Endometriosis is a disease in which endometrial cells grow outside the uterine cavity, usually on the abdominal cavity. Normally, the cells remain isolated to the uterine cavity, where hormones influence their growth and behavior. Women who suffer from endometriosis, however, experience endometrial cellular growth outside the uterus, resulting back pain, abdominal pain, premenstrual spotting, urinary pain, vomiting and other related symptoms.
According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), endometriosis affects 6-10% of the general female population. This same study indicates the rates of endometriosis are higher in women who experience pelvic pain and/or infertility, with the disease occurring in 35-50% of women1.
There are three basic classifications of endometriosis:
- Mild endometriosis: characterized by the formation of small patches of endometrial tissue growing outside the uterine cavity.
- Moderate endometriosis: involves larger and more prominent growths of endometrial tissue.
- Severe endometriosis: involves the formation of fibrous scar tissue binding together the pelvic organs.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including acupuncture, is often used to treat cased of mild, moderate and even severe endometriosis. According to TCM, endometrial lesions are categorized as static blood (blood that is stagnant is not moving throughout the body). This makes sense considering the disease involves abnormal cellular growth in areas where it shouldn’t be. The presence of static blood encourages the formation of disease, and there’s some belief that it increases the risk of certain types of cancer as well.
TCM states that blood must flow freely and unrestricted throughout the body to maintain good health. When a person experienced poor circulation, he or she is more susceptible to disease and illness. So, how can acupuncture help to restore the body’s blood flow and treat endometriosis?
Acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles in various parts of the body (known as acupuncture points). The underlying principle behind this centuries-old form of TCM is that it restores the body’s flow of energy (Qi); thus, correcting imbalances while promoting a healthy circulatory system. Acupuncture corrects Qi blockages, restores the body’s life force, and stimulates the self-healing mechanism, all of which prove useful in the treatment of endometriosis. Modern science reveals acupuncture causes an increase of blood circulation, as the body responds the insertion of a foreign object of the needle much like a splinter and tries to push it out with blood flow.
Here are some other tips for dealing with endometriosis:
- Relax… stress is known to irritate and worsen conditions such as endometriosis.
- Perform deep-breathing exercises and/or meditation.
- Strive for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
- Place a heating pad on your abdomen to relieve endometriosis-related pain.
- Increase your intake of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Cut back on refined sugars and processed foods.
Alleviate Endometriosis Pain
Rubbing acupuncture points with your finger for 30 – 60 seconds can stimulate and promote the circulation of Qi within your own body, restoring health and well-being.
Stomach 36 (ST 36): On the outside of the leg, approximately one hand width below the kneecap, just off the bone. Functions: Increases stamina and energy, provides stability and grounding, heals effects on the body of too much worrying and thinking.
Liver 3 (LV 3): On the top of the foot, in the depression between where the first and second metatarsal bones meet. DO NOT USE DURING PREGNANCY. Functions: Used for dizziness, headaches, vertigo, epilepsy, painful and/or blurry eyes, irregular menstruation, depression, uterine bleeding and prolapse, urine retention, genital pain, frequent sighing, and insomnia.
Kidney 3 (KD 3): Level with the tip of the inner anklebone, in the depression between the ankle and tendon. Functions: Reinforces the Kidneys, clears heat, strengthens the low back and knees, rectifies the uterus, helps with anxiety, insomnia and chronic low back pain.
Conception Vessel 6: Three finger widths directly below the belly button. Functions: Alleviates pain in the lower abdomen, alleviates abdominal masses due to stagnation. Regulates uterus and good for irregular menstruation and dysmenorrhea.
Conception Vessel 4: Roughly four finger widths directly below the belly button. Functions: Alleviates abdominal masses due to stagnation. Regulates uterus and good for irregular menstruation and dysmenorrhea. Good for severe lower abdominal pain that radiates to genitals. Helpful for bladder infection. Strengthens the body and helps with diarrhea, lethargy, and weak limbs.
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