By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC
Yin & Yang of the Menstrual Cycle
Yin and yang hormones that wax and wane throughout the menstrual cycle have an influence on our doing and being states and vice versa. Around ovulation time we have more yang energy that inspires socializing, connecting, exploring, and exercise. Conversely, around menstruation time there is a yin energy pull towards introversion, reflection, creativity, and cravings for extra self care and nurturing. These are healthy and normal aspects of a woman's cycle. What's abnormal are menstrual disorders such as PMS, irregular cycles, and heavy bleeding, to name a few. The good news is that menstrual imbalances can be regulated with acupuncture if treatments are regular and consistent. Regular and consistent treatments are key since acupuncture is cumulative and works in a series of progressive treatments.
Acupuncture for PMS & Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Acupuncture is highly effective medicine for irregular cycles and PMS, for maintaining regular cycles, and for prevention. 4 treatments per month (1/each phase) is ideal for at least 3 cycles (3 months). In addition I encourage booking in for a herbal medicine consultation to compliment treatments.
Here are a few examples of common TCM patterns within each phase that registered acupuncturist's assess and treat:
PHASE 1 (MENSTRUATION): REGULATE QI AND BLOOD
- Pain during menstruation can indicate blood stagnation, blood deficiency, and cold in the uterus.
Common treatment plan options depending on individual's pattern:
a) Gently move qi and blood.
b) Nourish liver-kidney yin/blood.
c) Warm the uterus to resolve pain.
- Clotting: Regulate spleen, liver, and kidney. Gently move qi and blood.
- Throbbing headache may be related to liver yang rising. Subdue liver yang, nourish yin.
- Dull headache during or after is related to qi and blood deficiency. Strengthen spleen, build blood and tonify qi.
- Heavy or flooding:
a) Stop bleeding, regulate liver qi, and strengthen spleen.
b) Cool blood.
c) Balance good quality yin hormones. *Environmental estrogen (xenoestrogens) found in food and self care products can disrupt quality yin.
- Spotting and/or thin:
a) Tonify (strengthen) spleen and kidney yang.
b) Regulate liver qi to gently move blood and/or nourish liver blood.
c) Nourish kidney yin and blood to balance quantity of yin hormones.
- Short: Nourish blood, tonify yang.
- Watery: Tonify spleen, kidney, and drain damp.
- Diarrhea: Tonify spleen and kidney yang.
PHASE 2 (POST MENSES + PRE-OVULATION): NOURISH BLOOD & YIN HORMONES
- Dizziness and fatigue post-menses. Strengthen the spleen, nourish liver blood, and kidney yin to replenish blood, fluid, and tissue that was sloughed off in phase 1.
- Open the conception vessel (ren mai) to nourish yin hormones and to regulate qi and blood pre-ovulation.
PHASE 3 (OVULATION): TONIFY THE KIDNEYS, YANG ENERGY, & INVIGORATE QI
- Pain during ovulation. Resolve damp-phlegm in lower jiao, tonify spleen and kidney.
- Lack of ovulation. Tonify kidney and nourish essence.
- Open the governing vessel (du mai). Tonify yang energy to promote movement and to warm the uterus and meridians, which facilitates ovulation and conception.
PHASE 4 (PRE MENSES): SOOTHE LIV QI, MAINTAIN YANG ENERGY, & CALM THE MIND
- If period is usually early.
Regulate spleen, liver, and kidney.
a) Soothe liver qi.
b) Tonify spleen yang qi to hold blood.
c) Cool blood and resolve blood stasis.
d) Nourish kidney yin or firm kidney qi.
- If period is typically late:
Regulate spleen, liver, and kidney.
a) Invigorate qi and warm the uterus.
b) Nourish blood.
c) Tonify kidney yang.
- Alternating between early and late.
a) Tonify spleen to hold blood in blood vessels and/or to produce blood.
b) Soothe liver qi and blood (emotions affect liver and smooth flow of qi and blood).
c) Nourish liver and kidney yin.
- Soothe liver qi to prevent cramping and headache prior to period and to prevent additional PMS signs and symptoms. If bloating is present move liver qi and tonify spleen.
- Harmonize the penetrating vessel (chong mai) to regulate qi and blood, counter-flow qi (anxiety and digestive symptoms prior to period), the uterus, and to nourish blood pre menses.
- Open the girdling vessel (dai mai) to open and relax energy in the hips, which helps prevent cramping.
Balance Your Menstrual Cycle With Acupuncture
PCOS | How Acupuncture Can Help
Chinese Medicine For PMS
Acupuncture For Stress & Anxiety
Nutritional Cycling For Hormone Health
What Your Period Tells You About Your Health
Circadian Rhythm For Hormone Balancing
If you’re interested in acupuncture for menstrual health I’d be happy to guide you along! Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
In health & happiness,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC