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Acupuncture: Does it hurt? Does it really work? How does it work?

By Kathleen T. Poole, M.S., L. Ac.

These are the first questions people ask me when they learn that this is what I do for a living.  But another question that might come first is “How can it help me?” It is an exceptional tool for dealing with women’s health issues. Acupuncture can be a woman’s best friend.

Acupuncture is the manipulation of ‘qi’ or life force energy by inserting hair thin needles into “acupoints”.  Qi flows throughout our bodies in a complex circulation system composed of meridians. Acupoints are located along the meridians. Healthy free flowing qi makes us feel good and allows us to function well in our daily lives. When we are sick or injured, our qi is blocked and can’t flow properly, causing pain and discomfort.  When acupuncture adjusts this energy to flow easily once again, we regain our sense of good health and well-being.

Acupuncture is the best known branch of Chinese Medicine. In Chinese Medicine our organs have an expanded set of functions.  Each organ has a mental, spiritual, emotional, as well as a physical, job to do.  Each of the meridians flows through an organ and is named after it.  The Spleen meridian flows through the spleen, and the Heart meridian through the heart.

When an acupuncturist tells you your Liver qi is imbalanced, it doesn’t mean you have liver problems in the western sense.  You may have some emotional frustration, digestive problems, muscle tension, or feel creatively blocked. Maybe you have PMS or allergies.  Yet your liver enzymes are just fine. 

This is because the emotion of the Liver is anger, its energy is creative energy, and it is responsible for planning.  Excess liver energy overflows into the digestive processes. The blood of the Liver nourishes muscles. The season of Liver is spring, when many experience allergies.  The liver likes to reach out and flow smoothly in an orderly fashion.  It is responsible for how your body handles stress. And so it is for each meridian/organ pair.

So how can acupuncture be your best friend? Acupuncture is very good for women.  Often we go to the doctor not feeling well only to be given hormones or told there is nothing wrong or that we have to  ‘live with it’.

Acupuncturists take women seriously.  Excessive sweating at night is not tossed off as “just” menopausal hot flashes.  Menstrual cramping and PMS are not considered normal.  Acupuncture can be a wonderful asset throughout pregnancy, birthing and postpartum. Acupuncture is a superb stress reliever. In a world that makes more and more demands of its women, acupuncture becomes a true ally.

Acupuncture treatments are individualized for you.  Acupuncturists look at the problem and why you personally are having the problem.  Two women who come in with premenstrual cramping and mood swings may receive different treatments based on specifics about their symptoms. When is the cramping, where exactly?  Is there more irritability or sadness?  When do symptoms start? When do they end? All kinds of details are taken into account before deciding on a treatment.

Both women came in with the same label on a set of symptoms. Acupuncture looks at how the symptoms affect each person. One of these women may have a pattern called ‘constrained Liver qi’ and needles are inserted to disperse the blockage.  The other may have ‘deficient Spleen qi’ and be given an energy boosting treatment.  Yet, they both have the same diagnosis of premenstrual syndrome.  No matter what diagnosis a medical doctor has made, Chinese Medicine will look at how it is affecting the person, as well as what the symptoms of the condition itself are.

Of course, acupuncture is also very effective for men and children, as well as women.  Migraines, anxiety, sports injuries, allergies, fatigue, fertility issues, digestive problems, chronic illnesses, and pain are ailments that don’t differentiate between age and gender.  Acupuncture is especially good for anything that is aggravated by stress in men and women alike.

For women, acupuncture has a special way of honoring the female experience. It makes sense of symptoms in a way no other therapy can.  It connects all levels of being. Acupuncture makes things easier. It really can be your new BFF.

www.mysticriveracupuncture.com
Member of SECT Women’s NETWORK

As profiled on GRACE magazine website, www.graceforwomen.com

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