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Low libido? Can’t conceive? How TCM treats fertility problems

Acupuncture, Cupping, TCM Treatments & Theory, Women Health

TCM has a long history of treating illnesses and disorders, including those that affect sexual or reproductive health.


Generally, TCM physicians advise that extreme or chronic stress, frequent late nights, poor eating habits, eating foods that are too sweet or salty, not drinking enough water, an overactive sexual lifestyle, and poor urination habits are some of the causes of sexual disorders.



TCM may help with a number of sexual health concerns.




For females, these may be in the form of irregular and painful periods as well as reproductive problems. For males, TCM is commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, poor libido, concerns with infertility, early ejaculation, and sexual anxiety.


Symptoms of Bad Digestion


The digestive system, liver, and kidneys are often the three organs in charge of sexual health issues, according to our experience and observing patients.


The explanation from TCM physicians is that digestive system deficiencies result in poorer nutrient absorption rates, which in turn starve the body’s other organs of nutrients.




The liver and kidneys are the organs that are most frequently impacted by poor digestion. Sexual dysfunction symptoms may emerge when these organs are compromised.



Symptoms of Stress


Another typical diagnosis that TCM physicians observe, is liver stagnation, which typically results from stress.


Many of the sexual health issues we see today are believed to be greatly influenced by stress. Stress has an impact on the liver and stagnates liver qi, causing blood circulation to be poor when the liver qi—according to TCM, the body’s life force— is stagnant. This damages the kidneys, resulting in sexual dysfunctional symptoms. Either the weak organs need to be strengthened or the stagnation has to be cleared in order to reduce the symptoms.


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    In general, TCM physicians share that, qi stagnation—though not usually of the liver—has long been a key factor in women’s illnesses. This was believed to be due to the specific emotional and sexual difficulties that women tend to experience.




    For instance, the ancient Chinese thought that because women were subject to different sexual conventions than men and were not permitted to express themselves in the same way, they felt greater levels of sexual frustration. Additionally, women were thought to be more prone to feelings of loneliness and depression, particularly after becoming widows.


    Women’s emotional stress and female sexual problems were viewed as the result of sexual frustration by ancient medical professionals who studied the mind-body connection and its relationship to disease.


    But today, decades later, we understand that these problems were not simply biological, but also partly a result of the repressive societal conditions.


    Gynecology did not become a recognized subspecialty in Chinese medicine until the Song period (960–1279), at which point Chinese physicians gained a greater grasp of women’s sexual health.


    TCM doctors treat sexual health issues with herbal medication, cupping, and acupuncture on the body and scalp.


    Acupuncture and cupping restore optimal function

    Scalp acupuncture targets various regions of the brain to aid in the healing of the injured organs. According to the diagnosis, TCM practitioners focus on particular scalp acupoints since they believe the brain to be the body’s primary healing center.


    In order to help injured organs resume their optimal function, needles are inserted into certain meridian spots on the body.




    TCM physicians have also shared their experience from past observations that acupuncture has shown promise in treating individuals with sexual dysfunction, as also supported in numerous research conducted in the previous ten years.


    Findings from a recent meta-analysis suggested that acupuncture helps male sexual dysfunction, notably in regard to desire, libido, erectile dysfunction, and impotence in 2021’s Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine.


    According to the literature, acupuncture can also help with some female sexual dysfunction issues.


    As a result, TCM physicians suggest that acupuncture might be recommended as a non-pharmaceutical alternative.


    It is claimed that cupping increases blood circulation and clears any qi stagnation or “dampness” that may be present in the body.


    Herbal remedies to restore balance

    Herbal medicine is used to help with almost all sexual health conditions, to restore balance to the organs and body.


    One herb that’s said to improve sexual function is suo yang (锁阳) (Herba Cynomorii Songarici). According to TCM practitioners, it contains natural compounds like anthocyanins and tannins, and can help to treat impotence, premature ejaculation, and weak loins and knees.


    Some other examples are She Chuang Zi (蛇床子) (Cnidium Monnieri), which is used to treat itching and dampness in the genital region, and Yin Yang Huo (淫羊藿), also known as horny goat weed, which “tonifies” (increases the energy) of the kidneys.


    However, we strongly advise you to consult your preferred TCM physician before purchasing and consuming these medicine as they may not be suitable for all types of constitutions and body types.


    Lifestyle practices also play an important role in sexual health.


    The early Chinese believed that one’s body is inherited from, and given by, one’s ancestors. Taking care of the body and its physical functions, or nurturing life (yang sheng) (养生), was a sign of respect for one’s parents. A healthy body was a fertile one , and the more offspring a person had, the stronger their clan and the better the family’s fortune.


    According to passages in the Huangdi Neijing Suwen (黄帝内经素问) (the highest authority on TCM and part of the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor, an ancient Chinese medical text), the early Chinese also held the view that sexual performance is a trait we inherit from our ancestors.


    They strongly equated human life-preserving forces with sexual potency and childbearing capacity. They emphasized that caring for the reproductive organs also entailed maintaining a healthy physique and that this could be done “by way of exercise, food, and abstinence from any excessive and unrestrained behavior.”


    This article was adapted from South China Morning Post.