Expert Opinions

Expert Opinions Archive
Is acupuncture effective for treating PMS?

R.D., Simi Valley, CA

Acupuncture, which involves the usually painless insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to restore health, has been practiced for thousands of years by the Chinese. Although there have been few studies to test its effectiveness against PMS, many anecdotal reports and a long tradition of treating menstrual problems with traditional Chinese medicine seem to indicate that it is effective.

According to licensed acupuncturist Jeanne Chiang, M.D., acupuncture is often used together with herbs to treat PMS. She explains that in Chinese medicine, PMS, like many other illnesses, is linked with stagnation in the vital life force, or chi, thought to flow through the body.

During a typical evaluation, the acupuncturist will assess PMS symptoms, as well as other factors such as digestion, sleep, and strength of menstrual flow. Looking at the tongue and feeling for pulses also tell a Chinese practitioner a lot about the patient. Dr. Chiang says, "When the Chinese diagnosis is determined, then the appropriate herbal formula can be prescribed and an acupuncture treatment program designed."

For help finding a certified practitioner, contact the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists (202-232-1404) or the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (800-521-2262). You can also consult the practitioner directory.

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