Acupuncture for PMS: Good News! Study Reveals Acupuncture and Herbs both Extremely Effective
It seems that almost every day, new studies are showing the effectiveness of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, both of which are components of Chinese medicine.
This latest study is good news for any woman (and those around her, for that matter!) who suffers monthly from PMS.
Acupuncture for PMS
An analysis of 8 acupuncture studies and 11 herbal studies showed success in the reduction of PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), to the point that “the researchers note that… a large-scale, multicenter study is warranted given the findings.”, according to this article by the Healthcare Medicine Institute. The acupuncture alone was shown to reduce PMS symptoms by 77.8% within 2-4 treatments. Other symptoms besides anxiety, depression, and mood swings, which were noted to improve with the acupuncture, were swelling and hot flashes.
Herbs for PMS
As for the herbs, one of the herbal formulas studied was Xiao Yao San, commonly known as “Free and Easy Wanderer”. This formula regulates the Liver (the organ most commonly imbalanced in women who suffer from menstrual problems) and nourishes the Qi and Blood, and is one I regularly use as the base formula for many customized herbal prescriptions in my practice, as these combined disorders are among the most common in women coming for treatment for menstrual pain. This formula elicited an improvement of 68.9% in fatigue, as well as a 74.9% improvement in insomnia.
It was shown to be more effective than other single-use herbs for all emotion related symptoms of PMS: mood swings, depression, anxiety, and irritability. When you customize this formula (combination of herbs) to exactly match the organ pattern imbalance that a woman presents with, it becomes even more effective.
Chinese medicine for PMS: make sure your treatment is customized specifically for you.
This method of customizing treatment, which is unique to Chinese medicine, is part of what makes it so effective.
For example, these acupuncture studies – based on Western research methods which say that the exact same thing must be repeated in each case in order for the study to be legitimate – all used the same combination of points and studied their effectiveness. Yet in real life a fully trained acupuncturist would not follow a template treatment protocol, but rather use points based exactly and uniquely on each woman’s particular imbalances, or the root of her particular symptoms.
When acupuncture is used this way, the results are much greater.
A well-trained herbalist often does not just use a standardized formula of herbs either, but rather concocts unique formulations for each patient, making modifications of these common formulas.
An acupuncturist who specializes in gynecology will often make the herbal treatment even more effective by having a woman take different formulations during the different phases of her cycle. In this way you can very effectively treat much more difficult cases like endometriosis, fertility, fibroids, PCOS, etc.
No negative side effects!
Like the results of many acupuncture studies, one of the best parts (besides the fact that the studies are proving that acupuncture works, of course) is that they all note that there are no side effects!
Compare that to western treatments, which usually are no more, or maybe even less effective, yet come with all the dangers of awful side effects. This is another huge point for Chinese medicine, which nudges the body to do the healing on its own!
Regardless of the fact that these studies were using “cookie cutter” treatments with both the acupuncture and herbs—and therefore likely missing the chance for even greater improvement—it’s great to see yet more research revealing what acupuncturists have known for centuries, and what we see every day in the clinic: that acupuncture is extremely effective for PMS and other menstrual related issues.
And if you’re struggling with these issues, you can schedule an appointment to get started on your recovery from PMS!