Numbers, of course, will vary but the point is that we as women spend a great deal of our time with menstruation, and because of this we should like to have this experience be, well, if not pleasant, at the very least not painful, stressful or otherwise any more distracting than it has to be. Unfortunately, for many women and girls, their period is a time of cramping, breast tenderness, depression, irritability, back pain, headaches, fatigue, heavy blood flow and bloating, to name a few. Or perhaps she doesn’t get a period at all or her period is irregular, unpredictable, late, early, or scanty, or there is spotting between periods. Whatever the case, acupuncture can help.
Through the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) theory, I look at the body and all its many systems and relationships holistically. Issues with menstruation, for example, are not localized solely within the confines of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus. In TCM, all of the major Yin organ systems (Liver, Heart, Lung, Spleen and Kidney), have a starring role in regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle. If one of these systems is not functioning the way it should the affects can be twofold: one possibility is that menstruation could be affected, and another possibility is that one or more of the other organ systems could be affected which in turn could affect menstruation. Nothing happens in a vacuum in Chinese Medicine and the challenge is to identify the root cause of any condition, which in cases with menstruation is to identify which of the organ systems are not doing its job.
It is the seemingly unrelated symptoms that help determine which organ system is injured and causing blood or Qi dysfunction. For example, palpitations point to the Heart system; shortness of breath and sadness points to Lung; poor appetite, fatigue and overthinking point to Spleen; red or dry eyes, irritability and anger points to Liver; and low back or knee pain or weakness point to Kidney. As stated above, sometimes it is just one system that is not functioning properly and sometimes it is more than one. The good news is that acupuncture and herbal therapies can help by regulating, balancing, nourishing the organ systems thereby generating, lifting, propelling, dispersing, warming, and cooling the blood and Qi.
If you have issues or problems with your menstrual cycle, make an appointment and see how acupuncture can help.
Marian Kimball Eichinger has a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She no longer practicing at Wellness Minneapolis.