ACUPUNCTURE FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH
Given its sustained effectiveness, lack of invasiveness and side effects, it’s little surprise that women have relied upon Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for centuries. Today, 1 in 10 Australian women aged 34-39 now considers acupuncture their go-to treatment for a plethora of health concerns. Here’s how acupuncture can support your health and wellbeing.
IMPROVED PERIOD HEALTH
Acupuncture is an effective option for women seeking alternative or complementary therapy to remedy period health problems. At my Park Orchards practice, acupuncture is used to treat:
- Irregular, short, or long cycles.
- Light, heavy or painful periods.
- Endometriosis, PCOS, and myomas
- PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping, fluid retention, irritability, mood swings, headaches and migraines, breast tenderness, and back pain.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat unexplained infertility or infertility associated with period health problems.
Many women undergoing IVF also use Acupuncture as a complementary therapy. For women under 30 years of age, the odds of achieving pregnancy per IVF cycle is around 25%. For those over 40, it's far lower at just 10%. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine been used to treat infertility for over 2000 years, and as IVF treatments climb by some 15% each year in Australia, with up to 15% of couples worldwide need medical support to fall pregnant, studies have shown acupuncture can increase the successful outcome of IVF by a whopping 65%.
How does acupuncture assist IVF treatment? It can:
- Improve ovarian function, promote the healthy development of eggs and healthy embryos
- Increase blood flow to the uterus, improving follicular development and implantation of the embryo
- Improve hormonal balance and regulate oestrogen and progesterone levels which results in a thickening of the lining of the uterus - an optimum environment for embryo development.
- Strengthen the immune system
- Reduce stress.
- Reduce side effects of drugs used during IVF treatment.
- Improve the quality and quantity of sperm, increasing sperm motility. This decreases abnormal morphology, therefore reducing the risk of miscarriage.
For optimum outcomes, critical days for acupuncture treatments are the day before and after the transfer of embryos, although acupuncture treatments should commence three months before commencing IVF. This gives your body adequate time to prepare for IVF and increase its success rate. But acupuncture is not just for women wanting to improve their chances of success with IVF -sperm quality is just as important, so it's an excellent idea for the male partner to receive acupuncture treatment too.
We’ve all heard of the 'pregnancy glow', right? Pregnancy causes huge shifts in your body’s energy and blood flow as it nurtures your growing baby. This change in energy flow causes a host of conditions, from the mildly annoying (heartburn and indigestion) to completely debilitating (severe morning sickness).
I’m regularly asked, “Is Acupuncture safe during pregnancy?”. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Acupuncture is natural and doesn’t introduce any foreign substances into the body, so it’s safe for mother and baby. It gently corrects your body’s energy flow, helping you feel stronger, healthier and happier during your pregnancy.
No points are used on the abdomen after 12 weeks of gestation. You must ensure your practitioner is a fully qualified Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist (like me), not a physician or therapist who practices “dry needling”. This way, they’ll know which points are safe to use during your pregnancy.
Acupuncture treatments during your pregnancy can help you manage:
- Heartburn, indigestion
- Morning sickness
- Pregnancy-related complaints such as back and neck pain, constipation, and fluid retention
PRE-BIRTH ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENTS
As you approach the birth of your baby, acupuncture can guide you towards a natural birth and prepare you for the many wonderful and wild challenges (let’s keep it real here) of motherhood. Pregnancy is an incredible experience and very natural human process, and it makes sense that it should feel that way too! Acupuncture treatments are safe for:
- Overdue pregnancy/labour induction
- Breech or posterior presentation of your baby
- Pre-birth Acupuncture
Pre-birth Acupuncture is a series of three to four weekly treatments in the exciting lead up to your baby’s due date. It aims to prepare your body for labour by relaxing the ligaments and opening the cervix. This increases the chances of a natural onset of labour and natural delivery, reducing the likelihood of medical intervention. Ideally, pre-birth acupuncture treatments should start at around 36 weeks.
Looking after yourself during the post-partum period is paramount. Acupuncture can assist your recovery from birth and help you enjoy the new-born period with support for:
- Post-partum recovery
- Post-natal depression
MANAGE MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS
Combating hot flushes by standing in front of your freezer or riding a wave of mood swings isn’t anyone’s idea of a great time during menopause. You’ll be relieved to hear that acupuncture is favoured by many women to treat:
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Mood swings or irritability
- Menopausal weight gain