Acupuncture for Gynecology Problems: My Gynecology Training and Experience.
If you’re in Fort Collins area and you’re looking for help from acupuncture with a gynecology problem, this blog should help you figure out if I might be a good fit for you.
Because treating women’s health/gynecology issues comes with its extra challenges, successful treatment requires a complex use of Chinese medicine. I’ll explain not only these complexities, but also my gynecology training and experience.
If you just want to see my gynecology training/experience, scroll down to that section.
Why Women’s Health can be challenging to treat with Acupuncture
Some acupuncturists don’t like treating women because we’re so complex.
- the insanely intricate hormone cycles that change throughout the month
- our menstrual blood that needs to be analyzed for clues as to the bigger issues going on
- our cervical mucous to consider, since that’s also an informative and important indicator of overall balance
- any other symptoms that happen at repeated intervals during our cycle
- menopause, when our natural rhythms often go completely haywire
Our menstrual and hormone cycles absolutely lend a level of intense complexity to the picture when treating female patients. On top of everything, these factors need to be considered even if a woman is coming in for something “totally unrelated”, like digestive issues, migraines, or fatigue!
Treatment constantly changes
An additional factor that makes treating women challenging is that you often can’t just give patients the same treatment through the entire phase of their menstrual cycle.
Depending on when they have problems, and/or what the problem is related to, you might have to change up their treatment numerous times throughout the cycle.
Requires Customized herbal formulas
While many acupuncturists might not agree with this, I’ve personally found that unless I tailor-make my patients their herbal prescriptions (“formulas”), then I’m less likely to get great results.
It’s becoming more and more common in modern day to use “patents”, which are pre-blended mixes of herbs in pill form. Requiring no preparation, patents are much more convenient for patients and practitioners. They don’t require extensive herbal training, since they’re often used in a more western way: You have menstrual cramps, use this patent for menstrual cramps. Got yeast infections, take this formula for yeast. But this often completely misses the underlying cause for the issue.
Chinese herbalism is an insanely complex art form and science, requiring a lifetime to truly master. While most of my patients do get better with my customized blends, I still consider myself nowhere near mastery and dedicate much of my energy towards constantly honing my skills. 17 years into my herbal experience I have a grasp of its richness and potential, yet still a lifetime of improvement ahead.
Women and emotions
And then there’s our emotions. :-) Yes, we CAN be emotional! And everyone is over-stressed these days. If we don’t put emotional health at the forefront of treatment, teaching our patient’s tools for emotional wellness, we probably won’t get very far.
Phyoo! That’s whole lot to work with!
But for me, it’s all about figuring out these complexities, of solving the mystery behind the various symptoms. This takes much more time, but it’s what I love to do.
My gynecology training and experience
Primary Acupuncture Training
I feel very blessed that for my preliminary Chinese medicine education, I was lucky to have a Chinese gynecology teacher who was the former Chief of Residents, OB/GYN at Shanghai Medical Hospital.
Because she was first a very skilled western gynecologist and only later became a Chinese medicine doctor and master herbalist, she was able to teach us the ins and outs of gynecology from both an advanced western as well as Chinese medicine perspective.
Clinical Gynecology Internship in China
My education continued when I lived in China for a stint to do clinical internships in a gynecology wing of what they call “hospitals”.
Since herbal medicine is still their first course treatment for most gynecology problems, it’s used extensively. Each week I observed hundreds and hundreds of women being treated with herbs for their gynecology problems, and getting better.
If a woman had hormone imbalances, heavy bleeding, menstrual cramps, masses up to a certain size, endometriosis, vaginal discharges, menopause symptoms etc; they would all come to the herbalist first. And because Chinese medicine is used in China not only for so many MORE gynecology conditions, but for more SEVERE gynecology conditions than it’s used for in the west; I saw things I would never get to see here in the US.
I left convinced that Chinese medicine can handle even conditions that we’d think are “too severe” for little ol’ Chinese medicine. You can read a good example of this in my fibroid post.
Advanced Gynecology Training
Once home I continued my gynecology training, and much of my advanced studies over the past 10 years have focused on Women’s health. I’ve studied advanced gynecology under renowned teachers such as:
- Bob Flaws, who is well known for writing many of the texts used by acupuncture schools, and who specializes in gynecology. He lived in Asia and also learned medical Chinese, and translates medical literature into English for the West.
- Jane Lyttleton, who is probably thought of as the premier Fertility expert, having literally “written the book” on using Chinese medicine for fertility. Because treating fertility naturally is about fixing all the related gynecology problems, although her trainings focus on fertility, natural fertility treatment isn’t much more than advanced gynecology.
Current advanced studies
For the past few years I’ve been studying under a Classical Chinese medicine teacher. My Classical medicine blog explains how this differs from what’s taught in most acupuncture schools nowadays so it’s worth a read.
She passes down the strong lineage in Chinese medicine of a more complex use of the medicine that proves extremely effective in those complicated women’s health issues.
Do you need help with a gynecology problem?
I don’t mean to make it sound as though Chinese medicine can successfully address any and all gynecology problems. In most cases, I’m working as a team with a patient’s western doctor or gynecologist, making sure that there’s not something dangerous going on that really does need urgent western medical care.
There are certain issues, such as massive fibroids, uterine bleeding in post-menopausal women, pelvic inflammatory disease and some others, that absolutely need immediate western medical attention.
But if you’re already under the care of a western doctor so you know the dangerous red flags have been ruled out, and you want a different approach to resolve your gynecology issue, then there’s a good chance that I can help.
There are also many common menstrual issues that don’t need a visit to the doctor first. If you think we’d be a good fit and you’d like to schedule an appointment, you can use the button below.