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City Acupuncture's Blog

Premenstrual Disorder Explained By Acupuncture Theory

Posted by Rob Benhuri

May 20, 2015 2:11:01 PM

It's always amazed me that in high school we are forced to learn the ins and outs of every war fought in Europe, but we never really learn the basics of how our bodies work. 

A great example of this is PMS. Now granted, I was in the other room during sex ed class, but judging from what we learned about men's health there, I can safely assume you ladies didn't get any useful info either.

Here is premenstrual disorder or PMS explained through acupuncture theory.

In order to keep this article short and interesting I have focused on the most common cause. In reality, there are many acupuncture patterns of disharmony that can lead to the symptoms of PMS. If you have any questions or if you don't think the pattern I have described accurately fits your presentation click here to use our Ask an Acupuncturist form, a licensed acupuncturist will get back to you within 24 hours for FREE.

As you definitely know by now, the most common symptoms of premenstrual disorder include:

- Tension

- Anxiety

- Insomnia

- Mood Swings

- Appetite Changes

- Muscle Pain

- Headache

- Fatigue


Obviously, this is not a complete list, but you get the idea. 

In order to fully understand PMS from an acupuncture POV I have to refer to the picture on the right. What you are looking at there is a graphic representation of the 5 elements. This is a foundational concept in acupuncture theory and all of Chinese medicine (acupuncture originated in China). 

Each colored circle represents an element. The arrows that form a circle around the elements shows the "engendering" relationship. What that means is that each element is strengthened by the one before it. By following that circular arrow, we can see that Fire strengthens Earth, Earth strengthens Metal, Metal strengthens Water, and so on.

The inner arrows that make a star (no, it's not a pentagram, pentagrams point downward lol) are showing the "restraining" relationship between elements. In other words, each element is kept from getting too strong by another element. So again following the star arrows we see that Fire restrains Metal, Metal restrains Wood, Wood restrains Earth, and so on.

When these relationships are in harmony each element is strong but not too strong. The body is in a state of health. But when disharmony presents itself in these element relationships, we see sickness and discomfort. Ultimately all acupuncture is aimed at recapturing the harmony between elements in the body.

This isn't woo, it's physiology. From a medical perspective the important thing to focus on is that each element is represented by an organ of the body. So, by looking at the relationship between the elements we are looking at the relationship between organs. The organ of each element is also on the picture. With the organs considered, the picture becomes a real, physical representation of the way your body works. 

How Does This Apply To Medicine?

When you are gearing up for your period, there is a lot of energy in the Wood element. As you can see from the picture, Wood should strengthen Fire, and restrain Earth. The excess eneergy in the Wood element (the organ of the liver) leads to the following symptoms:

- Tension

- Anger

- Mood Swings

- Headaches

Sound familiar?

But then having too much Wood energy also makes the Fire element too strong. Two major symptoms of excess Fire element (the organ of the heart) are:

- Anxiety

- Insomnia

And now we are getting somewhere. The last part of the relationship we will look at in this post is the one between the Wood and the Earth. In a healthy body, Wood keeps Earth (whose organ is the stomach) from getting too strong. But when the Liver has too much energy it exerts too much control over the stomach, and damages it. This leads to:

- Appetite Changes

- Bloating

- Fluid Retention

- Fatigue

- Muscle Pain

Again, not a complete list. And I know this was a lot of information to casually throw at you on a Wednesday. But use our free resource library, use the Ask an Acupuncturist feature, and we will work with you to teach you everything you need to know about how your body works.

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Topics: Women's Health

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