Although acupuncture may not seem like a logical choice for hormonal imbalances, it may have some benefits. Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, that involves inserting thin needles into specific points of your body. The points correspond to different organs whose energy runs along channels called meridians. According to TCM theory, stimulating points may help restore healthy balance to your body. Talk to your doctor about acupuncture; find a qualified Chinese practitioner to discuss your hormonal balance.
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Hormones play a large role in a vast array of functions in your body, including metabolism, reproduction and sleep-wake cycles. According to western medical science, hormones are secreted by glands in your brain and body, such as the pituitary and adrenal glands. They travel via blood to various cells to perform their tasks. Although much emphasis is placed on sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, thyroid and adrenal hormones are just as crucial to optimal health.
Acupuncture.com states that Chinese medicine considers hormones to be a part of an individual's jing, or essence. You are born with a certain amount of life force, or essence, which is stored in your kidneys, and used throughout your lifetime to nourish cells, tissues and organs. Jing is the root of yin, which encompasses blood and fluids, and yang, which includes energy and warmth. According to the website, when essence depletes, you can experience symptoms similar to those of hormonal imbalances, such as menopause or impotence. Chinese medicine treatments focus on points that can restore essence; organs like the kidneys and the liver are also involved in hormone balance.
In "A Manual of Acupuncture" by Peter Deadman, the kidney is described as being the source of life in your body. It stores your essence and dominates reproduction, growth and development. Because Western medicine believes hormones to play a large role in these processes, your Chinese practitioner may include kidney acupuncture points in your hormone-balancing treatment. In March 2010 the "Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine" featured a study that investigated the effects of specific acupuncture point stimulation on the reproductive hormone gonadotropin-releasing hormone. The study found that the kidney's energy line, or meridian, played a role in stimulating the release of this hormone; kidney point 10 had a significant effect on release.
The liver and gallbladder are a yin-yang pair, according to Chinese medicine theory. As the yin organ, the liver stores and holds blood and governs a woman's menstrual cycle; the gallbladder excretes -- a yang action -- bile for the breakdown of food. The study in the "Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine" also lists gallbladder and liver points as actively stimulating release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone. Gallbladder points 26 and 34 as well as liver point 14 were listed.
Although not related to organs in your body, the ren and du channels are important nonetheless. The ren channel is also called the conception vessel, according to Deadman's book, whose points work to harmonize disorders in their local area. The channel runs along the midline of the front of the body, and is often used to treat infertility of men and women, and aid in menopausal complaints. The du channel, known as the governing vessel, flows along the midline of the back of the body; "A Manual of Acupuncture" states that it mediates between the brain and the heart. In terms of reproductive hormone stimulation, conception vessel points four and 17 were listed in the study in "Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine," along with governing vessel three.
- Acupuncture: Hormone Balance
- PubMed.gov: Experimental study on acupuncture activating the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons in hypothalamus
- "A Manual of Acupuncture;" P. Deadman and M. Al-Khafaji; 2001