Understanding the Benefits of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine [your practical simple guide]
I hear it all the time: What does acupuncture do? How does it work? What are the benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine. Keep reading and I will explain.
Really, it’s simple: acupuncture removes energetic blockages that prevent the free flow of our blood and nervous system signals.
When we have energetic blockages, signals can’t get through, oxygen and other nutrients can’t reach every cell, waste products can’t be properly eliminated, complex hormonal messages get bungled, and then eventually we get symptoms of pain, brain fog, fatigue, etc.
Acupuncture works to free up the flow of energy in the channels of the body, which are like blood vessels and nerves, a complex system of highways, roads, streams, creeks, rivers, bridges, that connect every part of us with every other part.
Herbal medicine works on the deeper organ level. It corrects the functioning of our liver system, our cardiovascular system, our lymph system, our genitourinary system, our cognition, and emotions, etc.
Together, it’s a complete system of healthcare and does not compartmentalize each body part or each organ. A lot of my patients like this because in conventional medicine there is a different doctor for every body part, but no one is looking at the whole. Chinese Medicine has principles based on natural law, so the whole is accounted for.
Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to ask me anything you want to know about the benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine! I am happy to help.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!
Endometriosis is a disease that affects around 11% of women worldwide. But the kicker is it can often take years for women to receive the diagnosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is when the cells that normally line the uterus are found outside the uterus. When during a woman’s menstrual cycle those cells are shed from the uterus and menstruation begins, these other misplanted cells are also signaled to bleed, and that causes inflammation wherever they are. These cells can be anywhere in the pelvic cavity and can also adhere to the intestines and even travel up to the chest cavity in more severe cases. So endometriosis can cause all kinds of pain.
How Do You Know if you have endometriosis or just bad periods?
Here are the main signs of endometriosis:
- Pelvic Pain
- Severe stabbing pain especially before or during menstruation.
- Pain during intercourse
- Post-coital nausea
- Getting very sick with the menstrual cycle such as fever and chills, vomiting, etc.
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Pain in legs and buttocks
The only way to definitively diagnose the disease is via laproscopy, which is sneaking a camera in the abdominal and pelvic cavities to look for the implanted endometrial cells. Many women find out they have endometriosis when they have difficulty conceiving. This is because the continued bleeding of the misplanted cells can cause scar tissue and adhesions to build up, and often on the ovaries and/or fallopian tubes. This blocks the pathway for both egg and sperm.
Conventional treatment Options
There are two main ways medical doctors will treat endometriosis. One is with surgery to either cut out the adhesions or to remove tissues or organs affected. The other is the use of hormonal birth control containing synthetic progesterone called progestin. This counters the effect of estrogen which is the hormone that causes the endometrium to grow.
There are some negative possible outcomes with either drugs or surgery. Hormonal birth control often creates side effects and risks such as blood clots, weight gain, or mood changes. Likewise, serious problems with surgery include the adhesions growing back or scar tissue building up. Often doctors recommend a hysterectomy, and understandably a woman may oppose this level of invasiveness. Even with removal of the uterus and other tissues, endometriosis can still grow back in other tissues and areas.
Chinese Medicine Therapy for Endometriosis
Some women prefer to seek other options to hormonal drugs and surgery. Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for many centuries to relieve menstrual pain, abdominal pain, and to improve hormonal imbalances.
What to Expect if going the natural route
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine work to uncover the root causes of why a woman is having pain, heavy bleeding, etc, all the symptoms she experiences as part of her endometriosis diagnosis. We as practitioners will examine the pulses, abdomen, and tongue, as well as ask many questions about the quality of the pain, blood, bowel movements, etc, to get a whole picture of what is not working right.
The Diagnosis and Treatment in Chinese Medicine
According to Chinese Medicine, most women with endometriosis have a form of what is called Blood Stasis, or Blood Stagnation. In our medicine, refers to a poor quality of blood that is too thick or not fluid enough, and blood that is not free flowing througout the body and especially that gets obstructed in the uterus. While these terms do not mean that there is something wrong with your blood according to conventional medicine, it refers to the way Chinese Medicine views the Blood as a grouping of functions in the body. Once the Chinese Medical Diagnosis is determined, we can then ascertain which treatment approach to take. For instance, if we determine the blood is stagnant, we may use herbs that invigorate the blood and points that promote circulation.
A treatment plan can be anywhere from 3 months to 9 months depending on the severity of the case. Many women experience significant reduction of pain and bleeding and improved cycles with acupuncture and herbs, and often have noticeable improvements within the first few treatments.
finding hope for endometriosis
Here at Energy Flow Health, we support a woman’s decision, as we honor that a woman knows her body best. It is helpful to explore the options, and if something isn’t feeling right then you always have the right to try something else. There is hope, and if you would like to discuss working with Amy, please call 630-335-1069 for a complimentary consultation.
Over the past several decades, Chinese Medicine has been steadily growing in the US as a much sought after system of health care. It’s been met with much resistence by conventional medicine, I believe mostly because it is a very different approach when Western methods of measuring efficacy don’t yield clear results. The reason is that Chinese Medicine is truly based on a very different set of principles, but that does not make it ineffective. The proof is in all the patients who’ve been helped over the past many centuries through today.
So you want evidence That it works?
Professionals in the field of Chinese Medicine and other professionals that champion this medicine are working to gather scientific research, as well as empirical evidence of it’s efficacy. One such document came out last year in 2017 summarizing a review of scientific literature on acupuncture from 2010-2016. Some of what was reviewed was gathered by both the Australian and the US Departments of Veterans Affairs. Here is the link so you can read it yourself. Below I will list some of the highlights and take aways.
"It is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture can be attributed to the placebo effect or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain." -Stephen Janz MPH, Project Director, The AACMA Acupuncture Evidence Project
Good News – Acupuncture Works!
Ok, we already knew that, but plenty of scientific research supports it too. The literature review revealed 8 conditions for which acupuncture is definitely beneficial. The evidence is clear that acupuncture has a positive effect for:
Low Back Pain
Chronic and Tension Headaches
Chemotherapy Induced nausea and vomiting
Post-Operative nausea and vomiting
Take a close look at the first 5 conditions listed above. These are HUGE. DId you know low back pain is the #1 cause of disability? Do you know people with migraines, allergies, knee pain, or headaches? Is that not almost everyone?! But where are these sufferers going for relief? What are they doing? Well I know that many of them are just living with their pain and discomfort. Some get some relief temporarily from NSAIDs or other drugs. But almost none are successfully managed by conventional medicine. And here is clear support that acupuncture is the best solution out there. Period. My goal is to get this therapy to more people who need it.
More Good News! Acupuncture helps even More Conditions than that!
I won’t list them all here, but for another 38 conditions there was found evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating. You can read all 38 in Table 2 on page 2 of the report, but here’s a few that caught my attention since I often treat them successfully:
Menopausal hot flashes (aka hot flushes)
The short list I extracted from Table 2 showing conditions for which there’s “moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture” is also so inclusionary that I’m confident in saying that our country’s health care situation would be REVOLUTIONIZED by covering acupuncture with insurance benefits. It really gets the scientist in me excited to see the scientific evience mounting, even though the Chinese Medicine practitioner in me doesn’t care about scientific research because of the overwhelming clinical evidence. But nevertheless, it’s nice to get the validation from the other side of the aisle so to speak.
Conclusion: Acupuncture is a viable alternative to drugs and surgery
If you or someone you know is ready to get drug-free and surgery-free relief, please give me a call or click here to schedule an appointment. I can answer any other questions and get you on your way to feeling healthier!
As you can tell from my tagline I specialize in digestive and hormonal imbalances.
So one may wonder, how does acupuncture affect hormones?
The Chinese Medicine view of hormones
Since Chinese Medicine originated thousands of years ago, the perspective of human physiology was conceived and understood under different terms and points of reference. Then, there was no traffic, no TV, no internet, no central air or furnaces, no high-tech medical equipment. But imagine. People were really close to nature. Really in tune with the forces of nature surrounding them. So every nuance of biology was more heightened. Everything was interpreted through nature. Not separate. As a result, they discovered the spaces between the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels contained a special intangible force, and that by inserting thin objects into these spaces at specific points, the “energy” or “qi” in these spaces or “channels/meridians” could be affected, and illnesses could be resolved, and immunity could be strengthened.
Part of the mystery of our health is in our chemistry, dominated by chemicals called hormones. Hormones are the bosses of our physiology and metabolism. Scientists today are still trying to grasp the far reaching influences and delicate balances of these chemicals.
Hormones are the bosses of our physiology and metabolism
Back to Chinese Medicine – of course people still had these chemicals back then, but they were seen more holistically, and incorporated into the explanations of the functions of structures that could be seen (unfortunately mostly due to war when people’s guts literally were spilled out). So to summarize, in Chinese Medicine we explain most of our physiology in terms of functions of a number of systems. Each system has associated organs, senses, meridians, colors, emotions, flavors, directions, seasons, etc. And more importantly, herbs and acupuncture points that influence these systems.
Ok, now back to the original question –
how does acupuncture, and for that matter, herbs, affect our hormones?
Hormones, being very minute microscopic, can be considered to be a part of the channel system in the body, and therefore part of our life energy aka Qi. This means by manipulating the channels and organs in the body with energetic means, we can affect how the hormones work.
Health is perfect balance right? Blood and other fluids flowing unimpeded through the body, carrying nutrients to and waste products away from every cell, regeneration of cells, and lack of blockages. This is what acupuncture and herbs do. They work to dissolve blockages, encourage appropriate regeneration, and good metabolism of the food we eat so it provides energy to every cell.
I know this was a long read, so thanks for slugging through it! I hope it explains the mystery of this ancient yet extremely useful medicine, in a way that makes sense. If not, I’d love to hear your questions – send me a text or call me at 630-335-1069, or email email@example.com.
Energy Flow Health Now Open in Naperville! Your Way to Digestive and Hormonal Balance.
Presenting Energy Flow Health
A little over a year ago, I struck out on my own and created my own practice. I named it Energy Flow Health because we all want more energy and encouraging healthy flow is the way to get it! Now my practice finally has a new home in Naperville!
Years ago, I had a dream for my future practice – to be in a wellness center with other like-minded practitioners in a beautiful light-filled space, a whole building, dedicated to helping others to heal themselves, so that we all can go out and heal this troubled world of ours. Then, sooner than I’d imagined, I was introduced to a group that wanted me to join them!
I’m so excited to tell you that the doors are finally open at Estuary Center for Living & Healing Arts. The parking lot still needs paving, and the landscaping will come with the spring blossoms, But the beautiful inside is painted and the bed heaters are turned on!!
Services Offered at Estuary
You may be curious at this point: what is Estuary Center? Who is there besides me? I actually came in later in the vision of this wellness center. Several women had begun planning its inception years earlier and became its founding members. They are therapists, psychologists, but mostly healers, like me. Throw into the mix several massage therapists, an art therapist, a Doctor of Integrated Manual physical therapy, and a Functional Medicine Chiropractor and you have Estuary! Together, we’re bringing an invigorating synthesis of mind-body-spirit care.
More about the Benefits of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in my other blog post here.
I hope when you walk through the doors that you will immediately feel cared for and more relaxed, as we’ve designed the space to be a sanctuary and respite.
I have appointment times available now throughout the week and am ready to take on new and old patients. Please call me to make an appointment, or if you would like a free 15-minute consultation.
Namaste, I look forward to serving you. Please, get in touch with me if you have any questions (630) 335-1069.
Visit us at:
Naperville, IL 60565