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Acupuncture and PMS
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is often viewed as a problem or illness, but rather, it is a variety of responses to an ordinary event in a woman’s life: menstruation. PMS usually occurs monthly and is associated with specific symptoms and signs that can appear seven to 10 days before menstruation and then disappear after the onset of the menstrual flow. Because most women exhibit as many as four to 10 symptoms one to two weeks prior to menstruation, their lives–from relationships with family and friends, to work productivity and the ability to appreciate their own bodies–may become diminished.
To make matters worse, women may be at increased risk for PMS if 1) they are over 30 years old, 2) they are experiencing significant amounts of stress, 3) their nutritional habits are poor, 4) they have suffered side effects from birth control pills, 5) they have difficulty maintaining a stable weight, 6) they do not get enough exercise, 7) they’ve had a pregnancy complicated by toxemia, 8) they have had children (the more children, the more severe the symptoms), or 9) they have a family history of depression.
In treating PMS, conventional medicine recommends diet and lifestyle changes, coupled with medications that manipulate the levels of progesterone and estrogen (i.e. birth control pills), and tranquilizers and/or antidepressants for nervousness, anxiety and depression. Although prescription medications can sometimes bring immediate relief, they unfortunately do not address the underlying cause of PMS, and they can cause unwanted side effects that may mimic PMS symptoms later.
In 1997, the National Institute of Health (NIH) issued a consensus report that suggested acupuncture as effective in the treatment of menstrual cramps and other symptoms associated with PMS. Acupuncture can address PMS symptoms naturally, without medications, by restoring balance and harmony, both physically and emotionally. In Chinese medicine, the root cause of PMS is usually an imbalance or blockage of Qi (one’s Vital Energy) and Blood within specific organ and meridian systems. When Qi and Blood become imbalanced or blocked, symptoms and signs associated with PMS will appear.
By inserting fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body, the acupuncturist is able to stimulate and activate the movement of Qi and Blood. When Qi and Blood begin to travel freely throughout the body, balance and normal function is restored and PMS symptoms are alleviated. Acupuncture restores hormonal balance and provides deep relaxation to help reduce stress, which ultimately encourages and supports greater health and well-being of both the body and mind. Whether you suffer from PMS symptoms on an occasional or a monthly basis, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can offer a safe, natural, and effective approach to alleviating these symptoms.
If you are interested in finding out more about your symptoms and what acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can do for you, contact us today.