Learning & Resource Center Articles
Unique Benefits of Acupuncture for Women
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine offers unique benefits for women. From the beginning, this ancient medicine recognized two principal forces which power our lives and control our body's ability to heal itself. Introducing yin and yang—Yin represents feminine qualities and yang represents the masculine ones. Maintaining the balance of these two powers within a patient's body is the goal of every practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
For centuries now, there has been an emphasis on treating problems that only women experience. This is evident in one of the earliest, books called the Shang Han Lun, written around 200 CE. Excerpts from this book explain the treatments for recurrent miscarriage, infertility and many other health problems specific to women.
In 1237 CE, another book was written entitled The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women. It is evident that knowledge of gynecology and obstetrics was already in play for hundreds of years. Ancient physicians respected the differences in male and female physiology and anatomy, and could thus treat accordingly.
The biological processes of menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause are obviously unique to women. It is interesting to point out that these natural life events may be regarded as especially yin experiences. Nourishment, intuition, growth, passivity, receptiveness, darkness, cold, night, and winter are just some of the qualities and things associated with yin forces. For instance, at the time of menstruation some women report mood swings and cramps which may provoke a more thoughtful, reclusive time of the month. The emotions and body may feel sensitive and remaining more quiet and still may be in order.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can address symptoms associated with menstruation, whether they are emotional or physical, or a combination of both. In some cases there may be a sensation of cold or pain in the area of the lower abdomen. The warm, relaxing smoke that emanates from moxibustion therapy is often used as a palliative measure as it helps nourish the blood and relax the muscles. Feeling safe and trusting your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine is especially important at this time.
Another time in a woman's life where trust in her practitioner is vital is during pregnancy. The gestation of a fetus is a wonderful example of a yin event. Hidden deep in a mother's abdomen, the creation of a new life silently takes place. In order to nourish the new growth within, a mom-to-be will take measures to protect herself and her unborn child. A practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine can treat conditions that only pregnant women experience.
One such condition is morning sickness, a condition of mild to extreme nausea. Contrary to the name, it can occur at any time of the day. Since pharmaceutical drugs may harm the fetus, drug-free alternatives must prevail. Even Chinese herbal formulas and certain herbs must be scrutinized first to ensure no harm comes to the baby. However, acupuncture needles, or acupressure, at certain points on the body can provide relief from nausea without any nasty side effects.
Some of these acupuncture points may help men who experience nausea, of course for other reasons, as well. It is important to remember that humans are a mixture of yin and yang forces. This means women can express masculine traits and men can express female traits.
Traditionally women have been given the freedom to express their emotional state while men have been denied that experience. However, according to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, not crying when one is upset can be harmful. Tears of sadness are a form of healing and to not let them flow can produce negative effects.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help regulate the emotional state. There are many points, especially on the ear, which have the ability to calm the shen. The shen is a philosophical concept described as spirit, mental functions and consciousness. Acupuncture assists emotions to settle into equilibrium, and a new perspective arises.
Any woman needing help adjusting to a new phase in life, from menarche to menopause, can benefit from the ancient wisdom of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. With hundreds of years worth of experience, there is no reason not to make an appointment and start experiencing the benefits from it now.
Find an Acupuncturist to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.