Acupuncture + Women’s Health: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Menopause, & All of the In-Between

Acupuncture

Women are powerful beings with the innate gift of bringing new life into this world – a precious ability. With this gift comes continuous changes in the body beginning with menstrual cycles as young teens, into pregnancy if difficulties with conception or miscarriage are not present, then postpartum recovery, and through menopause when the period ceases – known as ‘the second spring’ in eastern thought.

These changes or challenges can bring a spectrum of symptoms from emotional sensitivity, aches and pains, metabolic changes, sweating or hot flashes, fatigue, bloating, headaches, sleep issues, and simply being uncomfortable.

Without treatment, answers, or support, we can experience undesirable feelings toward our body or come to believe we have to push through and live with the symptoms, affecting our quality of life and relationships, at times.

Continue reading to learn how acupuncture can support you with:

  1. PMS, Menstrual Pain & Irregularities, PCOS, Endometriosis, & Fibroids
  2. Fertility, Reproduction, Miscarriage, Prenatal and Postpartum, Breech Baby & Labour Induction
  3. Perimenopause & Menopause – ‘The Second Spring’
  4. Stress & Psycho-emotional Support

PMS, Menstrual Pain & Irregularities, PCOS, Endometriosis, & Fibroids:

Internal changes through a woman’s cyclical phases can cause symptoms that most females have experienced; cramps, sensitivity to light, headaches, irritability, fluctuating appetite, bloating, and fatigue. Simplified, acupuncture smooths pathways and internal functions that can become blocked or under pressure, nourishes the blood, and balances yin/yang functions which relate to hormonal balance. For more complex dealings, specific points and needling techniques are targeted to the ovaries or uterus to diminish growths and masses, in TCM diagnosed as an accumulation of phlegm and/or blood stagnation ranging from mild to severe. Post-treatment, women may notice either cloudier and smellier urine than normal, or a temporary change in the texture of their menstrual blood as the accumulations drain from the body. This sounds intense, however it is a gentle process. Excess cold or heat in the body can also affect the period in different ways. Notice if you are someone who, for example, tends toward feeling cold, has upper glutes that are cold to the touch, or feet that never seem to stay warm. These signs may seem unrelated though decrease blood circulation and can lead to clotting or a painful period. And, menstrual issues or an irregular cycle that’s left unresolved for a long period can become the basis for infertility.

Fertility, Reproduction, Miscarriage, Prenatal & Postpartum, Breech Baby, & Labour Induction:

Fertility and Conception: When it comes to fertility and reproductive difficulties, it is recommended to test sperm quality, count, and morphology. There are remedies for poor results although here we will focus on women’s health specifically. Acupuncture can support what is referred to as the Kidney system, viewed as the ‘foundation of life’, and related to genetics and DNA, development, hormones, ageing, and the reproductive system including the uterus (palace of the child). Targeted nourishment and circulation to the ovaries and uterus while strengthening the body as a whole is also involved; encouraging a strong constitution, sufficient ovarian functions, and an adequate uterine environment to firstly allow quality ovulation, then implantation, healthy conception, and full-term pregnancy. Personalized plans and working with your cycle is important to increase the effectiveness as the treatment approaches can change during menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase. If IVF or IUI is involved, acupuncture is beneficial to receive in the weeks leading up to transfer and importantly on the exact date, encouraging smooth activity in the uterus without interfering with the transfer process.

Miscarriage: Miscarriage is recognized as a traumatic event that can be experienced differently from woman to woman and between a woman and her partner. So, where does acupuncture fit in for a moment like this? At times, a woman can heal on the physical level faster than she does on an emotional level, or vice versa. Acupuncture can accelerate the healing process through promoting nourishment and regeneration, providing pain relief, plus calming the nervous system for mental and emotional support. A detailed health intake at this time helps to understand the cause and which treatment approaches can help to avoid reoccurrence.

Prenatal + Postpartum: Chinese medical teachings approach each week and trimester of pregnancy from a different angle, with points to support each stage of fetal development, and treatment options for mothers who experience unpleasant symptoms like morning sickness, heartburn, constipation, pain, and emotional changes.

Childbirth is noted as the largest amount of qi and blood expressed at one time – a wondrous, painful, and beautiful moment that can leave the mother in a deficient state followed by postpartum symptoms such as depression and anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, and hair loss. Replenishing the system with nutrition, supplements, and/or herbal remedies holds importance, and acupuncture helps to reduce symptoms, nourish the blood, and regenerate qi loss.

Breech Baby & Labour Induction: Acupuncture for breech baby and labour induction has been widely known in the Western world and recommended by midwives for its positive results. Both treatments involve needle stimulation and using moxibustion on points that are avoided throughout pregnancy until the end of third trimester, though the treatments differ from one another. Acupuncture for breech baby is recommended beginning at 34 weeks involving points that strictly promote fetal movement. Treatment can be received earlier, successfully turning the baby into cephalic position, however, with the possibility of turning back into breech position. Labour induction involves points that promote fetal movement while simultaneously creating a strong, downward effect – internally. Women often feel their baby moving after stimulating the points and this non-invasive option can help avoid potential birth complications, c-section, and major stress.

Perimenopause & Menopause – ‘The Second Spring’:

Traditional Chinese medicine provides a poetic outlook on menopause, explained as a time of positive transformation, new found passions, and sharing wisdom. Although hot flashes, metabolic changes, joint pain, and vaginal dryness, to name a few, can feel anything but poetic. Fortunately, acupuncture, supplementation, and lifestyle choices can nourish the fluids of the body, support joints and bone density, boost metabolic functions, and regulate the body’s temperature allowing this stage of life to be enjoyed more gracefully.

Stress & Psycho-emotional Support:

Acupuncture wonderfully calms mental activity and supports the emotional state, decreasing stress levels that can disrupt hormone balance, dysregulate one’s cycle, harm egg and sperm quality, and further increase difficulty conceiving and staying pregnant. During treatment, especially when using stress reduction points known to ‘calm the shen’, patients often fall asleep and/or feel tired post treatment. This is a celebrated response of deep relaxation, where the body is given time and space for its innate healing mechanisms to do what they were designed to do and restore.

Health journeys can be complex and intimidating, while also presenting pivotal life moments toward reaching desired aims and living a quality life. Receiving support along the way can target the roots of imbalance and guide you on track where ultimately you take the lead and flourish.

– Rebecca Jivcoff, R. Ac

Treatment methods and practices that strongly enhance an acupuncture treatment:

Electrostimulation: Stimulation of points for enhanced treatment

Cupping Therapy: Clear blockages, balance body temperature, aid blood flow to the organs including ovaries and uterus, release tension

Moxibustion: Resolve cold in the body, boost metabolic and digestive functions, energise the system

Herbal Womb Wraps + Castor Oil:  Aid menstrual irregularities and circulation to the reproductive system

Diet, Lifestyle Choices, & Self-Care: Balanced lifestyle choices and self-care are the foundation to lasting wellness

Reach out today to book your appointment today.

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