Acupuncture During Your Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle has 4 phases, in a 28 day cycle, they are:
- Days 1-4 – Period
- Days 1 – 14 – Follicular phase
- Day 14 – Ovulation
- Days 14-28 – Luteal Phase
In a perfect world, this is how people with uteruses would all menstruate. But of course this isn’t the case. So many things can affect length of follicular phase, timing of ovulation, length of luteal phase and this can change month to month. Most women also have two ovaries which can present different patterns to each other too.
Cycle irregularities cause changes to this pattern. Illness, hormone imbalance, gut health, stress, medication all can affect the balance of your menstrual cycle. Treatment can support this pattern back to ‘normal’ or the most ideal for your body to feel healthy and fall pregnant.
The main aim of acupuncture treatment during these phases is as follow:
- Period – from day 2-4, acupuncture is used to expel blood, move stagnation, alleviate menstrual pain, warm the uterus to support the muscle contraction to prepare for a fresh lining for next cycle
- Follicular phase – from day 4, acupuncture and moxibustion is used to build blood, direct blood flow to the pelvis, build lining and nourish a growing egg
- Ovulation – a healthy ovulation requires a complex energy change. Acupuncture treatments are aimed towards blood building and ensuring smooth flow of qi to ‘drop’ an egg and make sure it has a smooth pathway to the uterus through the fallopian tubes
- Luteal phase – acupuncture and moxibustion is used to ‘warm, hold and lift’ the lining to support implantation and a possible pregnancy. These treatments continue into early pregnancy until the placenta takes over at around 12 weeks.
As each phase has a different treatment aim, it’s important to maintain consistency of treatments and to follow the changes and improvements in your menstrual cycle with temperature tracking. See blog post on importance of temperature tracking for fertility.