Women’s Health Brisbane
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have a long history of working with Women’s health issues.
Historically, women have been pretty good at addressing their own health concerns. However, women are also good at accepting pain and change in their lives. Mothers, in particular, become too busy to reflect on the fact that the niggling pain and tiredness might not be necessary.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), women’s health encompasses looking after everything from general musculoskeletal conditions to more specific issues relating to the menstrual cycle or fertility.
Recent research papers such as the Acupuncture Evidence Project have provided us with more weight of approval for acupuncture as an intervention. Over 40 conditions have been shown to have high, moderate or some effect through the use of acupuncture (1). The body of research and evidence continues to grow.
General care might include helping to ease chronic back pain, alleviate annoying migraines or to help with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS). We see symptoms of all sorts in the clinic, some common, others less so. John has a particular interest and experience in using acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Women’s Health issues (menstrual pain, reproductive and pregnancy issues), whilst Laura has a special interest in musculoskeletal problems.
As a prelude to talking about how we might be able to help you, here is some information regarding TCM and how we see the menstrual cycle.
The menstrual cycle is a key indicator of a woman’s health in TCM. It provides a clue as to the free-flow of energy (Qi), and the state of your blood (ie. is there enough blood, is there heat in the blood, is the blood being held in place and not leaking out as bruising under the skin, is it nourishing your hair and joints adequately)? The menstrual cycle should be regular 28-32 days, relatively free from pain and from clots. There should also be a reasonable volume of blood – very little blood in the menses is a sign to us as practitioner that we need to investigate why there is a deficiency of blood. Similarly, large volumes of blood being lost through the menses is a sign that either the blood is not being held in place sufficiently, or perhaps that there is an excess of heat within the body – which tends to harass the blood and force it out of its vessels ( leading to heavy menses ).
Perhaps there is a common understanding between friends or mothers which goes a little something like, “…well Mum always had really heavy blood loss, so I guess it’s hereditary”. We don’t necessarily think this way when diagnosing using TCM. Each individual is treated as such – signs and symptoms are assessed on the day of your consultation and . Either way, we will always aim to bring you back into a balanced state such that your are as symptom free as possible.
The importance of blood
Women’s physiology is built around Yin and blood. These energies are cooling, nourishing, reflective and structural. Blood is particularly important as one of the ‘fundamental substances’ in TCM, helping to house the mind or ‘Shen’.
How is blood made from a TCM perspective?
Our blood is made primarily with thanks to our spleen and stomach. When supplied with the proper environment and food types, these two organs work harmoniously together to extract energy from our food, which in turn is produced into blood. Poor blood production from a tired spleen, poor diet lacking enough blood building foods, or blood loss (trauma, child birth or continuous heavy menstrual bleeding) are all factors that can contribute to blood deficiency. Heart palpitations, anxiety, ridged, brittle nails are all symptoms which can be attributed to inadequate blood levels in TCM.
Have you ever noticed those funny little ‘sparkling floaters’ in your vision? These too are a classic sign in TCM of blood deficiency. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs aim at eliminating these symptoms by assisting the spleen to make more blood, as well as directly nourishing the blood with herbs like Dang Gui and Shu Di Huang.
Blood is also important for the health of our head, hair and the lustre of our skin in TCM. Falling hair, or lifeless hair is a sign we need to start doing some ‘blood building’ with you! What’s the state of your blood like?
Other symptoms of interest to us from a TCM perspective
- Irregular periods
- Painful breasts or breast cysts
- Painful periods
- Heavy periods, blood clots
- Mood swings and PMS
- Poor quality or falling hair
- Poor quality and brittle nails
- Lack lustre and dull skin, poor tone and elasticity
- Aching, painful joints
- Painful or aching lower back
- High thirst, especially in the afternoon or evening
- Really hot or cold feet and hands.
All good things take time
Yes, Chinese medicine is seen as more of a slow medicine. We can be really conditioned into wanting to take a pill for a quick fix. We don’t fit into that model. We enjoy the process, and as per traditional Chinese Medicine ethos, treat each patient as a time-honoured guest.
What we are often asked questions regarding:
- PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Long Follicular Phase
- Short Follicular Phase
- Short Luteal phase
- Low Luteal Phase
- Painful periods
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual spotting
- Low mood
- Feeling very teary
- Heart palpitations
I’m happy to help answer questions you may have about your current state of health and look forward to being a part of your journey towards a healthy you.
Contact Ginseng Clinic to discuss your health issue.
- McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine