Can Acupuncture help Pelvic Pain?

Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been used for women’s hormone health for over 2000 years. These days we work on creating a marked change in symptoms by re-balancing hormones via decreasing the body’s heightened stress response & improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which further helps manage pain.

Acupuncture is increasingly being sought after to reduce chronic pelvic pain, and studies back this up, showing Acupuncture’s acceleration of the nervous system response to produce endogenous opioid peptides & achieve peripheral analgesia.

We’re currently seeing a notable increase in research coming out around pelvic pain associated to period pain and/or Endometriosis; an Australian 2017 clinical trial by Armour et al. found ‘Acupuncture treatment reduced menstrual pain intensity and duration after three months of treatment and this was sustained for up to one year after trial entry’. Acupuncture has also been shown to be more effective than hormone drug therapy for endometriosis & in addition to this, a meta-analysis of Acupuncture effects on Endometriosis related pain found that while more studies are needed in this under-represented area, a reduction was found in both pain and in CA-125; a marker associated with Endometriosis. Everyone’s case is different, and treatment frequency varies based on a variety of factors, however a higher frequency of treatments during the first few cycles in women is common.

 

Pelvic pain can however impact both men and women, and ranges in severity and duration. Most typically, men may experience pelvic pain in relation to prostatitis, while women are more likely to experience pelvic pain due to their menstrual cycles or endometriosis pain.

In managing any type of chronic pelvic pain, we first look at symptom progression, including whether there is an change in pain during stress, sex, menstrual cycle where relevant, or other activities. Acupuncture treatments are safe to start before any other investigations are made, however we may advise you to seek out additional care if required. Acupuncture treatments for pelvic pain look towards a well-rounded approach; combining constitutional factors alongside variables such as sleep, food and stressors, in order to create a personalised Acupuncture prescription. From here we also monitor any changes or reductions in severity and duration of pain & may prescribe herbal formula/advice on supplements to best assist.

References

Armour M, Dahlen HG, Zhu X, Farquhar C, Smith CA (2017) The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0180177. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180177

Acupuncture versus sham acupuncture for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain.

Lee SW, Liong ML, Yuen KH, Leong WS, Chee C, Cheah PY, Choong WP, Wu Y, Khan N, Choong WL, Yap HW, Krieger JN

Am J Med. 2008 Jan; 121(1):79.e1-7.

Li QQ, Shi GX, Xu Q, Wang J, Liu CZ, Wang LP. Acupuncture effect and central autonomic regulation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:267959. doi: 10.1155/2013/267959. Epub 2013 May 26. PMID: 23762116; PMCID: PMC3677642.

Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Andersson SA, Wikland M, Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture, Human Reproduction, Volume 11, Issue 6, June 1996, Pages 1314–1317, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.humrep.a019378

Xu Y, Zhao W, Li T, Zhao Y, Bu H, Song S (2017) Effects of acupuncture for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0186616.

Motherhood and Shame

So often I hear in clinic the words mother and shame linked together. 

Stories of how women constantly feel shame around their mothering, their patterns in mothering and how no matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to change and find ease and grace in their day.

They don’t feel good enough as mothers.

They can’t hold consistent boundaries.

They can’t hold consistent anythings.

The shame and guilt kicks in.

It’s all so hard, it’s all so exhausting and there just seems to be no way out.

I get it.

I absolutely get it with all my heart.

I’m a mother.

And just because I work in this field, does not make me immune to those feelings.

I haven’t magically worked through all of my human feels, never to feel those feelings again.

But I have spent a long time working on my own shame in mothering. 

And in understanding it and releasing layers of it, I can now support other women in doing the same.

Sometimes we find ourselves so stuck.

With no growth happening.

We get frozen by our own shame.

Shame that was often instilled and planted back in early childhood.

Shame can be the silent, unacknowledged and even sometimes unconscious thing that holds us back from creating real lasting change in our lives.

It can be the thing that is keeping us stuck in our own self imposed prison of sameness.

As mothers we may find ourselves doing the same things over and over again.

Waking up in the morning promising ourselves we won’t yell at the kids today.

Or we won’t rush them out the door.

Or fob them off when they are coming to us for something they need. 

Or we will put those boundaries in place and say no when no is needed. 

We have so much well meaning.

And within an hour, we have fallen off the wagon.

Snapped at our child for spilling juice.

Yelled at the kids for taking too long to get dressed for school.

Numbed out to what the kids needed from us. 

Said yes to our kids when we really want to be saying no.

Or given in because it was just too grating on our nervous systems to hear the constant whinging.

And all the while watching ourselves as we do these things, knowing that we don’t want to be this way…..but not being able to stop ourselves as we fall back into a well worn cycle of guilt and shame. 

Not wanting to, but not knowing how to get out of the rut. 

It’s debilitating doing the same things over and over and wanting change so desperately it aches in our bones but then no matter what we try, we just keep catapulting back to the the same pattern

The same old habits.

Sometimes the habits change, but never the less they are still things in our life that we  feel we have no control over and there it is ….. that deep dark current underpinning it all.

Shame.

Shame to admit we are stuck.

Shame to admit that we tried and failed.

Shame to show people where we have gotten to and for how long we have been there.

Shame that we should know better.

Shame that we didn’t know better.

Shame that we don’t know how to help ourselves.

All of it, keeping us held and stuck in this cycle.

The common denominator here, this shame factor is a symptom of something more.

It’s symptomatic of knowing we don’t want to be doing the things we are, but not knowing how to stop.

The key here is first working with neutralising shame by understanding that you absolutely are stuck.

And this is evolutionary.

You are stuck in the same pattern by evolutionary human design.

Stay with me whilst I explain this a little further. 

Humans are prehistoric beings. 

Our brains and bodies still function at that level.

In order for our survival ( and survival of human species ), our main focus is safety.

Our subconscious brain and nervous systems are wired to scan for safety every minute of every day.

What promotes safety?

Sameness and consistency.

If we know what is coming then we can stay safe ( prehistorically keeping us alive. )

So logically whilst some of the patterns we are playing out in our mothering don’t serve us and we wish so desperately to change, on a subconscious level they will keep playing out because they are keeping us safe and are predictable.

Predictability = safety. 

In the language of evolution which is the language our body is foundationally speaking, that which is predictable is safer than that which is not.

So even though you may think you are living from your logic mind.

You aren’t.

You are absolutely living from the patterning and beliefs of your subconscious, in order to say safe, stay alive and keep the human species alive.

And this is why you may be playing out those patterns day in and day out.

Your subconscious prefers it that way.

You may be playing out old patterns that have been with you from childhood.

Playing out your parents patterns even. 

Because they are predictable to your subconscious mind.

And that is why they have been so hard to change.

So ultimately, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

It is actually what the brain and body is designed to do.

Until you are ABLE to start to make conscious changes. 

Changes of imprinting new safety in your body.

Which brings safety to change those patterns.

So how does knowing all of this help you change and shift patterns in your mothering? 

Well, first by understanding how you tick at a core level, and understanding why patterns are the way they are.

Second, by bringing what is subconscious ( or unknown to the logic mind ), to the front brain, your logic mind, so you actually know what you need to change.

And thirdly by working with your nervous system.

Your nervous system is the clever inbuilt survival system that absolutely dictates your every move.

In order to create change the nervous system needs to find a baseline of safety and calm. 

Often in life the nervous system is running at some level of stress (especially in motherhood). 

When it finds level of safety and calm, it can then start to allow the subconscious wounds, shadow parts of self, experiences, trauma, generational and familial patterning to come up, be acknowledged by your logical brain ( so you can see what and why you have been playing out these patterns ), be felt through the body and then be released.

Making way for new patterns to be formed and created and change to occur.

And then this starts to make way for a whole new way of being.

As a mother, as a woman and as a human in this world. 

We start to find freedom from our perceived stuckness and begin to meet parts of ourselves that we never knew existed. 

We can start to create a life on our terms and with flow, freeing ourselves from shame. 

So to round this up instead of looking at shame to be something “shameful” of, maybe we could look at it as a messenger.

When we feel shame we could see it as a sign that yes, our body is doing what it needs to do to be safe at an evolutionary level, but also that there is a part of us as mothers that are ready for change and growth.

And when we are changing and growing as mothers, this gives our children the permission to do the same for themselves.

When we are working on ourselves, it benefits not only us, but our whole family.

When we are free, so are our kids. 

We change the familial cycle that is passed from generation to generation.

We get to stop that cycle with us.

Yes, we are that powerful as mothers.

If any of this resonates with you, and you feel called to go deeper in learning more and working with your own subconscious patterning to see what you are holding in your body, you can book in with me for Intuitive Kinesiology and Energy Healing sessions on Mondays and Thursdays.

I welcome all shame with no judgement but as a tool we can use to empower you and catapult you into your growth and evolution at a conscious level.

I look forward to helping you find freedom and flow in your mothering journey.