Specially for Women: Acupuncture Improves Quality of Life
Everyone wants to be healthy in order to enjoy a sense of well-being and have the best quality of life possible. Acupuncture and alternative medicine has always focused on individual health plans based on your specific needs. However, women are more susceptible than men to certain health conditions, which can make it more challenging to achieve optimal health. Fortunately, many health issues women face respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments.
Several conditions that impact women more frequently than men include:
Cardiovascular Disease: As the number one threat to women’s health, cardiovascular disease is not just a man’s disease. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases, causing 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year. They also state that women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors, with fewer women than men surviving their first heart attack. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Depression: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that women are twice as likely to experience depression as men, and one in eight will contend with major depression during their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most commonly reported mental health problem among women.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): Four times as many women as men develop chronic fatigue syndrome. This challenging syndrome may respond well to a treatment plan that includes acupuncture.
When we are unable to do our basic daily activities, we may need more rest. For those with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rest doesn’t help. Sufferers may feel tired for more than six months and experience reduced memory, insomnia or a wide range of other symptoms, including, but not limited to, headaches, flu-like symptoms and chronic generalized pain. Contributing factors can include severe stress or trauma, a history of infection, and exposure to toxins.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Women are 2 to 6 times more likely to develop IBS. Acupuncture points can help relieve IBS symptoms, according to researchers from the University of York in the U.K., who found that integrating acupuncture into a treatment plan led to less severe symptoms.
Autoimmune Diseases: According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), about 75 percent of autoimmune diseases occur in women. As a group, these diseases make up the fourth largest cause of health-related disability among American women. Acupuncture has a long history of helping to balance the body this is important when dealing with autoimmune issues since these are caused by the body’s inability to self-regulate.
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, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture is specifically noted for use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms, and improving overall quality of life.
Some specific autoimmune diseases that affect women disproportionately more than men include:
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Nearly half a million Americans have multiple sclerosis, and of that group two-thirds are women. According to the American Academy of Neurology, women with MS are more likely to carry the gene associated with the disease, and are more likely to transfer the gene to their female offspring.
A progressive disease wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective wrapper on nerve cells, known as myelin. As the damage accumulates, the brain and body communicate less well. Individuals may experience symptoms that include a loss of coordination, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling, dizziness, blurred vision, and paralysis. Acupuncture can help restore balance and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups ultimately improving quality of life.
Lupus: Ninety percent of all lupus patients are female. Lupus has no known cause. Some scientists believe it may be hereditary and caused by a combination of factors, including hormones, stress, environmental toxins, sunlight, exposure to fluorescent light, and some medications. Others attribute feel it might be a reaction to a virus that has yet to be identified.
Lupus involves an overactive immune system that fights unnecessarily and can injure the skin, joints, organs (heart, kidneys, and lungs), and the brain. Symptoms may include red facial rashes, sore joints, abdominal pain, severe chronic fatigue, memory problems, and scalp hair loss.
While every lupus patient may present symptoms differently, Oriental medicine views lupus as a reflection of toxic heat. Good health requires balanced yin and yang, which reflect cold and heat, respectively. While yin and yang both nourish and restrain each other, yang tends to multiply (or worsen) more quickly, whereas yin is slower to change. Having more estrogen than testosterone, women are more yin and vulnerable to yang conditions.
In a small study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that by stimulating acupuncture points along the spine and on the four limbs, patients with lupus experienced less pain. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help clear heat and nourish yin. Combined with exercise and reducing stress, these modalities can work double-duty towards improving your overall health and reducing the likelihood of a lupus outbreak.
Celiac Disease: An autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system due to an adverse reaction to gluten, 60 to 70 percent of celiac disease patients are women. These women suffer from their body’s inability to digest gluten.
In patients with celiac disease, the small intestine becomes damaged and cannot absorb nutrients efficiently. Celiac disease may also cause fatigue, bone disorders, fertility problems, and skin rashes.
Treatment of celiac disease typically revolves around symptom management and dietary changes. Any products known to contain gluten (bread, pasta, processed foods, vitamins, and even cosmetics) may trigger symptoms and should be avoided.
From an acupuncture and alternative medicine perspective, a health problem is never just in the body or in the mind. Whether an imbalance or disharmony began as a physiological or spiritual issue, ultimately, all aspects of the body are affected. Humans are a delicate balance of body and mind. Emotional stress is just as real as physical stress causing the same reaction in your body.
We know that all health problems are caused by imbalance and disharmony. When we are out of balance, we may experience digestive upset, unclear thinking, habitual fatigue, muscle weakness or discomfort, and insufficient elimination. Acupuncture can help relieve many of the symptoms caused by these and other diseases. Acupuncture is exceptional for relieving aches and pains. Acupuncture helps to maintain balance in your body to avoid getting sick and recovering more quickly when you do get sick. Acupuncture improves vitality and stamina. Allowing you to do the things you love to do and enjoy your life.
If you or someone you know are struggling with any of the issues discussed in this newsletter, or you would like to improve your quality of life.
Call us (401-397-6333) today to find out more about how acupuncture and alternative medicine can be integrated into your wellness plan.