Needles and sex? It’s not as kinky as it sounds. An estimated 43 percent of women are affected by a low sex drive, and acupuncture is well-known to help relieve stress, tension, and anxiety (and has been known to treat reproductive disorders and help with fertility)—could the two be an under-the-sheets match made in heaven?
“After becoming an acupuncturist, I learned low sex drive is more common than I realized, and we treat it a lot,” says Sophie Young, a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified herbalist in New York. Jill Blakeway, DACM, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner at the YinOva Center in New York City, agrees. “I’d estimate that about 50 percent of the women I see tell me they’re either too tired, too stressed, or too worried about their body image to enjoy sex. But most tell me they want to want to have sex again,” she says.
“I’d estimate that about 50 percent of the women I see tell me they’re either too tired, too stressed, or too worried about their body image to enjoy sex.” —Jill Blakeway, DACM
Since her book Sex Again was published in 2013, Dr. Blakeway has seen an increase in the number of women making appointments at YinOva for help with low libido and other sexual problems such as failure to orgasm or painful sex.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for improving libido—and, in fact, your own remedy may evolve from visit to visit—experts agree that acupuncture can work as a non-chemical solution for dipping libidos. Here’s how.
Keep reading to learn how acupuncture can rev up your sex drive.
1. It helps you reach orgasm by improving circulation
Acupuncture promotes circulation along pathways that surround the reproductive organs as well as other organs that influence sex drive, like your kidneys, Dr. Blakeway explains. “A circulatory issue that is affecting orgasm will often respond to treatment within three to four sessions,” she says.
Healthy circulation can also next-level your your roll in the sheets because it enhances the senses, including your response to sensual touches and settings. “Acupuncture also brings your body, mind, and heart in sync, which can only help with finding that deeper connection,” Dr. Blakeway says.
2. It helps balance your hormones
According to Yukiko Naoi, a licensed acupuncturist and co-founder of Rest Acupuncture, about a third of her clients seek treatment for hormone balance issues, which can affect everything from your sleep patterns to your period to, you guessed it, your sex drive.
“The hormonal system acts as a messenger that regulates arousal as well as your sex drive,” explains Dr. Blakeway. “There are lots of reasons that hormones can tip out of balance—for example, stress, diet, or lowered immunity. And when they do, experiences that would normally feel stimulating tend to fall flat.”
3. Acupuncture relieves stress
You don’t need to be a TCM expert to know that stress and sex don’t often mix well. “Dealing with both stress as well as stagnant energy can undermine your ability to enjoy sex,” says Dr. Blakeway. “Using acupuncture and Chinese medicine to restore balance, relax, and decrease stress is a great way to boost a low sex drive.”
4. Treatment can reveal other issues that contribute to your lowered libido
Acupuncture is a holistic treatment—there’s no single point on the body you can stick with a needle in order to magically transform you into a sex goddess. “The beauty of acupuncture is…that it treats a person as a whole and discerns the body’s pattern of disharmony,” says Naoi. “A low sex drive is a symptom rooted from underlying imbalance and disharmony.”
What may appear as a low libido in Western medicine could be seen as an excess or deficiency of a meridian (energy channels) in Chinese medicine, something that can manifest as other conditions as well, including joint discomfort or hearing issues. So if you seek acupuncture to treat your regular aches and pains, you may also address your libido’s health, Naoi says. Or, vice versa.
“Acupuncture is easy and has multiple benefits,” says Naoi. “Not only are you getting treatment specific to your condition, but you’re also getting assisted relaxation that is beneficial to everyone. You lay down, get into the relaxing meditative state for 30 to 45 minutes, and have a practitioner care for you. Who wouldn’t want this weekly or biweekly?” Um, can I schedule a couples session?
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