Chinese Medicine has a rich history in treating and preventing women’s health conditions. In addition to treating many general types of pain, we help with a variety of issues specific to women’s health including, but not limited to chronic hormonal imbalances, menstrual irregularities, painful periods, premenstrual syndrome, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), heavy bleeding, endometriosis, amenorrhea, and more.
From puberty to menopause, women undergo waves of hormonal changes and require a myriad of support throughout. Here are some common women’s health imbalances that we can help support and optimize.
Is your period missing in action? There are many reasons why you may not be getting your period at all. Amenorrhea can be related to nutritional deficiencies, PCOS, over-exercising, and general hormonal imbalances. Each case is specific, so we provide customized treatments to help you begin ovulating and experiencing regular cycles. We also often suggest some dietary and lifestyle changes in conjunction with your treatments.
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of pelvic pain and an ailment that Dr. Iona is all too familiar with. It can affect your ability to conceive, can also be debilitating, and may cause uncomfortable, heavy, or irregular periods. Sometimes there are no symptoms associated with endo and it is discovered just when a patient seeks treatment for infertility. Our goal at Healing Points is to improve blood circulation, clear inflammation, relieve pain, and treat any underlying conditions that may be associated with a patient’s endometriosis. Specific dietary changes to reduce inflammation and symptoms associated with endometriosis may also be recommended.
Proper nourishment, lack of sleep, and stress-filled lifestyles can easily and quickly wreak havoc on women’s hormones in multiple ways. Stress can lead to chemical changes in our bodies, and divert blood away from organs, including those in the reproductive system. Since many hormones are dependent upon one another to maintain balance, over time, too much stress can lead to imbalances in reproductive hormones, potentially affecting fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to offset the effects of stress and increase blood flow.
Chinese medicine considers a regular menstrual flow to be an important sign of good health. Still, for many women, periods that come irregularly each month are quite common. Irregular periods can make it difficult to conceive. However, even if you are not trying to have a baby, inconsistency is indicative of hormonal imbalances that result in fluctuations month to month (which can be annoying, to say the least). Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can balance hormones, restore a rhythm, and encourage more predictable ovulation.
Hot flashes, joint pain, moody roller coasters – the joy of “The Change.” In addition to the end of childbearing years and hormonal swings, many changes to women’s nervous systems take place. Even the brain is being rewired. According to the wisdom of Chinese medicine, this time of life is viewed as the Second Spring. One randomized, controlled trial showed that “a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with a significant reduction in VMS (vasomotor symptoms, which include hot flashes and night sweats), as well as several quality-of-life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.” This makes acupuncture a realistic and successful option for women who cannot or do not wish to use hormone therapy. At Healing Points, we employ a combination of acupuncture, herbal remedies, dietary adjustments, bodywork, and other tools to help relieve menopausal symptoms.
Almost 10% of women have an ovarian cyst at some point in their life. Ovarian cysts are primarily caused by hormonal imbalance, endometriosis, or just form naturally. They can be painful and interfere with your ability to conceive. Other symptoms may include bloating, weight gain, bathroom complications, heavy or irregular bleeding, and painful periods. Chinese herbs along with acupuncture can help to reduce or eliminate ovarian cysts by restoring balance and treating any underlying causes.
Acupuncture points correspond to deep-seated nerves, which is why it has been credited for easing a wide range of pregnancy symptoms including nausea, low-back, pelvic pain, insomnia, heartburn, edema, constipation, sciatica, depression, and more. Support during pregnancy can also address increased fetal activity, which in turn can help reposition a baby from a breech position into a more delivery-friendly heads-down position.
From the time women first get their period they are told to expect pain and discomfort and live with it. The truth is that while the symptoms of PMS – pain, moodiness, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, melancholy, acne, insomnia, gas, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, fatigue, shall we go on? – are common, they should not be accepted as “normal.” Signs of PMS are hormonal imbalances. What exactly does that mean? In Chinese medicine, PMS symptoms are related to liver qi stagnation. Stress and fatigue cause qi and blood to idle and as a result, the liver functions sluggishly resulting in rough hormonal transitions. Acupuncture to move qi combined with tailored natural herbal formulas can help restore hormone balance gently and safely.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
An estimated 10% of women have been diagnosed with PCOS and it is the single most common hormonal cause of infertility. In PCOS, hormonal dysfunction results in the ovaries not being able to fully mature an egg. Some of the semi-developed follicles turn into little fluid-filled sacs known as cysts. As a result, ovulation may be either absent or inconsistent. To compound matters, the cysts produce androgens (both men’s and women’s bodies produce androgens in differing amounts, but excess amounts can pose a problem), which can also prevent ovulation, plus other virilizing effects. At Healing Points, we have found that a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and dietary recommendations can help treat patients who suffer from PCOS.
Acupuncture can also be an invaluable part of postpartum recovery. It may help with milk supply, pain relief, mood swings, anxiety and stress, healthy digestion, improved quality of sleep, skin issues, and post-surgical healing. And it also serves to recalibrate hormones as the body transitions from pregnancy through labor and delivery. For more information on how we can educate and offer healing support through the Fourth Trimester, read our blog post.
Stress and Aging
If you want to dig deeper to uncover issues that leave you feeling “off,” we can help you find ease and feel your best. We know that stress can greatly affect our minds and bodies, leading to a myriad of health issues ranging from digestive problems to chronic pain to fatigue…and that is just what is happening inside. Externally speaking, wrinkles, grey and thinning hair, and pale skin may show up as signs of an extremely stressed body. Because acupuncture has been proven to help decrease stress, it can also help to promote a younger, brighter, more energetic countenance. Cosmetically speaking, acupuncture can help to soften fine lines and wrinkles, reduce acne, increase collagen production, minimize age spots, and dark circles, and improve skin tone and color. You can read more about that here and here. In addition, we are here to work with your doctors or healthcare providers and offer an integrative approach to healing.
Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterus. They are often associated with heavy periods, cramping, bleeding, or spotting between periods, abdominal swelling, and sometimes pain during intercourse. However, they can also be present with no symptoms at all. As with other women’s issues, they can interfere with the ability to conceive. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and other therapeutic recommendations are utilized as effective treatments for shrinking fibroids, mitigating pain, or as an adjunctive treatment with Western medical interventions when fibroids present advanced in size.
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“Dr. Iona is extremely knowledgable, meticulous, and passionate about her work. She took a more thorough history than any medical doctor I have seen before even doing our first acupuncture session. I am an OB/GYN and am already referring patients to her who have chronic pain and inflammatory disorders that often do not respond well to traditional western medicine.”Jessica V.
“I am a retired board-certified holistic nurse. I've had the great professional pleasure to open integrated health centers within major tri-state hospitals. These programs were client centered with multiple practitioners from conventional medicine and alternative professional backgrounds.Joanne C.
I was so happy when Michelle Iona became my healing partner. She embodies an integrated approach to health and healing and has amazing credentials to ensure her best practice approach. Her expertise in Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbals integrates with her understanding of functional medicine, nutrition and dietary supplements.
She's really helped me get back on my feet physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Her warmth and engaging personality become the icing on the cake.”
“Dr.Iona is a wonderful healer, who listened to my concerns, addressed my issues and helped me to improve my overall well being. While I went to her to address specific issues, I noticed improvement in other areas that needed a boost! I HIGHLY recommend her!”Lanes
“I am beyond grateful for Dr. Iona’s kindness, care, and expertise. She is a true healer with a genuine desire to improve the well-being of her patients. I have struggled with anxiety for several years and nothing has helped as much as acupuncture has. After every appointment, I feel renewed and at ease. Dr. Iona not only takes the time to discuss my symptoms, but also my lifestyle and challenges. She is very easy to talk to and her integrative approach to healing has brought me so much relief. I strongly encourage anyone interested in acupuncture to book an appointment with her! It is the best investment I’ve made in my health.”Joanna P.