Over half of all menstruating women experience period pain, and many consider it an inevitable part of their natural cycle. However, this is not necessarily the case. If you dread your monthly cycle due to painful cramps, there are excellent natural remedies that can dramatically relieve painful periods.
In traditional Chinese medicine, menstrual pain and other premenstrual symptoms are considered disorders just as worthy of treatment as any other disease. And modern western science has borne this out. A study from the Western Sydney University in Australia found that three months of acupuncture treatment can significantly reduce the intensity and duration of menstrual pain.
Acupuncture and Period Pain
Cramps occur when the uterus sheds its natural lining each month, which is a natural part of the menstrual cycle. To do this, the uterine muscle has to contract, which causes blood vessels that supply the uterus to become constricted. These constrictions reduce blood flow to the muscle, resulting in pain.
For some women, the hormonal changes that trigger menstruation can cause the uterus to contract more intensely – and more painfully.
Traditional Chinese medicine views excessive menstrual pain as a condition of ‘stagnation’. Stagnation describes a lack of energy – in this case, blood – flowing through an organ.
Acupuncturists believe that menstrual cramps result from stagnation lodged in the lower abdomen, which becomes activated when the body begins to shed uterine tissue.
To treat this, they focus on regulating blood flow in the lower abdomen to help normalise smooth muscle contraction and reducing cramps.
How Acupuncture Can Help Relieve Your Pain
Acupuncturists believe that there exist certain acupuncture points along the body’s energy meridians, which regulate blood flow through the abdominal cavity and relax the nervous system, calming and relieving muscular contractions.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can be as effective as over-the-counter medications for reducing menstrual pain!
That’s not all that acupuncture can help you with. It can also alleviate other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, improve your digestion, enhance your sleep and even boost your mood.
By using thin needles to stimulate specific areas of the body, acupuncture seeks to relieve the imbalance associated with stagnation, allowing the body to use its natural healing mechanisms to repair itself. This process involves balancing the body’s vital ‘Qi’ energy and activating its neuro-hormonal healing capacities.
By helping to move the ‘stuck’ energy flow around the body once again, acupuncture can prevent cramps, relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as mood issues and bloating and may even help regulate your cycle.
What Does The Science Say?
Some people might wonder whether there is any evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in relieving period pain. The answer is yes.
Medical researchers have shown that acupuncture treatment can significantly reduce the intensity and duration of period pain and related symptoms for ongoing periods of time.
In a study focusing on 74 women of menstruating age in New Zealand who received acupuncture to treat their period pain, over half of them had at least a 50% reduction in the severity of the pain during their periods over their three months of treatment.
In addition, unlike over-the-counter medicine, acupuncture has a minimal risk of any side effects. It also has preventative effects, including reducing the chance of future period pain occurring and alleviating other related symptoms such as mood swings, cravings and digestive irregularities.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Because acupuncture stimulates the body’s own natural healing processes rather than introducing foreign substances into it, countless international studies have shown it to be extremely safe, with few common side effects.
It is a holistic treatment focused on healing both the mind and the body. That is why acupuncture also has applications for other common women’s health issues, such as irregular periods, digestive problems, chronic pain, recovery, skin conditions and infertility.
Many patients hardly even feel the acupuncturist inserting the needles. It is a highly painless, gentle and effective procedure.
What Can I Expect?
Acupuncture is a holistic form of therapy, which means that your treatment will be targeted specifically to you, your body and your unique symptoms.
Before beginning your session, your acupuncturist will ask you questions about your overall health and your periods to create a custom treatment plan.
Your acupuncturist may also use your treatment to target other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and offer you additional benefits, such as improved sleep, reduced stress and a boost in energy.
Acupuncture is more than just an effective treatment for acute symptoms – it can also be a great preventative measure. Regular treatments can help prevent pain from occurring and reduce the pain associated with your periods.
If you have been struggling with heavy, painful or long periods, it is worth seeking out a skilled acupuncturist to start treatment. It might just be exactly what you need to relieve the pain and start feeling better.
Just reach out to the Happipuncture team at 092182992 to book a free consultation with a skilled period acupuncturist in Auckland’s North Shore. We can help you alleviate those monthly symptoms and live life better, pain-free.