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Acupuncture and Women’s Health

My first experience with acupuncture was quietly watching my Mom receive treatment for weight loss. I was 9, maybe 10? It seemed incredible to me then that so many needles could be inserted into someone while they looked completely relaxed. When I think of needles I think of shots and no one finds those relaxing. Later in my early 20’s I suffered a painful pinched nerve in my neck that prohibited me from turning my head or even laying down. Determined not to wait days to see my GP who would likely prescribe a muscle relaxer and pain meds I called a local acupuncturist for help. After 2 treatments my pain was gone and I was back to leading a normal life without all the side effects from medication. It was a pain free process and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at one point.

Fast forward to my mid thirties when I was going through IVF treatment. Wanting to increase my odds of conceiving as much as possible I would have attempted every physical challenge from the T.V. show Survivor if someone told me it would improve my chances of getting pregnant. Fortunately it turned out to be much easier than that. I saw Dr. Rubio before and immediately after my embryo transfer. Looking back on that time acupuncture helped ease my nerves. It gave me confidence that I was doing everything I could possibly do, which in turn made me feel like I regained some control. I didn’t become pregnant right away but I did learn that complementary medicine is capable of treating a myriad of health conditions. It offers benefits to women who may otherwise be treated merely by their symptoms with Western Medicine rather than addressing the root of the problem. The best part is a qualified acupuncturist will work with your doctor to give you the best treatment plan.

We have all been there right? Trying to describe some condition, ache, pain or concern to your Doctor and feeling somewhat dismissed or leaving with a prescription but not really feeling like your Doctor heard what you were saying. This blog is not an attack on Western medicine and it’s certainly not an attack on Doctors. I think they do the best they can but in general they have a different approach.

Chinese medicine has been practiced for over 4,000 years. The main difference from modern Western medicine is in the approach to treatment. I spoke with Dr. Ray Rubio of Westlake Complementary Medicine for more in depth information on how he treats women’s health issues. He began by explaining the philosophy behind Chinese medicine is to treat the root of the issue rather than the branch [symptom].

• Menstruation – If you suffer from endometriosis, painful periods, fibroids or irregular cycles it is crucial to figure out why your body is out of balance. Treatment usually involves acupuncture in combination with herbal supplements. Lifestyle changes may be suggested. Typically your treatment plan would require you to be seen 1 to 2 times per week for 6 weeks and up to 3 months depending on your condition.

• Infertility – If you have been unable to conceive, had recurrent miscarriage, ovulatory disorders, PCOS, hormone imbalance and/or male factor infertility then you will be relieved to hear that fertility acupuncture has proven success in treating these conditions. Your acupuncturist should work closely with your Reproductive Endocrinologist to create an individualized treatment plan.

• Pregnancy – Often times very frustrating because pregnant and nursing mothers are so limited in what medications they can take to relieve uncomfortable symptoms like nausea and back pain to more concerning conditions like preeclampsia, placenta previa, insufficient amniotic fluid and over due babies. There is reliable evidence that acupuncture will relieve and even correct these problems.

• Menopause – The final phase of a woman’s reproductive life cycle may also be one of the most under represented in health care. Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and weight gain are a few of the common symptoms that affect women during this stage. Regaining an internal balance with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal supplements can offer relief without the adverse side effects of medication.

Can any acupuncturist treat you? As in Western medicine you wouldn’t go see a General Practitioner to treat infertility. Much like board certification for Western Medical doctors, it is of the utmost importance to seek out a doctor that is qualified to meet your needs. The ABORM (American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine) certifies practitioners who have advanced knowledge and experience in the field of reproductive health. Members pass a rigorous exam and remain in good standing by completing continuing education. For a list of acupuncturists in our directory, click here. For more information on how acupuncture can treat infertility, visit Dr. Rubio’s website,

About This Blogger: Ciara Polikretis
Ciara is a Doula, entrepreneur and champion for women. She received her degree in Communications from Baylor University. She strives to keep learning and growing by taking photography classes, improving her sewing skills, traveling to kid friendly destinations and reading something with actual pages. She continues to remind herself that a spotless house doesn’t make her a better person and loves surrounding herself with smart, witty and creative women to keep her grounded and inspired. She is good at accepting constructive criticism but terrible at directions. Ciara lives in permanently sunny Los Angeles with her husband, daughter and French Bulldog.