Due to the holistic nature of Chinese medicine, women around the world are experiencing better reproductive health. Healthcare options for women most often include pharmaceuticals and surgery. Chinese medicine offers a powerful alternative to these methods, and can often advert need for drugs or surgery. Gynecology has been an important area of clinical observation and research in Classical Chinese Medicine since it’s inception over 3,000 years ago. From as early as 610 C.E, Chinese physicians specializing in gynecology have been writing on many aspects of reproductive health. These thousands of years of experience and research form the foundation on which rests the modern application of Chinese medicine to women’s health. This modern application integrates the pure diagnostic and treatment protocols of Classical Chinese medicine with the wealth of information that western diagnostic tools and research affords us.
Scroll down the page for information about how Chinese medicine treats symptoms relating to menstruation, fertility, pregnancy and menopause.
The cycles in your life provide the practitioner of Chinese medicine a window into the body’s landscape. Whether you are being treated for painful periods, arthritis, or irritable bowel syndrome, the monthly cycle becomes a diagnostic tool that helps us focus treatment and monitor progress. This unique aspect of your life can be a great teacher. Even as your physiology changes and you may no longer bleed, this cycle manifests in different ways in your life and can still act as a guide.
This includes issues such as amennorhea (no periods), painful periods, heavy periods, and spotting outside of a monthly rhythm. Endometriosis, fibroids, prolapses, infections and PCOS are other areas that respond to treatment. More and more mothers are bringing their daughters to see Chinese medical practitioners which I think is so wise, because treating symptoms when they first start to manifest reduces the risk of more complicated pathologies further down the road. When working with infertility, addressing the health of the menstrual cycle is a number one priority.
Everyone is quickly seeing how acupuncture and herbs are so beneficial for women looking to conceive. Most mainstream reproductive centers regularly refer their patients to acupuncture for complementary treatment. Chinese medicine can help you if:
- You are planning a pregnancy, and want to create the most healthy environment to conceive and to hold a pregnancy in.
- You have been trying to get pregnant and want to use acupuncture before assisted reproduction.
- You are undergoing assisted reproduction and desire an adjunct therapy in order to increase effectiveness of the ART. See the research study regarding acupuncture and IVF.
Acupuncture and herbs have been shown through studies and clinical experience to improve reproductive health. This occurs by:
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Strengthening ovarian function to produce good quality eggs
- Bringing stronger circulation into the pelvic area
- Strengthening uterus for better physiological functioning to increase chance of implantation and prevent miscarriage
- Harmonizing the body and mind to reduce stress
Often in pregnancy, pharmaceuticals and many over the counter medications are contraindicated. Acupuncture and herbs bring relief from physical and emotional symptoms in a natural and completely safe manner. In addition, regular acupuncture care during pregnancy often adverts conditions that may lead to medical intervening such as pre-eclampsia, breech presentation, ‘incompetent’ cervix, among others. Chinese medicine does a beautiful job preparing the body for a strong and easy birth as well as a easy recovery postpartum.
In Chinese medicine the uterus is known as “Zi gong”, translated as “Seed Palace” or “Fetal Palace”. These beautiful connotations reflect the grace and respect with which Chinese medicine approaches issues in pregnancy. For thousands of years, pregnant women have been treated safely and efficaciously with acupuncture and herbs for a variety of conditions. Like acupuncture, special herbal formulas have been prescribed to pregnant women for hundreds of years, such as Zi Chan Mi Yan Liang Fang, “Secret, Proven, Efficacious Prescription for Treating Birthing”.
Please see the Links and Resources page for some great information about acupuncture, pregnancy and birthing.
As more women transition into menopause than ever before in United States history, it is important to know there are viable alternatives in dealing with symptoms. In the past 50 years, menopause has been promoted as a disease. This perception of menopause as a pathology creates not only a difficult environment in which women can make informed decisions regarding their healthcare, but the comfort and ease with which women feel around aging. Chinese medicine understands menopause as a natural waning process of reproductive energies that is accompanied by a waxing of personal creativity and wisdom energies. This process, however, can amplify imbalances that manifest as hotflashes, insomnia and other symptoms of menopause. Chinese medicine deals with these symptoms in an effective way without the use of medications such as HRT that have deleterious side effects. The use of acupuncture and herbs can be so helpful in supporting the body through this transition.