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PMS and Liver Qi Stagnation by Katie Robinette L.Ac.

How did PMS become accepted as a normal part of a woman’s life? My guess is it’s probably because naturally remedies like herbs have been pushed aside for drugs like hormones, antidepressants, and midol, and these don’t solve the problem. Another factor is that, through becoming adults, we have learned to stop listening to our bodies, expressing ourselves, and taking care of ourselves. It’s a shame that so many women put up with PMS when they don’t have to. Acupuncture and herbs truly works wonders for many women. After a few months of treatment, women are amazed. They are grateful to have back those days and weeks previously spent in pain or on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s liberating. Although Liver Qi Stagnation isn’t the sole cause of PMS, it usually plays a large role. You will probably hear your acupuncturist mention Liver Qi Stagnation, so let’s take a look at what that means.

In order to be free of PMS, we must understand and respect, the Liver system. This channel starts at the end of the big toe, travels up the inner leg, circles the external genitalia, enters the lower abdomen, connects with the liver organ, the travels up through the breasts, then throat, and up to the eyes. The Qi of this channel, the Liver Qi, is in charge of keeping all the Qi in the body flowing smoothly in the body. Signs of it not flowing smoothly, or being stagnant, include irritability, anger, frustration, muscle tension, and the additional PMS symptoms of breast pain, headaches, and bloating.

Menstruation is a transition time in the body. It is changing yang to yin. For an easy transition, the Qi must be moving smoothly. Stagnation somewhere along the line throws a wrench in the gears. When one thing stops moving, the entire system is affected. That’s why there are so many different symptoms throughout the whole body. Likewise, smoothing the flow of Liver Qi gets the gears back in motion, resolving the other symptoms.

So, where does the stagnation come from? Lack of exercise, overwork, not enough play-time, physical trauma, bad posture, and eating an unhealthy diet can all cause stagnation. There are many reasons, but one in particular deserves special attention: the emotions. Just as stagnation can lead to frustration and anger, pent up anger and frustration can cause stagnation.

This doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to be angry. Women often already have that belief, causing them to repress their anger and let it smolder inside as resentment. Emotions are healthy, natural and unavoidable. They are part of us, an expression of who we are and what we are going through. However, when emotions are not immediately expressed and resolved, they will cause health problems.

If you are carrying around anger and resentment, you must work through that. Meditate, face it head on, be honest with yourself about what’s bothering you, and then if relevant you must be honest with others. If you are resenting yourself for binge eating or not exercising or not being “perfect,” you need to fix that. If you are resenting your husband for never doing the dishes, you need to bring that up to him and make peace with him one way or another. Otherwise, you’ll just be making yourself sick. While acupuncture and herbs can’t solve all your problems, they can help get the Qi moving, or, basically, get the ball rolling, so that you are in a better frame of mind and better able to solve these problems.

PMS is treatable by natural means, and treating it now can prevent problems like infertility down the road. We need healthy reproductive systems. It’s worth it to make the commitment to get acupuncture, take herbs, and do the inner work necessary to be free from PMS.

For more information or to set up an appointment for acupuncture in Denver, CO, contact Katie today.


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