Acupuncture: Not Just Needles
Ever wonder about Acupuncture and how it might affect your Endo symptoms? I know I did, especially after hearing about other Endo Sisters seeking relief from these tiny needles and seeing great results.
Well, I went straight to the source for you ladies and tried it out for myself and here’s what I’ve learned:
What is Acupuncture anyway?
Acupuncture is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and ancient Asian healing practices. It involves the insertion of micro-fine needles into the surface of the skin and various points that run along meridians of the body. These points are thought to stimulate nerves, muscle fibers, and circulation to promote healing, anti-inflammation and overall homeostasis in the body. Acupuncture is usually used in conjunction with a regimen of supplements and other herbal remedies. Also, depending on your practitioner and your needs you may receive other therapeutic treatments such as massage, TENS stimulation, or heat therapy during your acupuncture sessions.
What does it feel like?
For me, the needles are virtually painless. When the needle is first tapped into the skin I tend to feel a slight pinch and a warming sensation, especially in the point
s on my ears and lower legs. However, once the needles are in I generally don’t feel them at all. As for the treatment session, if I am in a relaxed state and just focusing on the moment I sometimes feel a warming and light tingling sensation around the points that I have needles inserted into. Sometimes my acupuncturist will also use a TENS machine at my puncture points and that feels like gentle vibrations. There is nothing scary or painful about acupuncture! In fact, I usually feel less pain when I leave my session!
Do the needles make you bleed or bruise?
Sometimes the needles will leave small bruises on my skin, especially if its a point that hasn’t been used before. But these bruises aren’t painful and generally go away within a day or so. As for bleeding from the needles, that has also only happened to me on a few occasions. If I’m going to bleed from any of the puncture points its usually one of the ones in my ear or hand and my acupuncturist and I have found that I only ever see bleeding if I have taken an anti-inflammatory (such as Motrin or Naproxen) within a few hours of the session. And even then the bleeding is minimal and stops within a few seconds. I never leave a acupuncture session with serious wounds!
Does it actually help Endometriosis?
This, for me, was the most important question I was wondering about. So…does it? The answer is not so simple. And although I’m sure all you Endo Warriors know this already, there is no cure for endometriosis and acupuncture will not cure your disease, but what it can do is minimize your symptoms and perhaps lower your day to day pain. I have been going to acupuncture twice a week for almost two months and experienced two menstrual cycles while on my treatment plan. I can honestly say that with my consistent session schedule and the supplements my practitioner has recommended I take that I have seen a remarkable decrease in my day-to-day symptoms. I have also seen a difference in the first menstrual cycle I had at the beginning of my acupuncture journey and the one I had most recently…my cramps were less severe, I slept better, and the intense pain lasted a whole day shorter than it had before. So, the short answer is Yes! Acupuncture can help with the symptoms of endometriosis in some women. For me, I have found it to be a positive investment in my time, money, and health.
How much does it cost? Will insurance cover it?
The cost of acupuncture will vary by where you live and the acupuncturist that you see. Many insurance companies do provide coverage for acupuncture services. I was able to visit the website for my health insurance to find out that my coverage for acupuncture was virtually the same as my coverage is for regular doctors’s visits. In my opinion, if it works to minimize my endo pain, even by a little bit, it’s 100% worth it.
So, Endo Warriors I will leave you with this: Endometriosis is just as unique as each of us is, so what works for one may not work for the other, but I believe that if you do your research and have even some sense of optimism about a treatment option you should give it a try! And that’s exactly how I approached acupuncture, and I am SO glad that I did, it literally has changed my life. Don’t ever be afraid to be an advocate for yourself and ask all the questions that you need answers to when it comes to making you feel healthy and the best version of you.
Have more questions about acupuncture and my experiences? Reach out to me here on the blog, on our Endo Tribe Instagram (@endotribe) or on my personal Instagram (@brittanyaharrison). Can’t wait to connect and share the endo love!
Stay Positive Endo Warriors,