At Healthy Matters, we are all about staying healthy and taking advantage of the wide range of medical services in Hong Kong, from Western to Chinese medicines. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for millennia and like Western medicine, is particularly good at certain things. TCM takes a ‘rebalancing’ approach so the prescription for each woman will be slightly different.
In collaboration with Dr. Michelle Law 羅佩雯博士, we look into 5 female-related issues TCM is particularly good at relieving in women.
1 – Fertility and acupuncture
Key to a healthy female reproductive system is the menstrual cycle. Irregular cycles are sometimes associated with fertility issues. TCM methods, particularly acupuncture, have proven to be effective in making menstrual cycles more regular, and possibly increasing fertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture can induce regular ovulation in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) through modulation of the nervous and endocrine systems. Another potential fertility benefit of acupuncture is optimizing how receptive the uterine lining is to embryo implantation (known clinically as endometrial receptivity) by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs.
2 – Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and acupuncture
Just like using acupuncture to make periods more regular, TCM is also effective in reducing other pesky period symptoms. Acupuncture is associated with endorphine (the “feel good” hormone) production which can help relieve some of the emotional distress and pain associated with a woman’s period. Oral and topical chinese herbal medicine can also alleviate menstrual cramps.
3 – Breach babies and acupuncture
Babies in breach position (feet/buttocks/knees down) are much more likely to have a complicated birth or caesarean section. Numerous studies have associated both acupuncture and moxibustion treatments with successfully-turned breach babies. There is evidence showing moxibustion may reduce the need for a manual procedure known as external cephalic version, where an obstetrician or midwife turns the baby to a head-down position. Combined with acupuncture, moxibustion may result in fewer births by caesarean section.
4 – Menopause, acupuncture and herbal medicines
Hong Kong and Chinese women tend to report far lower rates of menopausal symptoms than their Western counterparts. This difference is associated with a difference in diet, but also how symptoms are managed. TCM offers an alternative to Western medicine’s hormone replacement therapy. Numerous clinical studies have shown promising results using acupuncture to assist with many of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. Chinese herbal medicine helps balance the female hormones.
5 – Insomnia and acupuncture
While insomnia is not solely a female issue, it is more common in women (34%) than men (24%). A common treatment for insomnia is TCM: numerous studies have shown that acupuncture is reliable and effective for improving sleeping quality. Acupuncture also lacks the addiction and safety risks of pharmaceutical insomnia cures.
Further information regarding complementary medicine providers can be found in the Healthy Matters Directory.