ENDOMETRIOSIS! A chronic condition, where the growth of endometrial-like tissue occurs in areas outside of the uterus, it can be debilitatingly painful and is estimated to affect almost 1 in 10 women of reproductive age! March is endometriosis awareness month, so let's shine a light and explore the TCM perspective of this chronic illness. When treating pain conditions in Chinese medicine we often look at stagnation as the culprit. The type of stagnation can vary from person to person depending on what type of symptoms they exhibit and no person is the same! The beauty of Chinese medicine is that there is not a one size fits all approach to treatment. We endeavour to find out the underlying cause of your symptoms and treat the person, not just the pathology. Here are some TCM patterns that may be causing your symptoms; ♡ Blood stagnation - the blood is not moving through the body as it should be, resulting in sharp, stabbing pain with dark red or purple, clotted blood. ♡ Qi stagnation - the free flow of qi in the body has become obstructed, pain is dull, aching, constant, may experience bloating & breast distension. ♡ Cold accumulation - a stagnation of cold in the uterus, causing severe, stabbing pain. ♡ Qi deficiency - there is not enough qi to facilitate the smooth flow of qi and blood, heavy bleeding, pain that feels better for pressure, fatigue. Of course this is just a brief outline of the TCM patterns and these can exhibit many more symptoms than the ones listed. You may experience more than one symptom and pattern and as practitioners it is our job to act as detectives and get to the bottom of your body's cries for help.
If you are a science nerd and like to see the evidence based research, studies suggest that Chinese medicine and particularly acupuncture treatment may be able to alleviate the symptoms of endometriosis by;
1. Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, to provide pain relief (Zhao 2008, Han 2004, Zijlstra 2003)
2. Facilitating the release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, changing the way in which our brain and spinal cord processes pain (Zhao 2008, Han 2004, Zijlstra 2003)
3. Promoting the release of immunomodulatory factors to reduce inflammation (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003)
4. Regulating prostaglandin levels to assist in blood flow, clotting and inflammation (Jin 2009) If you or someone you know if suffering from endometriosis please don't hesitate to reach out! Peace, love and ALL of the healing vibes flowing your way! ♡ Rach
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