Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is able to understand endometriosis based on the differential clinical manifestations associated with each individual. It is important in TCM to diagnose the patient according to their own specific pattern. Each individual has a pattern that marks the foundation and progression of the disorder.

When determining the pattern of disease in the treatment of endometriosis, TCM takes into account the menstrual history, duration of the cycle, as well as pain, including the time that it occurs, the location, and the nature and severity. In TCM theory, there are several disease-causing factors including blood stagnation, energy stagnation and deficiency, as well as cold and heat conditions that can lead to endometriosis.

The origin of the pattern differs according to the individual. Other factors that are taken into consideration when determining the pattern for endometriosis include: emotional stress, anxiety, constitutional weakness, surgical history, exposure to cold temperatures especially during menstruation, diet, chronic illness or weakness, or a history of genital infections. Acupuncture points and herbal formulas are chosen in accordance to the individual’s TCM diagnosis and can vary from person to person. The acupuncture points commonly used in the treatment of endometriosis can be located on the ears, abdomen, wrists, feet, legs, and back. Needles are usually retained for 20 to 30 minutes. Prescribed herbal formulas vary from person to person. The acupuncture points and herbs chosen help to facilitate the free flow of energy throughout the body. Some of the points and herbs are used to move blood, break up stagnation and stop pain. Each point and herb selected has its own therapeutic importance in the treatment of endometriosis depending on the TCM diagnosis of the individual.

In a study published in the December 2002 issue of The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, researchers selected 67 women diagnosed with dysmenorrhea (painful periods) due to endometriosis. Half of this group received ear acupuncture. It was reported that 81% of these women had less painful periods after receiving the acupuncture treatments. Researchers speculate that acupuncture promotes blood circulation and regulates the endocrine system. They also suggest that acupuncture could act as an analgesic by elevating levels of endorphins in the blood.

Traditional Chinese medicine can treat a wide range of health concerns and has been used effectively throughout the world in treating many women’s health conditions. TCM can also be used a preventative treatment to help maintain optimum health. If you suffer from endometriosis acupuncture and herbs may benefit you.