Tag Archive for: inflammation

Acupuncture for PCOS

How to Know What Type of PCOS You Have

Understanding the 4 Different Types of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

In this blog, we will explore each different types of PCOS, shedding light on their unique characteristics and offering insights into effective East Asian Medicine treatment approaches.

PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that affects many women worldwide, and understanding its distinct variations and personalized treatment options is crucial for those navigating this condition.

1) Insulin-resistant PCOS: This is the most common type of PCOS, often linked to weight gain. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, your pancreas overworks, producing more insulin. This leads to an overproduction of testosterone, causing PCOS symptoms

2) Post-Pill PCOS: This type of PCOS is temporary and is typically seen after the discontinuation of hormonal birth control. The pill suppresses ovulation, and sometimes, the body takes a while to start it again, leading to PCOS symptoms.

3) Inflammatory PCOS: Chronic inflammation in the body can interrupt ovulation and lead to this type of PCOS. It’s often linked with other signs of inflammation such as skin conditions or joint pain.

4) Adrenal PCOS: This type of PCOS is less common and results from an overproduction of DHEA, a male hormone, by the adrenal glands instead of the ovaries which produces symptoms like acne, hair loss, or irregular periods.

Understanding the type of PCOS is instrumental in formulating an effective and targeted treatment strategy.

PCOS is not a one-size-fits-all condition, as it manifests in various ways and presents with different underlying factors.

Insulin-resistant PCOS

Insulin-resistant PCOS often occurs in women with a higher body fat percentage.

This type may cause weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area, due to the body’s inability to properly utilize insulin. This leads to higher glucose levels and increased fat storage.

Post-Pill PCOS

Post-Pill PCOS can affect any body type, as it is more directly linked to the cessation of hormonal birth control rather than physical attributes.

Symptoms may persist for several months, but they usually resolve once the body regulates its hormone production.

Inflammatory PCOS

Women with an inflammatory body type, who might already have body composition predisposed to inflammation, are more likely to develop Inflammatory PCOS. They might also struggle with other inflammatory conditions such as skin issues or joint pain.

Adrenal PCOS

Finally, Adrenal PCOS is more common in women with a lean body composition. Despite having a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), these women might experience symptoms like acne, hair loss, or irregular periods due to an overproduction of DHEA, a male hormone, by the adrenal glands.

Identifying Your Type of PCOS

By identifying the specific type of PCOS a person has, healthcare professionals can tailor interventions to address the root causes and alleviate symptoms more efficiently. For example, some individuals may experience PCOS primarily due to insulin resistance, while others may have elevated levels of androgens contributing to their symptoms.

Knowing these distinctions enables healthcare providers to recommend appropriate dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and medications that specifically target the underlying hormonal imbalances or metabolic dysfunctions associated with each type of PCOS.

This personalized approach significantly enhances the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes and improved quality of life for individuals affected by PCOS.

East Asian Medicine and Acupuncture offer a holistic and integrative approach to managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). These traditional methods work on the principle of balancing energy or ‘qi’ within the body, thus promoting overall wellness rather than focusing solely on treating specific symptoms.

In this context, acupuncture, a key element of East Asian medicine, is used to stimulate specific points on the body. This stimulation can help regulate the endocrine system and improve blood flow to the ovaries, which in turn can balance hormone levels and promote regular ovulation. It’s believed that acupuncture may reduce insulin resistance, a key factor in Insulin-resistant PCOS, and lower inflammation levels associated with Inflammatory PCOS.

Furthermore, East Asian medicine also emphasizes the importance of lifestyle modifications.

Dietary changes, stress management, and regular physical activity are all integral parts of the treatment approach. These interventions aim to restore balance in the body and can be particularly effective in managing the weight gain often associated with PCOS and reducing the chronic inflammation that leads to Inflammatory PCOS.

Herbal medicine, another component of East Asian Medicine, often complements acupuncture in the treatment of PCOS. Various herbs are used to balance hormone levels, reduce inflammation, and address specific symptoms such as acne or menstrual irregularities.

​​At Lokahi, we understand the challenges that come with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Our team is well-versed in the intricacies of this condition and is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to our patients. If additional testing or a formal diagnosis is required, rest assured that we will guide you to the right professionals who can offer the necessary expertise.

We are committed to empowering our patients with the knowledge and resources they need to navigate their PCOS journey with confidence and take steps towards improved health and well-being.

In conclusion, East Asian Medicine and Acupuncture offer a different, complementary approach to PCOS treatment. They focus on restoring balance in the body’s systems, improving overall well-being, and addressing individual symptoms, based on the personal body composition and type of PCOS.

Resource: one of our favorite writers on women’s health: https://www.larabriden.com/4-types-of-pcos-a-flowchart/

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Spring Into Acupuncture - Acupuncture & Allergies

Spring into Acupuncture!

With the arrival of spring, we are reminded of the beauty and renewal that comes with the season.

This year, in particular, we have experienced a true, wet winter here in San Jose which is making for a more vibrant and green spring. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is associated with the element ‘Wood’, whose symptoms indicate an imbalance from its natural flow. Read on to find out how TCM can help those suffering from seasonal allergies this year.

The Five Elements Theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine sees five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—which correspond to different organs.

According to this theory, during springtime (or “wood” season) the Liver organ system is most active and therefore needs proper balance to remain healthy. Symptoms of an unbalanced wood element include headaches and irritability/anger due to stress accumulation during winter. If left unchecked these symptoms can worsen over time leading to more serious illnesses such as depression or chronic fatigue syndrome.

As we move into this spring there is a heightened risk for allergies due to our wet winter.

Allergies are caused by an overly stimulated immune system response to environmental factors such as pollen or dust mites; in turn resulting in inflammation which leads to sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes among other things. To prevent allergies from becoming unmanageable it is best to start treatment sooner rather than later so as not suppress the body’s natural response before it gets worse.

At Lokahi Acupuncture we use both acupuncture and herbal supplements to treat seasonal allergies and restore balance for our patients.

Acupuncture works by stimulating your body’s internal energy systems which helps reduce inflammation while also strengthening your immune system so that it doesn’t overreact when exposed to allergens like pollen or dust mites. We also provide herbal supplements tailored specifically for each patient which target their individual allergy symptoms while restoring balance internally so they can better cope with environmental triggers without having an exaggerated reaction in the future.

Springtime brings growth and renewal but it can also bring out certain imbalances in our bodies if not managed properly or kept in check before they become too severe.

At Lokahi Acupuncture we offer treatments for both acute allergic reactions as well as preventive care through acupuncture and herbal medicine that can help keep you balanced during this season of growth and renewal!

Schedule a 15 minute video consultation to learn more about how our team of acupuncturists can support you this spring!

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Why Support Detoxification Before Trying to Conceive

Why Support Detoxification Before Trying to Conceive

By: Bonnie Burgess

If fertility is on your mind, one of the best things you can do to prepare is to support your body’s natural detoxification processes.

Detoxification is a function of natural bodily processes.

The hitch is that the world we live in puts an extra burden on these innate detoxification processes. We have to deal with heavy pollution, processed food with manufactured additives and preservatives, and manufactured chemicals in our environment. This is especially true if you live in the United States where we have banned a small fraction of what the European Union has deemed harmful to the public.[1]

Many feel this extra burden later in life as it contributes to chronic disease. However, you may be impacted well before you notice symptoms. In fact, impaired detoxification affects fertility. It disrupts hormone balance and increases inflammation.

Disrupts hormone balance

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, are an unfortunate reality of living in our modern world. They’re found in items like cosmetics, our food packaging, nonstick pans, mattresses, carpet and electronics. In fact, there are over 700 estrogen-mimicking chemicals which can dramatically increase estrogen levels relative to other hormones in the body. Some, like PFOS and PFAS decrease testosterone levels which impact male fertility.[2]

We are exposed to EDCs on a daily basis, and even low doses of exposure can have an impact capable of influencing our hormones. Our thyroid, metabolic, and sex hormone signaling are at risk for disruption, directly affecting reproductive processes. For example, flame retardants have been associated with thyroid disease, and phthalate exposure interferes with androgen production. While that certainly doesn’t sound good, studies have investigated exposure to flame retardants and to phthalates, chemicals commonly found in flexible plastic. Both may negatively affect success rates of IVF[3].

Increases inflammation

With a burden of toxins that exceeds our detoxification capacity, they accumulate in our system. Both the cache of toxins and the processes to deal with them are stressful on the body. This stress interferes with hormone function and contributes to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a factor in many of the conditions which commonly affect fertility, including; polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS,) endometriosis, and repeat pregnancy loss (RPL.)

Affects baby’s health

Unfortunately, the impact of toxin exposure doesn’t end with conception. It can also affect a baby’s health. Stored chemicals in the body can easily cross the placenta and affect the baby in the uterus. Some of the effects include; low birth weight, breastfeeding challenges, and cognitive development[4].

What can you do?

Reducing your exposure is one important strategy, but EDCs are so pervasive that avoiding all exposure is unlikely. Supporting your body’s detoxification processes is the other critical strategy to reduce their negative effects:

1. Take care of these 5 easy, everyday changes to make to your diet and lifestyle.

2. Support detoxification with an intentional 10-day program, like Replenish & Reset: A 10 Day Real Food Reset.

Bonnie Burgess - Burgess WellnessWe’d like to offer $20 off Replenish & Reset (levels 1 and 2) which begins August 21st.

Pre-register with the code “Lokahi” in the message field.

For any questions about the program, you can reach Bonnie Burgess at bonnie@burgesswellness.com.



Bonnie is a holistic functional nutritionist who specializes in women’s health and fertility including patients undergoing ART. She uses a “food first” approach to determine individual nutritional needs coupled with lifestyle modifications and possible nutrient supplementation. Bonnie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she serves an international client base through a 100% virtual consultancy at Burgess Wellness.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/22/chemicals-in-cosmetics-us-restricted-eu

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038605/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28858831/


[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26955061/



Endometriosis - Can Acupuncture Help?

Endometriosis – Can Acupuncture Help?

Living with endometriosis can be extremely painful and cause symptoms such as bloating, gastric distress and infertility.

Endometriosis results from 3 main imbalances in the body: 

  • hormone imbalance
  • immune dysfunction
  • inflammation

In order to address endometriosis fully, we must address each of these imbalances. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a great tool since it can support healing in each of these areas.

Hormone Imbalance

High estrogen levels are seen in patients with endometriosis. However, the fix is not as simple as adding birth control or other hormonal treatment to balance things out. We have to determine why the body is making so much estrogen.

Acupuncture works with Chinese herbs in the body in a multi-dimensional way. Using a combination of acupuncture needles with Chinese herbal formulas, treatment brings the whole body back into a homeostasis, or balance, including the balance of hormones.

Immune Dysfunction

A large component of endometriosis is immune dysfunction and dysregulation. There is some debate as to whether it’s an autoimmune condition, but we do know/suspect that the immune system is working overtime in cases of endometriosis.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help calm the immune system from overreacting, which is also why acupuncture is effective for allergies. Regular treatment can bring the body back into equilibrium, allowing for a more optimal immune response.


“Inflammation” is not a word used frequently in Chinese Medicine. However, it does serve to illustrate that the body exhibits signs of heat and toxicity in those with endometriosis.  When the body is on “high alert”, a host of other symptoms result, such as pain all over the body, bloating, indigestion and thyroid issues. The goal of Chinese Medicine is calming the body and bringing it back to a more balanced and stable state. We typically work with a combination of acupuncture, diet, Chinese herbs and supplements to coax the body into a happier state.

So, Can Acupuncture help?

A well-trained acupuncturist can be extremely helpful in interrupting the dysregulation in your body, relieving symptoms and pain, and getting you on the right track with diet, herbs and nutritional supplements.

Additionally, a practitioner with experience with endometriosis can help refer you to local Western medicine specialists for a holistic approach. If you are interested in chatting with one of our practitioners, you can book a free online consultation here.

More Resources

One of our favorite resources for educating patients on endometriosis and how it affects the female hormonal system is Lara Briden . Another fabulous resource with actionable recipes and food plans is Katie Edmonds’s book: The 4-Week Endometriosis Diet Plan.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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