Acupuncture has been misleadingly publicized as only being helpful in specific conditions, such as the relief of pain. It is, in fact, extremely effective in a wide variety of conditions through its power to stimulate the mind and body's own healing response. More and more women are exploring Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an alternative path to health and well-being. TCM treats women's health very differently from conventional Western medicine. The aim of acupuncture is to treat the whole person and to restore the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.
For some women, menstruation may be accompanied by unpleasant symptoms; for example, a percentage of women experience abdominal pain, commonly referred to as 'cramps' and medically referred to as dysmenorrhea. Self-medication with 'pain-killers' may have little effect, and the 'pill' is often prescribed for young women. This is not the best solution. Acupuncture at the right time in the menstrual cycle, can help.
At some point in a woman's life, she will stop menstruating altogether. This is the menopause sometimes known as the 'change of life'. While menopause can be taken as an opportunity for growth and development, it can be a time of difficulty for some women. It can be a time for emotional distress, anxiety or depression with physical symptoms such as hot flushes, intermittent bleeding, palpitations, weight gain, insomnia and headaches. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) still poses many question regarding safety--especially for long term use. Menopause can be made much smoother through TCM. The practitioner can help bring about regulation and harmony, giving the woman another avenue rather than the question of whether or not to use HRT.
Acupuncture has been used successfully to treat the above women's health problems. It can also help other menstrual abnormalities such as irregular or heavy periods. It can help endometriosis and infertility as well as during the period through pregnancy and childbirth. Endometriosis and female infertility are two major women's health problems that have gained wide attention in recent years. The incidence of endometriosis seems to be on the rise. With more women attempting to have children later, often in their late thirties and even in their forties, the incidence of female infertility also seems to have risen statistically. Modern Western medicine's diagnosis and treatment of these two conditions is expensive, invasive and often ineffective. Treatment according to the theories of Chinese medicine with acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine is more humane, safer and gentle, and along with changes in diet, exercise and lifestyles can be both beneficial and effective. Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment on the path towards optimum health.
Another frequent problem with menstruation that some women experience is distressing physical, psychological and behavioral changes, collectively known as Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS). These changes may include headache, backache, fatigue, feeling bloated, breast tenderness, depression, irritability, unusually aggressive feeling and social withdrawal. Conventional medicine may treat the symptoms of PMS with diuretics, antidepressants or high doses of progesterone, which can actually make the symptoms worse. TCM sees the person as an integral mind and body and so does not treat just symptoms. It stimulates the body's natural healing potential by treating the root causes. There are no invasive procedures and drug therapies with known and unknown side effects.
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