Understanding the oft-elusive libido is a unique and complicated challenge in and of itself, but for those trying everything under the sun to get their sex drive back, it can be incredibly frustrating. It can also sometimes feel downright hopeless.
Whether you have low libido due to mental or physical reasons (or a combination of both), women who want to enjoy sex again may be able to find the answers in acupuncture.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, which has been aiding in improving fertility for centuries, can also be beneficial when it comes to helping a libido bounce back.
We spoke to experts in the field to get a better understanding of how acupuncture can improve your overall sex life and sexual health.
Acupuncture and the Libido
In case being a woman didn’t already come with enough stressors and challenges as we age, a declining libido can also come with the territory.
Philadelphia-based acupuncturist Eva Zeller, LAc, MAOM, explains, “As women get older, their estrogen levels can start to decline, which can lead to less blood flow to the sex organs and—horrifyingly—less intense sensation.”
This is where acupuncture can come into the picture, Zeller says, by “improving blood flow to the sex organs and, in women who are not yet in menopause, help regulate hormone production.”
However, that doesn’t mean that women who are menopausal and postmenopausal can’t gain the benefits of increased sexual desire and pleasure as a result of getting acupuncture treatments.
Christine Pearson, LAc, a teacher at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon says that many of her female patients of that age who go for related issues (such as hot flashes, pelvic pain, or incontinence) feel a difference when the Qi is brought back to their pelvic bowl.
Your Qi, Zeller explains is, “Most broadly, your overall energy. Ideally, it’s flowing smoothly through your body, along with your blood.” When your Qi gets blocked (which can happen when you’re stressed or not getting enough sleep), then it may not be flowing to other places where it might be needed including, you guessed it, your libido. In other words, an increased libido can be a happy side effect of acupuncture.
Acupuncture: How It Works
When it comes to acupuncture, every woman and her individual needs will differ, but there are certain pressure points your acupuncturist may focus on when it comes to increasing your sex drive.
For instance, Zeller explains that there is a point known as Spleen 6 (located a hand’s width above the inner ankle, just above the shin bone) that can help with aiding in sleep and stress, as well as hormonal issues. (There are other points, including right off the edge of the shin bone and in the lower abdomen and lower back that can help in redirecting energy.)
“Many of the points we use in acupuncture or acupressure to treat a low sex drive are found in the vicinity of the inner ankle, so you really can’t go wrong massaging around the fleshy area between the Achilles tendon and the ankle and shin,” she adds.
These points, Pearson explains, can release endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, all of which come into play when it comes to pleasure, including orgasms.
Pearson also points out that in Chinese medicine, there is an “emotional vessel” called Bao Mai, which directly connects the heart to the uterus. If this vessel has been blocked, acupuncture (in addition to positive lifestyle changes such as eating well and getting sleep), can reconnect the heart and the uterus.
When Will You See Results from Acupuncture?
The number of times you’ll need to go to acupuncture to get the results you want will vary from person-to-person. Some acupuncturists will recommend around 4-5 visits, while others may suggest up to 12. Each session can last anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours. Zeller says that around 6-8 visits is when real changes are noticed by patients.
What matters most is that you are in tune with your body and honest about what you are hoping to achieve in your sessions. “My job is to bring people back into their bodies and be in the present,” Pearson says, adding that when you allow the benefits of acupuncture to get back into your mind and body, you’ll more likely be open to exploring different avenues with yourself.
The relaxation with the mind and body (including reduced muscular tension) that can occur during an acupuncture session can include feeling more relaxed about having sex. In other words, if your mind has been too preoccupied to focus on sexual pleasure, acupuncture can help by allowing you to let go.
Zeller says that you and your partner can even consider going to acupuncture or acupressure together to mutually enjoy the benefits of sessions, and in turn, one another when you get home.