Most Americans tend to think of acupuncture for back and knee pain. In China, people seek acupuncture for a wide range of diseases, including chronic prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BHP). In the acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) departments of the Hunan University of TCM, I saw first hand many men finding relief from the symptoms of those conditions.
Disease occurs when the body is in disharmony. When imbalances develop in qi (often translated as energy but can also mean function) and blood circulation, illness occurs. Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis for the acupuncture treatment identifies the specific disharmony by analysing the symptoms such as the presence of pain, cloudy or bloody urination, urinary inhibition, as well as the reduction or increase in urine flow. Also, the practitioner carefully takes the pulse and looks at the tongue, which together reflect the internal state. Generally, prostatitis will be caused by an internal disharmony of qi and blood or an excess of pathogenic substances such as dampness, heat, or damp heat.
The acupuncture treatment is individualized to each patient's presentation. The goal of the treatment is to balance the disharmony, open the acupuncture channels, and stop pain. For some, this may also include stopping bleeding, smoothing urination, and clearing cloudiness. The treatment achieves this goal by regulating the qi flow throughout the body, particularly the lower abdomen and sacral regions. Acupuncture points for chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome tend to be on the lower abdomen, lower back, sacrum, and legs. Electro acupuncture and moxibustion may also be used to augment the acupuncture itself. Generally, a treatment course consists of five to ten acupuncture treatments once or twice a week. For chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome, improvement is gradual but can be long lasting.