Acupuncture: Pointing the Way to Menopausal Relief
If you are looking for a natural alternative to alleviate the discomforting symptoms of menopause, you may want to consider acupuncture. Acupuncture has longtime been used to treat hormonal problems across the spectrum of a woman's life. Today, women and professionals alike are increasingly touting the effectiveness of acupuncture in relieving the side-effects during the menopausal life stage as well.
The theory of acupuncture, based on the Chinese model of medicine, holds that there is a life energy flowing through the body called Qi (pronounced "chee"), which travels along "meridian points" that connect all the major organs of the body. When the flow of Qi is interrupted, blocked or becomes unbalanced, it manifests in illness or in painful or distressing symptoms.
Through acupuncture, the Qi flow can be stimulated and balance restored, thus allowing the body to heal naturally. The most common form of acupuncture involves stimulation of meridian points by using fine metal needles to stimulate the skin and thereby conduct the energy flow of the body. Needles are either manually manipulated or stimulated electrically.
Acupuncture and Menopause
Menopause marks the cessation of ovulation in a woman's body and a decrease in the levels of two essential hormones, estrogen and progesterone. In the vocabulary of Oriental medicine, menopause is said to be a natural process that alters the balance of Yin and Yang. According to this approach, during the menopausal stage of a woman's life her body is preparing to prolong its vitality by conserving blood and energy, especially in the area of the kidneys. Indeed, the kidneys are thought to be the root of life and of long life.
The aim of acupuncture in treating menopause is to detect energy changes that occur in the body and to help restore balance in a woman's body. Acupuncture has been very successful in relieving common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, confusion, and more.
Chinese medicine adopts a holistic approach to healing and thus menopause is not looked upon as merely a cluster of physical symptoms. Rather, each woman is considered a unique case requiring an individualized treatment protocol. Typically, an acupuncturist will discuss not only a woman's specific menopause symptoms, but also examine her overall lifestyle, health, diet, exercise regime, etc., and make recommendations in all of these areas.
While the length, number and frequency of treatments will vary from person to person, acupuncture treatments generally range from 5 minutes to an hour once or twice a week. Some women report instant relief from symptoms while others require more sessions.
Finally, be sure to seek a licensed, certified acupuncturist who practices strict sterilizing procedures or who uses disposable needles. While the prospect of needles is daunting at first, most people report the experience to be relaxing rather than stressful or painful.