What We Treat

Menstrual Cramps – live with it or find relief?

This one is for the ladies! Actually, if you’re not a lady, you probably have one or two in your life so you can listen in on this one too.

 

Defining Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea means painful periods.  This pain is commonly due to cramping of the uterus causing lower abdominal pain but can also refer to back pain, leg pain, or headaches that come before or during the menstrual period.

 

Who is Affected and How Common Is it?

Girls normally begin menstruating anywhere from age 9-18 with an average around 12-14.  Some girls have no issues – it comes every month, no pain, no symptoms – but for many it is not so smooth or seemless.  In fact, it can be downright dreadful! I know, I was one of those teens who experienced pain every month for years.  Research statistics are not concrete, but looking at the reviews of all the literature show that at least half of all menstruating females experience dysmenorrhea (painful periods).  It varies in severity but can be debilitating for some.

 

Alternatives to NSAIDS and other analgesics

Many women rely on pain relieving over the counter or prescription medications to cope with the monthly pain.  There are issues with this as there is of course side effects with these pills.  Luckily, Chinese Medicine is an effective way to heal the root cause of the pain and improve girls’ and women’s cycles overall.

 

What causes menstrual cramps

In Chinese Medicine, pain associated with menstruation is due to stagnating blood in the uterus/lower abdomen.  In our system pain = blockage.  Something is preventing the free flow and circulation of Qi and Blood.  But why? Well, everyone is different but the most common causes I see are Liver Dysregulation causing Qi to not be flowing smoothly and freely, which then in turn means that blood can’t flow either.

The other is Cold.  If there is a lack of warmth, from our internal Yang Energy or internal Fire, then cold causes blood vessels to contract, causing pain.  Cold blood is like an icy river – it needs a certain amount of heat in order to flow (remember we’re about 98.6F inside – that’s pretty warm!).

 

Treatment

Here at Energy Flow Health, I assess a person to see if they have 1. adequate blood flow, 2. adequate Yang/Fire in the right place, and 3. blockages in their energy meridians causing Qi Stagnation.  From there we come up with acupuncture points and often times a customized herbal formula to remove blockages and repair internal deficiencies or excesses, respectively.

This condition is a passion of mine, and I want you to know that there are solutions.  I am eager to help women find relief and get that week of their life back!  If you are ready to receive treatment you can schedule here or shoot me an email if you have any questions!

 

The Acupuncture Evidence Project – My Review

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:

Here’s an example of a small study.

Low Back Pain

Migraine Prophylaxis

Allergic Rhinitis

Knee Osteoarthritis

Chronic and Tension Headaches

Chemotherapy Induced nausea and vomiting

Post-Operative Pain

Post-Operative nausea and vomiting

My Take:

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.

 

Another small example of positive results.

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:

Anxiety

Constipation

Depression

Insomnia

IBS

Menopausal hot flashes (aka hot flushes)

 

My Take:

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!