After four years of studying a Master of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) degree at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), balancing study with lecturing and clinical practice, I can say that I have finally finished! (It’s been such a long time the uni has even changed its name in that time to Western Sydney University – WSU!)
I am really glad I’ve had the opportunity to do this course. I have learnt so much, made great friends and studied under some of the great Chinese Medicine teachers in the world.
While I’m very grateful to have my Saturday nights back (no more late night researching and assignment writing) here’s a few things I am very happy to have learnt while reading everything I could on the following women’s health topics:
- Menopausal symptoms: Lifestyle factors that have been shown as risk factors for menopausal symptoms include smoking, alcohol use and increased body mass index (BMI). Women who participate in yoga and meditation are more likely to experience menopausal symptoms improvement.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Acupuncture was found to be more effective than physical exercise (however both in conjunction were beneficial) at reducing several common hyperandrogenic markers including serum testosterone and acne whilst also increasing menstrual frequency.
- Endometriosis: A Cochrane Review found that a Chinese herbal medicine formula had comparable effects to the drug gestrinone, with less adverse reactions. The same herbal formula was taken orally and as an enema producing a more effective treatment for reducing menstrual pain and shrinking abdominal masses than danazol.
- Lower back and pelvic pain in pregnancy: Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain in up to almost half of pregnant women with lower back and pelvic pain in pregnancy compared to physiotherapy and standard care, with only minor adverse reactions. These women are also advised to limit pain medications and with few effective and low risk options available, an editorial in the British Medical Journal reported “Those caring for women with pregnancy related pelvic pain now need to press for increased availability of acupuncture.”
- Insufficient lactation: Australia’s exclusive breastfeeding rates fall short of the WHO’s guidelines of six months. Chinese medicine has the potential to offer a two pronged approach through acupuncture and herbal treatment for milk quantity, flow and hormonal effects as well as to reduce anxiety which may assist women who are experiencing insufficient lactation.
- Postnatal depression (PND): Several small acupuncture trials have been conducted showing promise for the treatment of PND. Acupuncture has been incorporated in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) since 1993 and assists women during pregnancy or in the postnatal period. Acupuncture is low risk of serious adverse reactions generally and can be used alongside most other therapies including antidepressants and while breastfeeding.
I studied a diverse range of topics in addition to women’s health (eg. osteoarthritis, anorgasmia and irritable bowel syndrome) which I’ll cover in subsequent blogs.
To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture). Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.