Endometriosis is a Western medical label, not a traditional Chinese medical one. However, the Western scientific knowledge and understanding of endometriosis has contributed to the notion that endometriosis is a condition characterised by blood being where it shouldn’t be and is unable to escape the body. In Chinese medicine, this is called Blood Stasis or Blood Stagnation.
Symptoms such as severe stabbing period pain, clotty menstrual flow and palpable nodules or masses in the abdomen can verify the diagnosis of Blood Stagnation.
In Chinese medicine, other factors are considered alongside Blood Stagnation which could have led to or aggravate the symptoms associated with endometriosis. These are Qi Stagnation and Qi Deficiency, as well as cold and heat conditions. For example, symptoms such as clotting and the colour of the clotting can verify Qi Stagnation and its extent.
A patient presenting to an acupuncturist with endometriosis will be diagnosed according to her main symptoms and constitution. It is important in acupuncture treatment to diagnose the patient according to their own specific constitution.
When determining the pattern of disease in the treatment of endometriosis, acupuncture 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.
The acupuncture points chosen help to facilitate the free flow of energy through the body. Some of the points are used to move blood, break up stagnation and stop pain.
The acupuncture treatment of subfertility caused by endometriosis begins at the start of a cycle, usually around day 4 of the new cycle. Treatments are recommended at ovulation and post ovulation. Treatments at these times are particularly important for fertility but not always so important in a woman who is not trying to become pregnant.
For further details about how acupuncture can help with endometrosis, as well as the current research, please see the factsheet published by the British Acupuncture Council at http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/research-fact-sheets/1131-acupuncture-and-endometriosis.html
Lyttleton J (2004) Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine Churchill Livingstone
Xiang Dongfang et al Journal of Chinese Medicine (2002) Ear Acupuncture Therapy For 37 Cases of Dysmenorrhoea Due to Endometriosis