Acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States in recent years, but this form of ancient Eastern medicine has origins anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. As research has evolved, experts are finding that acupuncture can offer a host of benefits for a woman’s health, including aiding in fertility, relieving nausea during pregnancy, and treating pain conditions. Before we dig into the benefits of acupuncture, let’s explore how it works.
Acupuncture is based on the belief that the body has 2,000 acupuncture points that are connected by pathways, also known as meridians. These pathways allow for the flow of energy (or “Qi,” pronounced like “chee”) through the body. By placing tiny needles on different acupressure points, it can help improve the circulation of Qi throughout the body.
“Many women like acupuncture because it is minimally invasive, doesn’t involve taking medication, and has very few side effects,” shared Axia Women’s Health provider, Scott Dinesen, DO, who is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and licensed in acupuncture.
The thought of being pricked with needles may seem scary at first, but there’s no need to worry. These needles are made of a super fine gauge, so you shouldn’t feel any pain. If you do experience any discomfort for any reason, you can simply ask your provider to remove the needle.
Acupuncture has been proven effective in treating a variety of conditions from helping to relieve nausea during pregnancy, to supporting fertility, to relieving pain associated with periods, and even reducing menopause symptoms. More on each of these below.
“Every patient is different. Depending on the condition, some women may find relief by doing acupuncture once a month, while others may prefer to do it every few weeks. What’s most important is to find an acupuncturist that you feel comfortable with,” adds Dr. Dinesen.
You can find licensed acupuncturists in your area through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA).
“While acupuncture may not fully eliminate symptoms, it can provide some much-needed relief. As a provider, it’s great to have another tool in my toolbox to help patients.”
Overall, acupuncture is a safe treatment that can be effective for many women. Acupuncture is best when used in combination with other therapies to help alleviate symptoms. As always, it’s important to discuss any health concerns with your Axia Women’s Health provider, as they can help you determine the best care plan for your needs.