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Women’s Health: Fertility, Pregnancy, Menopause, PMS
For thousands of years, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used to effectively treat women’s health issues. Controlled studies in the United States and China independently show that acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates, correct hormonal and endocrine imbalances, and regulate the menstrual cycle. A consensus report by the National Institutes of Health suggests that acupuncture can effectively treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS). TCM is effective for:
In a study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility, twice as many women who received acupuncture, in addition to medically assisted reproductive therapy, had documented clinical pregnancies. In 2007, the results of seven randomized control trials published in the British Medical Journal concluded that acupuncture improved the rates of pregnancy and live births with embryo transfer among women who received in vitro fertilization.
Acupuncture can boost fertility by:
- Regulating the menstruation cycle and improving ovulation.
- Increasing blood flow to the uterus.
- Reducing stress hormones.
- Balancing Qi of liver, kidney, and spleen.
- Normalizing dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
Acupuncture for fertility and conception is most effective when received for several months before insemination or in vitro fertilization or egg transfer. Although acupuncture and herbal medicine can be effective on their own, clinical evidence suggests that a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine works best.
As the many baby pictures and thank you notes on the walls of our office attest, Maggie has had the pleasure of many successes in assisting women who were unable to become pregnant or carry a baby to term before receiving treatment with Chinese medicine.
As a complement to Western prenatal care, acupuncture during pregnancy can be highly effective in relieving morning sickness, heartburn, and other symptoms, such as sciatica and hip pain, and can optimize gestation, enhancing the health and well-being of both mother and fetus. In fact, one particular acupuncture point is called the "guest building" or "beautiful baby" point. Certain acupuncture points can improve digestive functions and alleviate gastric pain, while others harmonize the stomach or can help alleviate insomnia.
In an article published in the journal Birth in 2009, reviewed findings presented evidence for the beneficial use of acupuncture as complementary therapy to manage nausea, pelvic pain, and back pain, as well as to change breech position. A study published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, concluded that acupuncture was a viable treatment for depression in pregnancy.
During the trimesters of pregnancy, acupuncture can help in each specific trimester:
- Morning sickness
- Dry retching
- Uterine circulation
- Blood pressure
- Back pain
- Pubic pain
- Hip pain
- Change breech position
- Support labor and delivery
Menopause is natural in the lifecycle of women. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), aging can be understood as a draining of life source energy, called Jing Qi. This brings a decline in the body’s own energy, called Qi (pronounced "chee"), which can exaggerate imbalances. As women age, the balance of Yin and Yang energies may result in "overheating" or "over-cooling" of the body system. Symptoms may include:
Decline of Yin
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Heart palpitations
Decline of Yang
- Weight gain
- Water retention
In Western medicine, acupuncture is increasingly uesd as a complimentary treatment for menopausal women. For example, at the Beth Israel Medical Center Department of Integrative Medicine and the Mayo Clinic in New York City, acupuncture is currently employed as a complementary treatment for hot flashes in women.
At the Chinese Acupuncture and Herb Center, Maggie treats each woman individually based on her own medical history, symptoms, and imbalances. By understanding menopausal symptoms from the point of view of a woman’s own Jing Qi and Qi energies, Maggie ascertains to the root cause and treats with acupuncture and healing herbs.
In Western medicine, the unbalanced hormonal fluctuations and stress that lead to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are typically treated with hormonal medications, such as birth control pills or antidepressants. However this chemical approach is changing. As early as 1997, the National Institutes of Health reported that PMS symptoms, such as menstrual cramps, can be effectively relieved by acupuncture.
In treating women with PMS symptoms, Maggie uses a natural approach to restore each woman’s physical and emotional balance. Acupuncture provides stimulation of well-defined acupuncture points to reconnect and balance a woman’s energy pathways. Through personalized diagnosis, Maggie explores the root causes of imbalance in specific organs and energy meridians to help the body heal itself.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15228