It is reported that up to 80% of women experience some degree of pre-menstrual syndrome and 20-30% of women experience what is termed clinically significant PMS.
Acupuncture for Pre-menstrual syndrome is an effective treatment and Harvard Medical School researchers have confirmed this. The researchers also noted that PMS is difficult to treat with pharmaceutical intervention because of medication side effects.
Researchers from the University of Arizona also found in another study the efficacy of acupuncture for depression which is a symptom commonly experienced as part of PMS.
There are in fact a number of physical symptoms associated with PMS as well as the mental ones and acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been used to treat all these symptoms for hundreds of years.
What are the symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome?
The symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome can include
- Low libido
- Breast distension
- Abdomen bloating
- Bowel irregularity
- Food cravings
What can cause PMS according to traditional Chinese medicine?
There can be a number of organs involved in the cause of PMS according to traditional Chinese medicine and the liver is a common imbalance seen in the clinic. From a TCM perspective, the liver, because it is an organ full of blood, influences the bleeding process associated with the menstrual cycle. Overwork and stress put their toll on the liver which leads to an imbalance of its function, with it becoming either too weak, blocked or overactive.
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre, opposite the Wellington Hospital, says says “Too many women have had a history of eating an excess of dairy and oily foods which according to Chinese medicine can lead to a condition known as “phlegm and damp”. This phlegm-damp condition, when combined with an accumulation of suppressed emotions is a sure recipe for PMS. In nature, the heat from a fire rises and according to Chinese medical thought this also happens in the human body . The heat rises up and ‘agitates the mind’ causing depression often associated with crying. The liver meridian travels through the breast and if there is a blockage at this level breast distension and lumps may form”.
Why do some women get acne around this time?
According to TCM when the blood of the liver gets too hot and rises, acne can result and hence women can experience a pimple breakout around the menstrual cycle. If the liver becomes overactive it can also ‘invade’ the digestive system causing bloating and bowel irregularities.
One acupuncture point can treat many different symptoms. Scott Pearson goes on to say, “This is the beauty of selecting the most appropriate acupuncture point for the cause of the imbalance. The third point on the liver meridian called tai chong can treat irritability, period pain and sore breasts as well as many other symptoms.”