Acupuncture has many devotees from all different walks of life. Some say that it cures everything from seasickness to migraines, from anxiety to joint pain. But can it boost low libido?
When you think of acupuncture you may imagine a person lying atop a table, surrounded by candles in a room smelling of patchouli oil. The person has dozens of needles sticking out of their skin like a human-porcupine, hoping to be cured from their ailments.
A little scary, right? It doesn’t exactly sound like something you can trust. And it's a very polarizing practice—some swear by it, and others don't feel any effect at all.
My cousin, a Chicago human rights attorney, is someone who swears by acupuncture. She says it’s helped her slipped disc and anxiety tremendously. So, it can’t be all hippies and anti-Western medicine-types, right?
We decided to investigate the connection between acupuncture and low libido to see if it really can help. We asked experts to weigh in and give us the skinny on this holistic treatment.
What exactly is acupuncture?
The practice of sticking needles in your skin? This sounds pretty whack if you look at it plainly. Acupuncture works by removing “blocks” in a person’s energies. These blocks are thought to cause a variety of different illnesses and ailments. Needles are placed in the area of the blockage. You won’t be able to feel the needles, as they are placed with great care. Trust us, we asked plenty of people if the needles hurt.
“Acupuncture is the practice of manipulating the body’s channels of chi, the energy which govern us and our body/mind connection,” Jamie Bacharach (LAc), a licensed acupuncturist with Maple Holistics tells Brides. “In Chinese medicine, the body’s organs are all connected in a kind of circle. If there [is] a blockage and difficulty in one area, the organs which receive treatment will often be the ones which come before and after the blockage, and not in the place of the blockage itself.”
Lance Isakov, professional acupuncturist and owner of Village Wellness in Philadelphia says the needles you see stuck in a patient's skin act like tiny conductors that reign in the qi (or chi). “This qi courses through our body in circuits we call meridians," says Isakov. "When our qi is out of balance—stuck, deficient, or excessive—our body sends out alarm signals of that imbalance.” Symptoms of the imbalanced energy can include depression, anxiety, headaches, low libido, and much more.
Once you finish treatment, the energy is thought to be released to return to its natural flow.
Low libido and acupuncture
Yup, yup. Needles. Got it. Cool. Tell us about the low libido thing.
Isakov says that an acupuncturist will ask a series of questions to determine the root cause of your low libido. “The patient has an opportunity to share their upsets, health history, and their goals," he says. "The acupuncturist will do a full diagnosis, including reading the pulse and looking at the patient’s tongue, which will point to the pattern of imbalance and the direction to take.”
Low libido is caused by a variety of things. It might be issues in your relationship, loneliness, hormone imbalances, etc. Acupuncture is used to restore your natural flow and revive your blocked sexual energy.
Which organs make your libido take off without so much as a note? Isakov says it’s usually Liver 3, which “brings smooth movement of qi to the body; located on the foot between the big toe and [second] toe.”
What’s more, after all the needles, the acupuncturist might give you some lifestyle tips to help keep that chi unblocked in the future. “Not only will the treatment bring balance to the body, but the acupuncturist may offer lifestyle, nutritional, or emotional advice for a long-lasting healthy libido,” Isakov says.
But, um, it might not always work
Bacharach tells us that while acupuncture can sometimes help to treat low libido, it may not cure it entirely. “Sometimes, you will need a certified sexologist to work with, right alongside the acupuncture sessions,” she explains. “There are times when the root cause is unclear, and when it is not the organ, but more the mind, which is closed off. That type of blockage is also treatable many times, but it may require more work.”
See more: 7 Causes of Low Sexual Desire in Women
If your sexual concerns are not body-based, but rather are formed from mental states or simply cannot be determined, acupuncture likely won’t alleviate the problem since the practice focuses on the muscles and organs. It can help, but you’ll need to do more.
Are we running out to get needled up? Hmmm. Maybe not.
We’re not sure we’re totally sold on this whole acupuncture thing, but it definitely sounds interesting. If you have low libido and have tried to fix it without prior success, why not try something new and outside of the box? It can’t hurt.