Period Pain & Pins w Elizabeth Cullen

Period Pain & Pins Community Acupuncture Clinic w Elizabeth Cullen

10 July, 2024

Molly Burton TCM Practitioner






While menstruation is natural, it can be disruptive and a great burden for many. Pain varies greatly, and concerns are often downplayed, ignoring its impact and potential long-term effects on the individual. Period pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, is a prevalent issue affecting an estimated 70.8% of adolescent girls and young women aged 13-23 years globally [1]. In Australia, studies report even higher rates, with 80-93% of those aged 13-25 years experiencing period pain [2]. Endometriosis a more complex condition affects 1 in 9 women, girls, and those assigned female at birth and is considered a leading cause of pelvic pain.

Ensuring accessibility to address period pain requires a multifaceted approach. Firstly, fostering open communication around menstruation is crucial. Educational resources and healthcare providers who normalise period pain and its impact can empower individuals to seek help. Secondly, increasing access to affordable menstrual products and pain management strategies is essential. Financial barriers shouldn’t prevent proper period care & support in pain management. After noticing this gap in a clinical setting it has led The Dao Health initiative to launch Australia’s first Period Pain & Pins Community Acupuncture Clinic.

Elizabeth Cullen is the Principal Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Founder and Director of The Dao Health. Elizabeth sat down with fellow Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Molly Burton to unpack everything you need to know about The Dao Health’s Period Pain & Pins Acupuncture Community Clinic set to open its door on Monday 15/7/24.

What is the Period Pain & Pins Acupuncture Community Clinic?

The Period Pain & Pins Acupuncture Community Clinic by The Dao Health is a community clinic for people who experience Pelvic Pain, Period Pain and/or who have Endometriosis and/or Adenomyosis.

Acupuncture treatments will be offered in a community setting which is traditionally used in China, where patients will receive treatment in a group setting.

This creates an opportunity for people to consider Acupuncture as part of their multidisciplinary care team to manage symptoms as well allowing an increase in accessibility by being able to treat an increased amount of people at a reduced cost.

The Period Pain & Pins Acupuncture community clinic is volunteer-run by The Dao Health Practitioners including myself, Molly Burton and Clarice Berry and students studying Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What led to the creation of the PP&P Community Clinic?

In 2015, 2017 and 2019, I had the incredible opportunity to shadow Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in three cities in China including Cheng Du, Beijing and Kun Ming. It was during this time that I had the privilege to observe Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture in both hospital, community and private clinical settings. It was here that I learnt how effective a community model of treatment can be for people and where the idea for a community clinic in Women’s Health came from.

Whilst studying my Masters of Women’s Health and treating patients with Endometriosis, pelvic pain and dysmenorrhea, it was clear that how symptoms were being managed for patients as well as education needed to be improved.

It was in 2018 after I participated as a practitioner in research with Dr Mike Armour to investigate the use of Acupuncture for the treatment of Endometriosis related pelvic pain that The Dao Health held the End Endo fundraiser lunch to raise awareness of Endometriosis that I recognised that people with Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain and Period Pain would benefit through improved access to Acupuncture through a Community Acupuncture clinic.

Clinically, as a Women’s Health Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner it is clear that the way forward when it comes to managing Endometriosis, Adenomyosis and Pelvic Pain is through a multidisciplinary approach with patient-centred care with an integrative healthcare team although access and cost are common barriers to receiving this type of care.

The conversation has grown over the last 6 years for the need to increase accessibility to Acupuncture as a primary, complementary medicine to improve Endometriosis symptom management for not just The Dao Health patients but also for our wider community. This has led to a team decision between Molly, Clarice and I to volunteer our time and open the Period Pain & Pins community clinic in 2024.

What will the clinic look like?

The Period Pain & Pins clinic will be held at Peaches Pilates studio in Cronulla. The space will be open with 6 – 8 pilates mats in the space for people to receive Acupuncture in a community setting.

The community clinic will offer only Acupuncture in an open setting and will be different to the treatment offered at The Dao Health which involves a patient-centred, integrative model of care with includes Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Supplementation and functional testing in a private setting.

When is the PP&P Acupuncture Community Clinic?

The clinic will be open monthly on a Monday from 2pm – 4pm. Treatments will be offered on the half hour and will be 45 minutes in duration.

Here are the dates for the rest of 2024:

Monday, 15/7
Monday, 19/8
Monday, 16/9
Monday, 14/10
Monday, 11/1
Monday, 9/12

Who is eligible to attend the clinic?

The Period Pain & Pins Acupuncture Community clinic is best suited for people who experience Pelvic Pain, Period Pain and/or have been diagnosed with Endometriosis and/or Adenomyosis.

This community clinic is not a general Women’s Health Clinic and is not recommended for patients undergoing fertility treatment.

If the practitioner at the Period Pain & Pins clinic believes a patient needs further support than what the community acupuncture clinic can provide, the practitioner may refer the patient on to The Dao Health and/or to a recommended health care practitioner.

What should the patient bring?

You are welcome to bring along to your appointment what will make your treatment most comfortable. I recommend bringing your headphones to listen to a meditation or calming music, a blanket during the cooler months and an eye mask. Please wear loose clothing so we can access Acupuncture points above the knee, on the abdomen and on the wrists as you will receive your treatment in your clothes.

How do I book an appointment?

Appointments can be booked online via The Dao Health’s website under the About Us tab where you will find the Period Pain & Pins Community Acupuncture Section. Scroll down and you will find the Booking Section.

The treatment fee is $30.00 and payment is required at the time of booking. If you have eligible private health insurance, you will be able to claim your appointment with the provider number included for your practitioner on the receipt from the day of your appointment.

What does this mean for Women’s Health and Endometriosis support?

The launch of the Period Pain & Pins Acupuncture community clinic is a positive step in the right direction when it comes to Women’s Health in general as this opens the conversation around reviewing models of care to improve accessibility and education which can improve people who menstruate’s quality of life.

Specifically for Endometriosis, we know the way forward for managing Endometriosis is with a multidisciplinary care team and evidence-based Acupuncture should and is now being considered as part of the primary care team that can improve symptoms of Endometriosis including Pelvic Pain.

If you are a TCM practitioner or student who would like to be involved, please contact The Dao Health team at [email protected]