How does Chinese Medicine look after women’s health?
Firstly, it has always understood that women are different, and that medicine for them should reflect this. The earliest Chinese medical texts discuss female anatomy and health, and many important texts have chapters devoted to women’s health. There were Chinese doctors who specialised in treating women as early as the 2nd century AD, and today there are doctors whose family have been doing so for as many as 37 generations. There are even acupuncture points that are used for complaints as specific as lower back pain during a period.
The most important thing in our approach is talking to women about how they feel. We base our diagnosis on what an individual woman tells us about herself, and this is an important advantage over conventional medicine. The conventional approach focuses on diagnostic tests, and imaging, and has a tendency to disregard the experiences of women who don’t have a visible disease or damage, a pathogen that may be seen with a microscope, or a measurable imbalance in biomarkers. When it finds a disease it can recognise the solution is very often to regulate hormones with the pill or an implant, to prescribe anti-biotics, or surgery.
Chinese medicine gynaecology offers solutions when there is no identifiable ‘organic’ disease, and when women stop taking the pill and start having periods that aren’t made normal by it. We use herbs and acupuncture for periods that are too heavy or too light, come with debilitating pain, or are accompanied by back pain, headaches, or distressingly severe mood changes. We help women conceive, and we help women experiencing the change when they become unable to. We take particular care of women who have just had a child: we help them recover from the effort of growing a little human, help them with feeding, and give support during a time that is not always the filtered happiness of the Insta feed.
Our medicine sees that emotions and mental state affect our health. We don’t need to do a clinical trial to know that happy people are healthier. This may be more important when talking to women, who are more likely to acknowledge their emotional state than men who have been conditioned to ignore it. Conventional medicine is coming around to seeing the connection between mental and emotional states and health, but it’s fundamental to Eastern medicines. In our model there is no separation between the organic and the emotional, so our diagnosis and treatment is helped by you telling us about your feelings.
There’s a bit more about Chinese Medicine gynaecology here by my mentor, Steven Clavey. He also shows some research covering its treatment of infertility, gynaecological pain, endometriosis, and menopausal symptoms
Mr Clavey learned how to care for women’s health from one of those doctors whose family have been doing so for 37 generations. I spent seven years learning from him, and picked up a few things.