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Understanding Endometriosis: A Holistic Approach from an Acupuncturist’s Perspective

Updated: Mar 12


acupuncture and endometriosis

Endometriosis, a complex reproductive disorder affecting millions of women worldwide, presents unique challenges. As an acupuncturist, my role extends beyond symptom management to addressing the root causes and emotional well-being of my patients.



What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis involves the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. While conventional medicine focuses on pharmaceuticals and surgery, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic approach that considers the mind-body connection.


TCM Concepts Relevant to Endometriosis

  • Blood Stasis Syndrome: TCM views endometriosis as a manifestation of blood stasis. Stagnant energy and kidney yang deficiency contribute to lumps associated with endometriosis.

  • Qi Energy: Qi, the vital life force, flows through meridians. Disruptions in Qi flow can lead to health issues, including endometriosis. Balancing Qi is essential.


Emotions and Endometriosis

Emotions profoundly impact endometriosis:

  • Stress and Cortisol: Chronic stress disrupts hormonal balance, exacerbating symptoms.

  • Emotional Suppression: Blocked emotions hinder Qi flow. Acupuncture releases energetic blockages.

  • Fear and Anxiety: Fear of pain or infertility triggers anxiety. Acupuncture calms the mind.

  • Grief and Loss: Fertility challenges evoke grief. Heart and kidney meridians are crucial.

  • Anger and Liver Qi Stagnation: In TCM, the liver is associated with anger. Liver Qi imbalance worsens symptoms. Acupoint Liver 3 helps regulate liver Qi.


Acupuncture for Endometriosis

Acupuncture plays a vital role in managing endometriosis:

• Acupoints: Target pelvic blood flow, balance Qi, and alleviate pain.

• Benefits: Reduces inflammation, regulates prostaglandins, and enhances immune function.

• Emotional Impact: Acupuncture promotes relaxation, easing stress-related symptoms.


Chinese Herbal Formulas

Herbs address both Qi and blood stagnation. Key herbs include:

  • Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis): Regulates menstruation, reduces pain.

  • Yi Mu Cao (Leonurus heterophyllus): Supports blood circulation, alleviates pelvic congestion.

  • Tao Ren (Peach Kernel): Breaks up blood stasis.

  • Chi Shao (Red Peony Root): Reduces inflammation, promotes blood flow.


Research Evidence

  • Acupuncture: Studies show reduced inflammation, improved prostaglandin regulation, and immune enhancement. Combining acupuncture with herbal medicine down-regulates matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) associated with ectopic endometrial cell activity.

  • Herbal Formulas: Two studies have investigated the use of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in treating endometriosis. The studies suggest that CHM may be as effective as gestrinone (a conventional hormonal therapy) and more effective than danazol (another hormonal drug) in relieving endometriosis-related pain with fewer side effects.


Remember, each woman’s journey is unique. Embracing a holistic approach means receiving compassionate care that is tailored to you, empowering you on a path toward healing and balance. 🌸🌿





References

1 Wang, Y., & Zhang, Q. (2019). Effects of acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine on MMP-2 and TIMP-2 in patients with endometriosis. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 39(6), 867-871.


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