Many of the health obstacles women face are often preventable. Asian medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives. Many health issues women face respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to address many health issues faced by women, particularly regarding topnotch pregnancy care and postpartum recovery. Taking small steps to improve your health can make a big difference.
The top health concerns affecting women and how acupuncture can help are:
Did you know that women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men? Recent statistics show significant differences between men and women survival following a heart attack. For example, 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year compared with 24% of men. The reasons for these differences are not well understood, but what we do know is that women tend to get heart disease about 10 years later in life than men do. Women are also more likely to have coexisting chronic conditions. Research shows that women may not be diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men, and women's symptoms may be very different from those of men who are having a heart attack.
As the number one threat to women's health, cardiovascular disease is not just a man's disease. In women, the condition is responsible for about 29% of deaths, reports the CDC. Although more men die of heart disease than women, females tend to be under diagnosed, often to the point that it's too late to help them once the condition is discovered. By integrating acupuncture and Asian medicine into your heart healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as eighty percent.
Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, reducing stress and improved sleep - all of which can be helped with acupuncture and Asian medicine. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of opioids, which causes a decrease in the heart's activity and its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
Also, more women than men suffer a stroke each year. Risk factors that are unique to women are:
- Taking birth control pills;
- Being pregnant;
- Using hormone replacement therapy, a combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen designed to relieve menopausal symptoms;
- Having frequent migraine headaches; and
- Having a thick waist (larger than 35.2 inches), particularly if post-menopausal and having high triglyceride (blood fat) levels
Acupuncture and Asian medicine can help control many of these risk factors.
There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. The three most common cancers among women are breast, lung and colorectal cancer. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in women it is second in the leading cause of cancer death. Early detection screenings and recommended self examinations should be taken seriously.
Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery, and improving overall quality of life.
From a preventive approach Asian medicine works to restore imbalances in the system with a variety of treatment modalities including acupuncture, herbal therapy, tui na, qi gong in addition to food, exercise and lifestyle suggestions. Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year serve to tonify the inner organ systems and correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.
Characterized by a decrease in bone mass and an increased likelihood of fractures osteoporosis is not simply a calcium deficiency. As a complex living tissue, bone is made of many different components and is influenced by many variables including the body's use of calcium from the bone to balance pH levels in the blood. Osteoporosis threatens 44 million Americans, of which 68% are women, reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Osteoporosis is largely preventable and the behaviors that women develop in their childhood, in their adolescence, and in their early adult years a significant role in the development of the disease. That's because bodies build up most of bone mass until age 30. Then new bone stops forming and the focus switches to the maintenance of old bone.
Acupuncture and Asian medicine coupled with a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, have much to offer in improving the quality of life for those who suffer from bone and joint problems.
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Depressive disorders affect 10%-25% of women at some point in their lives. Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men. The body's immune system is compromised and symptoms reduce functioning, impair work performance and social relationships. Common symptoms of depressive disorders include: a decreased interest in most activities, insomnia, fatigue, and feeling empty and worthless. At its worst, hopelessness sets in and suicide becomes a desperate option for approximately 15% of people who suffer from severe depressive disorders.
Women are more likely to report having stress, and almost 50% of all women in the survey, compared with 39% of the men, reported that their stress had increased over the past 5 years. Stress can reduce a woman's chance of becoming pregnant and make conceiving less likely, according to a 2010 study.
Asian medicine does not view people as a collection of segmented parts to be treated independently but rather addresses the link between the body, spirit and mind. The goal of Asian medicine is to bring all the human systems into a healthy balance, insuring that both the mind and body feel well and when used in conjunction with psychotherapy acupuncture has a positive and holistic effect on depressed patients. If you suffer from depression, consider acupuncture therapy in conjunction with your treatment plan to regain peace of mind, regulate your immune system and stay healthy.
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than 80 serious chronic illnesses in this category, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), about 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women. Individually, each disease appears uncommon with the exception of diabetes, thyroid disease, and lupus however as a group, the disorders make up the fourth-largest cause of disability among American women.
Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture and Asian medicine are specifically noted for use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.
Menopause and Gynecological Health
Gynecological conditions including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), fibroids, endometriosis, and infertility along with menopause are some of the most successfully treated problems by acupuncture and Asian medicine. Asian medicine has long recognized that health and vitality can be sustained over a woman's lifetime by restoring balance within the body and supporting the natural production of essential hormones.
Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman's body. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain. Menopause patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight, stabilize blood sugar, and eliminate stress, tension and anxiety or learn new techniques to cope with them to diminish the effects they have.
Asian medicine does not recognize menopause as one particular syndrome and aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 women are treated each will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.
With support from Acupuncture and Asian Medicine along with small changes in lifestyle and diet, menopause can be a time of a revival of vital energy and an opportunity for personal growth
Many celebrities, including Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Natalie Portman, incorporated acupuncture treatments to ease the stress of pregnancy and ensure smooth birth of their babies.
More About Women's Health
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States and affects almost 27 million people. It also happens to affect more women than men.
Did you know that women who abuse alcohol are an an increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, and fetal alcohol syndrome, in which infants born to mothers who drank during pregnancy suffer brain damage and learning difficulties? Unsafe consumption of alcohol can be effectively controlled with the use of acupuncture and Asian medicine.