Acupuncture for Endometriosis - Cure or Pacifier?
By Shelley Ross
For practitioners and enthusiasts of acupuncture, endometriosis is simply another illness to deal with and cure. For scientists, however, acupuncture may be a pacifier, or a means for patients to believe that they are being cured. The thinking is that women may be seeing results from acupuncture treatments due to the consequent positive thinking that a prospective cure can bring. Is acupuncture for endometriosis a real solution?
In order to understand if there is a link between acupuncture and easing endometriosis pains, one needs to understand the underlying concepts of acupuncture.
A component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture works with a universal store of energy known as chi. Chi is present in all nature, and flows through our bodies.
Uninterrupted, chi can bring good health and can put humans in harmony with their environment. When the flow of chi through our body, or in nature is disrupted however, illness and destruction can result.
Acupuncture seeks to allow chi to flow through normal channels once more and, in so doing, reverse sicknesses or bring relief to those in pain. Acupuncture does this through the use of tiny needles, which are inserted in strategic points of the body where the chi flow can pass undisturbed.
If chi balance is restored, acupuncture promises, healing can begin. This promise has long drawn the busy Western World to this medicine of the East; in fact, enthusiasts of acupuncture testify to its ability to make them relax and think better, even lead healthier lives. In order to see what acupuncture can do for endometriosis, it will help to understand how endometriosis happens.
During a woman’s monthly cycle, her uterus forms an inner lining called the endometrium, which is designed to nurse a fetus should incoming sperm fertilize an egg. If no fertilization occurs, the endometrial lining will pass out of the body during menstruation.
In some cases, however, the endometrial lining passes to other parts of the body, causing internal bleeding, scarring and disruption to normal bodily functions. This condition is known as endometriosis, and those who suffer from it also experience intense, progressive bodily pain. Doctors can treat endometriosis by controlling the levels of estrogen in the body, or by prescribing pain medication so those women can deal with the pains that come with the disorder. Surgery is another option that can remove the misplaced endometrial tissue and associated scarring and adhesions, although this may only offer short-term relief and a number of surgeries maybe required.
Due to the lack of comprehensive medical and surgical treatment a number of women seek alternative means to treat their condition or to compliment other treatments.
When attending a session with a TCM practitioner they will ask you many questions regarding your menstrual cycle and also about your life. The treatments are very much targeted to each individual and the acupuncture points chosen will vary from person to person. Common points are on the neck, ears, back, abdomen and legs.
Alongside the acupuncture sessions, herbal remedies will be given too. These are also tailored for the individual and act in conjunction with the chosen acupuncture points.
By rerouting the chi, the inserted needles can supposedly make people with endometriosis feel better and stronger - strong enough to deal with the pains of their disorder. In other words, acupuncture helps endometriosis, but does not heal it.
It is thought that acupuncture helps in a number of ways, it can relax a woman and make it easier to deal with the pain and discomfort, increase blood flow to the abdomen which promotes healing and may act as a pain reliever by releasing endorphins into the system. Discover more information on natural alternatives for treating endometriosis by signing up to the newsletter below.
If you are interested in using acupuncture for endometriosis pain relief, then consult with your doctor first and talk about what other therapies are available. If you are given the go ahead for acupuncture, look for licensed acupuncturists in your area, or consult with fellow endometriosis patients on the acupuncturists they have gone to.
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