Of all the women's health issues that are successfully treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), three repeatedly walk through my clinic doors; fertility issues, pregnancy, and menopause.
Fertility issues plague many couples trying to conceive. The process of getting pregnant can filled with medical interventions, hormone therapy, financial loss and emotional turmoil. Acupuncture and TCM help women conceive naturally, and can boost the effectiveness of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Studies have shown that conception rates increase when acupuncture is performed both before and after embryo transfer. Now, many fertility clinics offer acupuncture services.
The goal of Chinese medical therapies is to not only improve the chances of conceiving, but to improve a women's overall health. Whether the barriers to conception are irregular periods, high FSH, endometriosis, PCOS or recurrent miscarriages, TCM treats the underlying causes of infertility by improving circulation to reproductive organs, balancing hormones, and regulating the menstrual cycle. Increased stress levels are common when undergoing conventional fertility treatments. However, high stress levels are known to reduce fertility. Acupuncture naturally decreases stress hormones, boosts immune function and provides women with a greater sense of calm and relaxation.
Pregnancy and Acupuncture is a match made in heaven. The benefits are plentiful and the risks are minimal. Acupuncture is a safe, non-pharmaceutical way to alleviate the common issues suffered by women in the first trimester, such as morning sickness, heartburn, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and headaches. Simple dietary changes, acupuncture and homemade ginger tea is often all that's needed to alleviate nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. As a pregnancy reaches the third trimester, the focus of treatment shifts to alleviating body aches and pains, turning breech babies, labour preparation and induction. Acupressure can be taught to patients and their partners to facilitate labour, and ease pain during delivery.
Menopause is a natural process of declining hormone levels and the cessation of a women's menstrual cycle. Some women sail through shifting hormone levels virtually symptom free, while others suffer through mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, depression, palpitations and weight gain. Diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce symptoms, while acupuncture and Chinese herbs can safely regulate hormone levels, ease insomnia, and slow the signs of aging. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and anti-depressants, sometimes prescribed to ease menopausal symptoms, come with some significant risks. Professional custom formulas with herbs such as rehmannia, moutan, anemarrhena and dioscorea can be taken with little risk of side effects, to ease the transition of menopause.
From adolescence to menopause and beyond, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers women symptom relief, safe alternatives to pharmaceuticals, and time tested advice. So, what are you waiting for?