Acupuncture originated in China around 3, 500 years ago and remains one of the oldest, most recognised go to natural therapy for the modern world. It is wonderful in treating women’s health, hormone imbalances and myriad of symptoms that come with it. It addresses the root of the issue and focuses on the whole person, and doesn’t focus only on symptom management. Acupuncture aims to restore balance in the body through qi (chi), a person’s life force.
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites - commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. It promotes your body’s self-healing abilities by prompting it to restore balance, clears blockages and improves circulation, reduces inflammation and decreases pain, influencing your body’s biochemical responses via the nervous system.
The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects.
The science behind it
There is a growing body of research supporting the efficacy of acupuncture in women’s reproductive health including hormone and mental-emotional support, pain management and digestive health.
Some of the research findings:
Ultrasound shows that acupuncture increases blood flow and circulation
Acupuncture prompts observable interactions between the brain, hormones and glands which are responsible for regulating a number of bodily processes
Thermal imaging and MRI scans show it reduces inflammation and acts as a natural analgesic to pain
It increases endorphin output. These are nature’s pain-relieving messengers and accounts for patients feeling more relaxed both during and after treatment along with reducing anxiety.
Chinese herbal medicine offers so much for menstrual and hormonal problems. The herbs may be administered in a variety of ways from a tea, made up from raw herbs to concentrated powders or tablet form. Some herbs may also be given to add to recipes.
The principle is that a balance of herbal ingredients with certain properties is matched to your individual needs and adapted to your changing landscape as symptoms improve.
Chinese herbs are prescribed along with acupuncture to support a range of hormonal and menstrual conditions, including, bloating, diarrhoea, constipations, food sensitivity, stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, endometriosis, irregular cycles, PCOS, menopause, egg quality and in the months prior to IVF.
The science behind it
Research from Australia and China also found that Chinese herbal medicine can effectively reduce symptoms of endometriosis like pain, improve fertility and reduce immune and inflammation markers.
Mitochondrial function can be improved with Chinese herbs and antioxidants.
Studies have also proven that they may be used as a perfect agent to treat many kinds of diseases which were mediated by gut microbiome.
Though relatively unknown in the west, in China it is regarded as one of the main branches of Chinese Medicine alongside Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Qi Gong therapy. Tui Na massage or Chinese Therapeutic Massage uses finger pressure, stretching and leverage, therefore stimulating the meridians and acupuncture points, resulting in a relaxing and powerfully energising massage. Physical manipulations vary from light, gentle massage to deeper and stronger in nature.
Whilst Tuina is renowned for its effectiveness in the treatment of musculo-skeletal conditions, it is also effective for internal problems such as headaches and migraine, anxiety and panic attacks, digestive dysfunction, circulatory problems, hormonal imbalance, stress and related conditions amongst others. Tuina is also an effective way to maintain health, supporting your immune system, reducing the chance of injury, enhancing flexibility and managing stress.
Treatment with Tuina Massage is available, either on its own, or in combination with Acupuncture.
Acupressure refers to the use of pressure applied by the fingers, hands etc to acupoints and the channels used in acupuncture. It can be applied to one or two points alone as a self-help exercise.
Acupressure is commonly incorporated into coaching programmes and yoga sessions.
Cupping is an adjunctive technique used in acupuncture treatments.
Glass cups are heated then placed on a specific area that needs treating, or on acupuncture points, creating suction. The skin and superficial muscle is sucked into the cup, counteracting stagnant energy.
The cups stay in place for around 5-15 minutes and are not painful or uncomfortable. In fact, people often love the feeling of cups, comparing it to a nice deep massage.
Cupping is used to remove toxins and help energy move around the body. The technique stimulates blood flow, relaxes congested muscles, treats stiffness in the body and relieves pain.
In women’s health traditional cupping, moving oil cupping or needle cupping depending on the diagnosis you present.
Cupping can sometimes result in temporary discoloration of the skin called petechiae. These marks are associated with improved blood flow to the area and naturally, dissipate within a few days. They tend to look like small circular bruises, and often cause more alarm than is necessary. While a bruise may hurt, cupping marks do not.
Moxa is a dried plant (Artimisia argyi) used to warm and stimulate acupuncture points, a process called moxibustion. This therapy has been in use for over 2000 years and is a commonly used adjunctive technique during acupuncture sessions. Moxa works to build, nourish and warm the body, improving the circulation of qi and blood. It is mainly used in conditions associated with “cold” or “yang deficiency” in Chinese medicine such as pain (often used during your period to ease pain and promote blood flow), scar tissue healing, fatigue, anxiety, some types of infertility, skin conditions and digestive disorders. It is often given to use at home between sessions.
Moxibustion is also well known in midwifery for its ability to stimulate a breech baby to turn in 69-85% of cases according to various studies.
Watch a video below of moxibustion being demonstrated here
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