Menstrual Cycle Phases in Chinese Medicine

Menstrual Cycle Phases in Chinese Medicine

24 September 2018 by Caitlin Armit

Menstrual Cycle Phases in Chinese Medicine

What’s a normal period?

In Chinese Medicine theory, menarche – a female’s first period, should be at age 14 and for the first couple of years an irregular cycle is not considered to be pathological.

Ideally, a normal cycle is 28 days and the bleed between 4-7 days. The blood should start dark red then lighten slightly over the following couple of days. There should not be pain in the breasts, lower back, uterus or genital area, the blood should not be watery or with clots, and there should not be significant mood swings or loss of energy around this time.  This ideal cycle doesn’t really represent the reality for most of my female patients but we use symptoms which lie outside of this ideal picture to diagnose any problems and address them with acupuncture treatment and herbal medicine.

Menstrual Cycle Phases

In Western Medicine, the menstrual cycle is divided into two phases:

  • The follicular phase; approximately day 4 to ovulation (mid-cycle)
  • The luteal phase; from mid-cycle to the first day of bleeding

Each phase represents different ratios of the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone as well as hormones from the pituitary gland and hypothalamus.


In Chinese Medicine, the menstrual cycle is divided into four phases:

  1. Menstrual Phase (5-7 days)
  2. Post menstrual phase (7 days)
  3. Mid cycle phase (7 days)
  4. Pre-menstrual phase (7 days)

During a consultation we ask where you are currently at in your cycle because we select different acupuncture points accordingly. For example, in the menstrual phase we select points to move qi and blood if the period is stopping and starting or if the blood flow is slow and light, or we may select points to stop bleeding if the period is too heavy or long. If you’re in the pre-menstrual phase, we select points to calm mood swings and tension, reduce pain from cramping and promote smooth blood flow. In the post menstrual and mid cycle phases we focus on nourishing the yin of the organs involved in maintaining a healthy ovulation and menstrual cycle – in other words, promoting follicular development and promoting ovulation.

As you can see, the information that women provide to us about their cycles is important for helping us to select the most appropriate points at the time. We use these four phases to enhance our knowledge about your overall health and to ensure that the treatment is tailored specifically to you.


Categories: Brisbane Acupuncture Blog | Women's Health Brisbane

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