For followers and practitioners of acupuncture, endometriosis is just another disorder to address and cure. For the skeptics, however, acupuncture may be a placebo or a way for the patient to imagine that he/she has been cured. The patient thinks that positive thinking might bring about a resolution to his/her problem causing the acupuncture treatment to work. So the question is, is acupuncture really a cure for endometriosis?
One needs to know the fundamental concepts of acupuncture in order to understand the connection between acupuncture and pain caused by endometriosis.
Acupuncture is actually one among many modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the underlying concept of all TCM modalities is the belief of the existence of a life energy known as Chi. According to TCM, chi can be found in all of nature and it inherently flows in each and every body of a living object, including human beings.
A normal and unhindered flow of chi brings good health and enables us to be in harmony with nature and the environment. When chi flow is blocked or disrupted, destruction and illness can ensue.
Acupuncture aims to restore the normal flow of chi through the energy pathways known as meridians. When it accomplishes this, the result is a complete relief from pain and the reversal of sicknesses. Acupuncture accomplishes this through the use of tiny needles, which are pricked into certain points on the body where chi is known to circulate helping to boost its flow and clear off any blockages in the meridians that prevents chi to flow unhindered.
A free flow of chi can bring back balance in the body and when the body is in balance, healing can commence. This process has attracted doctors and ordinary people alike in the West and many people who have gotten well with acupuncture swear of its effectiveness and its ability to help them think and relax much better and allow them to live healthy, happy lives.
If you are interested in how acupuncture can help resolve endometriosis and how endometriosis can develop in your body (if you’re a woman, of course), then read on.
When a woman is on her monthly period, her uterus develops an inner lining known as the endometrium. The endometrium is the specific part of a woman that was designed to nurse a fetus when her egg is fertilized by a sperm cell. If fertilization does not occur, the lining of the endometrium gets removed out of the body during the process of menstruation.
In certain instances, however, the lining of the endometrium goes to the other parts of the body and this causes problems such as disruption of bodily functions and internal bleeding. This condition is known as endometriosis and women who have this suffer from progressive and intense bodily pain.
In treating endometriosis, physicians prescribe painkillers or try to regulate estrogen levels in the body in order for those who have it get alleviated of their pain. One other means that conventional medicine uses to control this disease is through surgery to extract the adhesions and scarring associated with endometriosis. Oftentimes, surgery provides only temporary relief which can mean the need for more surgeries.
Because of the inadequacy or unsatisfactory results that surgery and conventional medicine provide for the treatment of endometriosis, a growing number of endometriosis sufferers are seeking other forms of treatment for their problem or to complement their ongoing treatment.
When performing acupuncture treatment for endometriosis, an acupuncturist at the beginning of treatment will ask the patient a number of questions regarding the patient’s menstrual period and about certain vital aspects of her life. The acupuncturist will select the acupuncture points that are to be needled in order to treat the symptoms as well as address the underlying cause of the problem. For endometriosis, the points usually treated are located on the legs, stomach, back, ears and neck.
Acupuncture treatment for endometriosis is often combined with Chinese herbal medicine. The herbs that are prescribed will depend on the constitution of the patient and on the symptoms manifested.
By rechanneling the chi, the needles that are inserted can help the patient better cope with the discomfort and pain of her condition. In essence, the patient does not get healed of her condition but instead acupuncture helps her body better cope with endometriosis.
Acupuncture can help an endometriosis sufferer in a number of ways. First, it acts as a pain reliever by helping release natural painkillers known as endorphins into the bloodstream to neutralize the pain. It also enhances blood circulation into the stomach, helps the patient relax, and promotes in the healing of her condition.
If you are considering acupuncture for treatment of your endometriosis symptoms, you need to talk with your physician first to find out what other treatments that can be considered. If you are allowed to try acupuncture, look for an acupuncturist who is qualified and well-experienced in treating endometriosis.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.