How Acupuncture Saved One Woman's "Mom Bod"

There’s nothing more beautiful and precious than bringing a new life into the world. But pregnancy can of course also be a physical burden on mothers, the incredible changes that the body goes through causing all sorts of aches and pains all over.

Caitlyn Doenges always suffered from back pain, and it only got worse when she was carrying her first child. Once her daughter was born, Caitlyn expected her pain to get better. Now that she wasn’t pregnant, wouldn’t her back have less strain on it? However Caitlyn soon realized that her baby brought many more physical challenges—holding the growing child, pushing her in a stroller, taking her in and out of car seats, etc. The day-to-day rigors of child care include lots of stretching, reaching, and straining—for someone who has a history of back pain, raising a child can often make it even worse. Eventually, Caitlyn’s pain took an even worse turn.

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“All of this combined with my already bad back led to the herniation of a disc in my lower back,” she wrote. “The pain from this herniation radiated all the way down my leg and caused such severe nerve damage that three years later, a large part of my leg is still numb. I had to do something to get better.”

That something, for Caitlyn, wasn’t surgery or medications, both options she could have taken. Instead, she went down a holistic path that she had previously known nothing about: acupuncture.

Caitlyn initially was treated three times a week for the first few months, then eventually went down to at least once a week continuously for the past three years. Now that Caitlyn has two children, she certainly is doing plenty of lifting and stretching and pulling – but she’s living a much more comfortable and pain-free life. 

“Those tiny little needles have saved my mom body by allowing me to put away the pain meds and focus on being present with my kids.”

 

 

Acupuncture and Hot Flashes

Until you experience one for yourself, it’s hard to accurately describe. Intense heat sensation and sweatiness followed by an equally unsettling chill—across the entire body. It can last a few minutes or more, and then once you think it’s all over, the pattern starts up again. That’s right, we’re talking about hot flashes. And despite what you may have heard, women can experience this unfortunate phenomenon before they experience menopause. If you can bear to imagine it, the combination of cramps and hot flashes is a possibility for many women.

That’s what happened to Lisa Montrose, who started getting hot flashes at the age of 47. She tried supplements that claimed to help with the symptoms, but none worked. That’s when Lisa decided to give acupuncture a shot. Why? As Montrose mentions, Western medicine often addresses symptoms while Eastern techniques address root causes by balancing the energy flowing through the body.

Describing her first treatment, Montrose says, “A few minutes and 18 needles later, Phyllis was done. She told me to breathe steadily and that she'd be back soon to check on me. At first I lay there stiff and unmoving, despite the dim lighting and spa music. Then my body started to release and my mind calmed; I was no longer on a treatment table but instead drifting on a quiet sea.”

Then, the kicker: “And here's the thing: The hot flashes stopped that day. That day. I didn't understand how it worked, but my around-the-clock heat waves were gone.”

Montrose continued her acupuncture treatment consistently, about every two weeks. She says that after six months or so her hot flashes returned, but they were much milder than they used to be and occurred less frequently.

While it’s important to note that extensive studies haven’t been done on acupuncture as a treatment for the symptoms of hot flashes, we do know that balancing the energy in our bodies leads to incredible things.

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Got PMS? Try Acupuncture

Many women know it all too well: the cyclical bloating, breakouts, cravings and yes, mood swings that strike right around the time your monthly period is due. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, or PMS for short, is a series of symptoms women feel due to the strong hormone fluctuations they experience with their menses.

According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, “Several million women report painful periods, cramps, and PMS that can disrupt life for 7-10 days each month,” with common symptoms include and ranging from bloating, headache, acne, and irritability or severe mood swings.

To help ease these symptoms, a healthful diet, exercise, medicinal herbs, and acupuncture are recommended as they, “can all be used to better regulate these hormonal fluctuations.”

As a form of natural relief, the article explains that, “Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) analyze the flow of energy, or qi, and blood in each patient as a means of identifying imbalances that are to blame for their diseases or medical conditions. Cramping associated with the menstrual cycle or menopause is often due to the stagnation of qi.” Additionally, a deficiency in quality qi or blood flow can also lead to chronic pain.

The most common acupuncture point for PMS is along the liver meridian, or Liver Qi, which is believed to be integral to the overall flow of energy, life force, through the body. By stimulating this point, stagnant blood can be combated, which can ultimately lead to pain relief and restoration of balance.  

The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine states, “While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has no official stance on the efficacy of acupuncture on PMS, many of the professional members recognize that acupuncture helps to regulate our endorphins and other biochemistry.”

In other words, it quite literally can’t hurt to give acupuncture a try in an effort to help combat when PMS rears its ugly head.