If you’re like us, you’re no newbie to acupuncture and all its incredible benefits. It’s a constant in so many wellness journeys and routines, whether it’s for pain, immunity, anxiety, sleep, or even beauty. But how many of us think of acupuncture to heat things up in the bedroom?
Our health is multifaceted and so complex, and our intimate and sexual health is no exception. It’s a major part of what makes us feel alive and connected to ourselves and our partners. It’s deeply natural, visceral, stress-relieving, dopamine-producing, endorphin-inducing, and free. But sometimes, we find ourselves struggling to get into the right headspace for it. Cue holistic treatments.
While nutrition counseling, aphrodisiacs, and sex therapists can all be valuable channels of exploration for boosting one’s drive and desire, acupuncture should be considered a viable tool in your arsenal. Yes, this ancient Chinese technique of inserting needles into specific, activating meridians can enhance this vital part of our lives.
Dr. Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic gets it. She is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, and founder of Rituals + Alchemy along with holistic nutritionist Anna Frumkin. Dr. Neverov-Krstic says that a healthy libido is actually a key indicator of our health. What she finds most fascinating about Chinese medicine is that it’s believed that a healthy reproductive system is the foundation for all vitality and longevity. “This root energy is centered on the kidneys. That’s why when you go see an acupuncturist to boost your sex drive, they will focus predominantly on strengthening your kidney points and even nourishing something called the kidney yin and yang, depending on what you need.”
What you need will vary, based on what energy is predominant in you and needs balancing. In Chinese medicine, yin energy is the dark, cool, calming energy. Some might say it’s the feminine. Yang is the bright, hot, masculine, high energy. “If one finds oneself out of balance between these two polarities, health (and particularly libido) could suffer,” Dr. Neverov-Krstic explains.
This disruption of balance can manifest itself in fatigue or disinterest in sex, or stress and anxiety that disrupts the mood and headspace for intimacy. She tells us more tangible side effects of this as well, like women becoming unable to sufficiently self-lubricate or men being unable to have an erection. These circumstances lend themselves well to a holistic approach with acupuncture. She shares that by using certain points, you can “strengthen your reproductive root organs to points that could activate your parasympathetic nervous system (aka your rest and digest, calm self).” This ancient technique could simultaneously relax and energize you to a place where you can “get into the mood.”
But there is a second tier to this all. Dr. Neverov-Krstic clarifies that because a big part of Chinese medicine is herbal, “Most acupuncturists wouldn’t dream of creating a point protocol for libido-enhancing effects without an herbal protocol as well.”
If you’re finding yourself low on yang energy—meaning you’re tired, lethargic, and uninspired—the appropriately deemed herb horny goat weed may be useful for you. “On the other hand, if you are slightly more yin deficient, which basically means you run slightly too hot and dry, you might want to try a yin-nourishing herb known as mulberry.” Mulberry is deeply relaxing, so it may be helpful to get you into a calmer, more open state for intimacy before bed. Rituals + Alchemy has an elixir with mulberry in it, called Sleep Juju, which has powerful properties to cultivate relaxation and intimacy.
Speaking of herbs that relax and soothe our fight or flight mode, Dr. Neverov-Krstic suggests a few more herbs to accompany a successful acupuncture practice. Schisandra berry, or Wu Wei Zi, is “a tasty little fruit that is known for calming the heart, nourishing the vital kidney energy (as we learned earlier, this is monumental for libido), and astringing any leakage.” What that means is that it addresses both men’s and women’s respective dysfunctions. Rituals + Alchemy’s Sleep Juju also contains this herb, which is great for both calming the heart and getting it ready for ehem, nighttime activities.
Since your sexual health is a reflection of your overall health, it’s important to take this holistic approach and address it from the inside out. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine aren’t invasive, but they are effective. This method also helps us determine where the issue might be originating—whether it’s chemical, energetic, or stress related—so that you can be mindful of all aspects of your life and how they may be affecting you in the bedroom.