Fibrocystic breasts affects more than fifty percent of women and causes the breasts to become lumpy or rope like. The breasts can become painful and tender especially prior to menstruating. According to Mayo Clinic, in terms of western medicine and modern science, the cause is unknown and the Mayo Clinic states that it can never be cured.
The lumps can vary in size and can come and go and go up or down in size at various stages of the menstrual cycle.
How does traditional Chinese medicine look at cystic breasts?
Lara Ferguson Diaz, a Licensed acupuncturist from the USA, has compiled information from four well known contemporary Chinese medicine authors and in conclusion there are a number of causes. Blockage on energy (qi) , in particular liver qi stagnation can result from suppressed emotions and stress and as the liver meridian runs through the breast, blockage can result. Blockage can become complicated with phlegm stagnation. Traditional Chinese medicine says that phlegm can go anywhere in the body and cause problems. In A Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine by Wiseman and Ye, this condition is known as ru pi (mammary aggregation) with congealed phlegm being a common cause. Jeffery Yuen, another contemporary author, also has the view that one of the eight extraordinary meridians, the chong mai, as it travels to the breast, may be considered to be used in the treatment of breast problems.
Historically, have herbs been used for breast problems?
Qualified and registered Chinese herbalists have in their repertoire hundreds of herbs available and depending of the individual’s imbalance, different herbs can be selected. There is category of Chinese herbs in the herbal text pharmacopeia that specifically address energy (qi) stagnation issues. One example of such an herb is chai hu (bupleurum) which is in many formulas such as xiao yao san. The classic Chinese medicine diagnostic books state that swollen and sore breasts is a common symptom associated with liver qi stagnation.
What other symptoms may occur with ru pi?
There can be a number of menstrual problems such as irregular and painful periods perhaps with clotting. In addition, there could be mood swings, irritability and feeling tearful before the cycle. Traditional Chinese medicine states that the tears are the fluid of the liver and hence if the liver is in disharmony it may cause tearing around the menstrual cycle.
Has there been any modern day study in China in regards to acupuncture and herbs for breast pain and nodules?
Ci et al have written a paper entitled “Observation of curative effect of acupuncture combined with early nursing intervention in the treatment of mammary gland hyperplasia” and can be accessed here.
How can someone find a member of Acupuncture NZ close to them if seeking someone for acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture NZ was founded in 1977 and currently has over 600 members throughout New Zealand.