Snow Xia L.Ac. on acupuncture and treating cramps, PCOS and other imbalances

Snow Xia L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Hima Acupuncture, a boutique practice in Flatiron, New York City. She holds a Masters in Acupuncture from New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Growing up in a family of TCM practitioners, Snow learned from a young age that mind-body wellbeing is the key to radiant beauty. This knowledge has helped her navigate a modeling career spanning two decades; working with esteemed brands like Oscar de la Renta, Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. After college, she also had a brief career in investment management, where she eventually suffered burnout living a high-stress, high-intensity lifestyle. 

With the help of acupuncture and herbs, she was able to recover from her ailments and regain balance. Her own healing journey has guided her back to her ancestral roots. It inspired her to dedicate herself to study the ancient science of acupuncture, and to help others restore their health.

Since establishing her practice, Snow has successfully helped hundreds of clients reclaim their health. She has been recognized as one of the top acupuncturists in New York City for two consecutive years. It is her passion to help busy New Yorkers take control of their own health while living ambitious lives.

We had the opportunity to interview Snow and ask her about her work with acupuncture and the benefits for hormonal imbalance. Below is the full interview with Snow: 

How does acupuncture work when treating hormonal imbalance? 

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that is based on a holistic view of the human body. According to TCM theory, when all chemical and metabolic processes in the body are in balance, we enjoy great health. When disharmony occurs, diseases emerge; such as the case of hormonal imbalance.  Acupuncture works to restore balance in the body as a whole. It works on the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. In terms of treating hormonal imbalances, acupuncture can help regulate the endocrine system, balance hormone levels, and normalize stress responses. Some of the conditions acupuncture can treat are infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, adrenal fatigue, menopause symptoms and thyroid conditions.

Some people start noticing pains such as cramps, back pain or migraines and try to treat it with different remedies such as heating pads, painkillers, etc. How long on average do patients receiving acupuncture start seeing results with such conditions? 

This depends on so many factors, such as how long the patient had the condition for, the severity, patient’s age, and if there are other underlying conditions involved. As a general rule of thumb, acute pain can take as quickly as 1-3 sessions to resolve, chronic pain can take much longer. Younger patients generally see results faster as their healing ability and cell regeneration rate are faster. The sooner one seeks treatment, the better as well.

Is there a “minimum” age you would recommend for someone to try acupuncture? Is there a certain age range that you would recommend people to try acupuncture? 

No, there is no minimal age to get acupuncture. Generally speaking, acupressure is used to treat babies and very young children. Often, pediatric acupuncture is performed without needle retention as children find it hard to remain still. In fact, acupuncture for children can be very effective to treat ADD/ADHD, bed-wetting, and even stimulate growth.

How can menopausal women and women experiencing potential infertility benefit from acupuncture? 

Acupuncture can ease symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes, mood changes, sleep disorders and slowing metabolism. Research found that acupuncture worked as well as bioidentical hormone therapy to balance FSH in menopausal women. Similar, as acupuncture works to regulate sex hormones, speed up blood circulation and calms the nervous system, it can treat various issues that lead to infertility. 

Would you recommend women try acupuncture when they first start experiencing menopause or other conditions or is acupuncture also effective to prevent certain conditions as well? (such as migraines, back pain etc)

Definitely. Prevention is always better than treatment. We live in a reactive healthcare culture and 

this has to change. Proactive and preventative measures result in better outcome, and minimize our physical and emotional suffering. Acupuncture can help a woman ease her menopausal symptoms from the onset and make this rite of passage manageable and with ease.  

What do your patients feel like after receiving acupuncture for the first time? 

There is actually a term for it – “acu-high”. A lot of first-timers describe the sensation as euphoric, as if walking on cloud 9 after the first session. This is because acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and kickstarts the parasympathetic nervous system, signaling the body to relax.

Aside from acupuncture, what do you recommend to your patients to include and/or exclude in their lifestyle to maximize results of their acupuncture treatment? 

Sometimes, people come in expecting a quick fix, and once they leave the office, they resume 

unhealthy lifestyles and push their body to the limits. If we want to be in control of our wellbeing, we need to have the discipline and respect for our body. We need to learn to listen and become intune to what it needs. Eating regular meals, sleeping early, having daily bowel movement, exercising regularly and minimizing stress is a good place to start. 

What does a typical acupuncture session look like? What should patients expect when they first visit an acupuncturist? 

As a holistic medicine modality, acupuncturists look at patients as individuals. Even if two patients have the same condition, their root cause might be different. In my office, sessions typically last 45-60 minutes. The first session is longer at about 90 minutes, as I start with a detailed intake. I want to really get to know the patient – her health history, current concerns, family disease history, lifestyle, and wellness goals. Then I typically look at the tongue and read the pulse. These are markers of internal organ and meridian health in TCM. A personalized treatment plan is then discussed. This is followed by the actual treatment. The acupuncture needles used are single-time disposable, sterilized, and non-toxic. (Acupuncture needles are hair-thin and people usually do not feel them on insertion.) After point insertion, the patient is then left to relax on the treatment table while the points work their magic. The experience is usually so relaxing that people fall asleep or go into a dream-like state during the session.  

Tell us about some success stories you have with patients who received acupuncture. Are there any stories where a patient’s experience with acupuncture transformed their life in a way they were not expecting?

There are many stories. To keep things relevant to our topic today, I have seen patients with PCOS regulate their menstruations with acupuncture, some eventually able to stop using medication. I had a patient successfully shrinking ovarian cysts, and one had her uterine polyps resolved after 6 weeks of treatment. One patient who experienced weekly headaches for 1 year, became headache-free after the first session. (We did continue for a couple more sessions to solidify results). The best story might be the one where the patient was able to resolve her health issue, and she became so inspired by her own healing journey that she went back to school to get her Masters in Acupuncture.

Thank you for reading our interview, we hope you learned more about Snow’s work with acupuncture and uses of acupuncture for hormonal health. 

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