In Australia, complementary and alternative medicine is used by 52-69% of the population with users in Australia and internationally more likely to be women. Women’s health as a branch of Chinese medicine relates to the cycles within a woman’s life; menstruation, fertility, pregnancy & post-natal care and menopause. These are the basis of gynaecological health. The impact these cycles of life have when they are not functioning at optimum leads to many imbalances of a woman’s physical, mental and emotional well being. Research suggests that conditions such as premenstrual syndrome, painful periods, excessive menstrual bleeding, irregular menstruation, fertility disorders and menopausal syndrome can be improved through regular acupuncture. There is also positive research and clinical experience regarding induction, breech presentation and nausea & vomiting in pregnancy.
It is important to acknowledge the impact our health has on our psychological wellness and how this in turn affects the rest of our lives and our families. The physiology of acupuncture’s effect on stress, anxiety and depression demonstrates positive changes to the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, cortisol and prolactin levels and neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This in turn reduces stress, anxiety, social and relationship concern and improves psychological coping.
The nature of the therapeutic relationship cultivated within an acupuncture session is that women are empowered to take an active role in their health and given the opportunity and education using Chinese medicine to do so. The value in the therapeutic relationship includes a collaborative approach with responsibility on both sides, empathy & caring and a commitment to the best outcome for the patient.
Grant LE, Cochrane S. Acupuncture for the Mental and Emotional Health of Women Undergoing IVF Treatment: A Comprehensive Review. AUST J Acupunct Chin Med 2014;9(1):5-12. Link