Acupuncture & Heavy Bleeding
Fibroids effect between 5 and 21 percent of the population. They can be asymptomatic or present with a variety of different symptoms including menorrhagia, very heavy menstrual flow (1). Acupuncture can help manage menorrhagia. Chronically heavy flow takes a toll on the body in both physiological and energetic terms. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, loss of blood can result in Liver or Heart Blood Deficiency, which can progress into Heart or Blood Yin Deficiencies. The symptoms of these two pathologies include heart palpitations, night sweats, dizziness, floats, blurry vision, restlessness and insomnia, to name a few.
According to Chinese medicine, pathologies result from excess or deficiency of energy flow. This may be due to physical blockages in the body (i.e. muscle tension), or due to exposure to particular foods, environmental challenges and stresses. There can be a genetic predisposition to a particular state as well. The insertion of needles used in acupuncture opens up the passage for the energy termed “qi” to flow. This moves the “qi” either away from excess or towards a deficient organ. In either case, this improves the symptoms.
What does the treatment entail? A typical acupuncture treatment session lasts for 30 minutes. The needles are inserted into points along meridians that are selected based on individual constitution of the patient and their symptoms. Patients rarely feel the needles once they are in place, unless of course they are connected to an electrical stimulation device. This device provides additional stimulation to the needles, but does not hurt, as the intensity is selected to the patient’s tolerance. The sessions occur 1-2 times per week for a course of 6-10 weeks. This is a good opportunity to meditate or follow through a guided meditation delivered by the naturopathic doctor.
What can you expect in terms of results? Usually it takes at least 3 session to achieve meaningful results. However, in some cases bleeding decreases by 50% after one session (2)(3).
In conclusion, the acupuncture treatment has been shown to be effective on its own at improving menorrhagia (heavy bleeding). However, combing these sessions with dietary and lifestyle changes yields optimal results and speeds up the healing process.
- Zimmermann A. Prevalence, symptoms and management of uterine fibroids: an international-based survey of 21, 746 women. BMC Women’s Health. 2012; 12:6
- Jian N. The application of Sanyinjioa (SP 6) for acupuncture treatment of gynecological and obstetrical disorders. J of Trad Chinese Med. 2010; 30(1): 51-52
- Cakmak et al. Management of menorrhagia with electroacupuncture. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 2011; 96(1): e13-e15