If the idea of finding inner balance while living with endometriosis seems oxymoronic, you may want to give the ancient art of acupuncture a try. Recently, The Blossom sat down with Meghan Van Dina, who not only runs her practice, North Nassau Acupuncture in Great Neck, NY but has also begun working with the Northwell Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine to use a more holistic approach in helping women with reproductive health issues.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that looks to relieve a patient’s symptoms through the application of small hairpin needles.
“We treat a lot of patients who are experiencing endometriosis," says Van Dina. When those patients complain of bad cramping, pain, and PMS, Van Dina tailors her approach. “The main thing we look to do is correct the underlying imbalance in the body that is causing these symptoms. Endometriosis patients will mostly get needles in their lower abdomen and pelvic area. However, we also do points in the hands, arms, and legs, as we look to target a number of different channels.” With such specific needle placement, Megan says it is her goal to allow the body to conduct its natural response of sending blood flow to specific areas of the body. More blood flow, she says, means less endo-related inflammation, which means less pain.
Next on Meghan's list is using her needlework to correct hormones. “From a hormonal balance standpoint, acupuncture has also been found to release norepinephrine and put us in a state of rest and digest, which is when our body can begin healing itself. It is in this state that our endocrine system can start functioning more optimally.” Striking balance takes time and work. Meghan says repeat sessions are necessary."We do recommend trying to come in once a week towards the beginning of the treatment, but once we start seeing a change in a patient’s symptoms, we start scheduling once-per-month maintenance visits to ensure symptoms do not resurface. These maintenance appointments are instead aimed at preventing future imbalances."
Still, Meghan cautions that acupuncture isn't a replacement for your OB-GYN's plan of care. “We never say that you should get treated with eastern medicine over western. We like to say that this is complementary medicine and not alternative medicine.”