of bloating, cramps and emotional sensitivity known as premenstrual tension or premenstrual syndrome are seen as annoying, painful and common, something to be put up with for a few days out of the month and then forgotten about. In Chinese medicine, however, these symptoms are seen as indications of imbalance of the Qi and Blood in the body, and if left untreated can persist or worsen over time. Irregularities in the period, such as too long or too short cycles, very little or too much blood, and mid cycle bleeding all occur within a background of disharmony in the Qi and Blood. If a woman’s body is in balance, then her monthly cycle remains regular and trouble-free.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help achieve balance in the menstrual cycle through the balancing of Qi and Blood, and from a Western perspective, through the regulation of the hormones associated with menstrual cycle. Our practitioners can also offer lifestyle advice on diet, exercise, and stress management which all have an important part to play in the monthly cycle.
Excessive menstrual bleeding, either bleeding for long periods of time, or very heavy periods, can indicate or lead to some serious disorders, such as endometriosis, and anaemia. Typically, Western treatments may include the contraceptive pill, pain killers and possibly surgery.
Traditional Chinese Medicine views excessive bleeding as a disorder of the Blood, and a disturbance of the woman’s energy or Qi. This can be as a result of long term emotional stress, abdominal surgery, or post-partum. Acupuncture and herbal treatments aim to correct this imbalance and restore the Blood and Qi, while also removing stagnation, or blockages of both Blood and Qi which can create pain and excessive bleeding.
The sexual health of women is surprisingly still not a well understood or well treated aspect of health for women in the West. In Chinese Medicine it is viewed as just as important to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.
While acupuncture and Chinese Medicine cannot supply all the answers to this complex issue our practitioners are happy to discuss these matters personally with you further if you wish to contact us.
How many treatments do I need?
There is no standard number of treatments that are needed, as every individual requires tailored therapy. Treatment schedules are generally discussed between the therapist and the client, however, typically we expect to see positive change within three to four treatments, usually within a week of each other.
What should I expect from a treatment?
Most acupuncture treatments take approximately an hour. The therapist will ask you to fill in a form and will take a thorough case history before beginning treatment. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles at various points of the body and may be performed on the back or front or both sides of the patient.
You may feel a sting upon insertion of the needle although the discomfort is usually minimal. After insertion the acupuncturist may manipulate the needles to obtain De Qi (to get the Qi or energy to come to the needle). This feeling is most often described as a tingling, numbness or heavy, achy feeling at the site of insertion. Occasionally you may feel movement up or down from the point or you may feel something elsewhere on the body. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal but let your acupuncturist know what you are feeling and they will adjust the treatment if you are experiencing any discomfort.
The needles are retained for anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes and may be manipulated again throughout the treatment and some therapists may also use massage or electro-acupuncture. At the end of the treatment the needles are removed and disposed of. At some sites of insertion you may feel a lingering dull achy feeling after removal of the needles but this will disappear shortly.
Are there any side effects?
Acupuncture is considered to be a very safe and side effect free treatment. All needles used are sterile and are unwrapped prior to treatment and disposed of immediately after treatment. Sometimes a patient may experience bruising at the insertion site. You can expect to feel quite energised after the treatment, particularly on the following day and, as the points that are used are tailored to you, you can expect to get an overall benefit in your general health and well-being.