Acupuncture and acupressure are Eastern healing treatments that stimulate certain trigger points on the skin to produce desired effects in the body. The therapies are very effective for a variety of medical conditions including menstrual cramps.
As most of us know, pre-medicating is not the only thing you can do to take care of yourself when you’re PMSing. There are a lot of natural remedies that can either serve as the perfect supplement to ibuprofen or just function as your main PMS treatment.
One of these remedies is the ancient Eastern practice of acupuncture, which is starting to become more and more popular in the U.S. Patients are finding that the needling helps them with all sorts of chronic pain.
A study published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that 77.8 % of the women who participated in this study experienced a decrease of PMS symptoms, including menstrual cramps, from regular acupuncture treatment, while only 5.9 % of the placebo group said the same.
Acupuncture and acupressure are Eastern healing treatments that stimulate certain trigger points on the skin to produce desired effects in the body. The therapies are very effective for a variety of medical conditions including menstrual cramps. An acupuncturist can even use needles (these are extremely thin!) to decrease a woman's menstrual cramps.
Relieves cramps in minutes
Acupuncture practitioners share integrative approach and thoughts on PMS/PMT (pre-menstrual syndrome/tension). (There is even a severe form of PMS that affects about 3–8% of women.)
Women experience feelings of irritability, anger, frustration, followed by physical symptoms such as tender breasts, bloating, and nausea that are experienced during the week/days leading up to menstruation. These symptoms occur because of a cellular response to estrogen and progesterone.
Chinese medicine has recognized these symptoms for centuries and attributes them to the body's inability to regulate its organ systems due to cyclical changes women go through.
In Chinese medical theory, the liver is the main organ system that becomes reactive and imbalanced. Acupuncture helps by promoting vasodilation – the dilatation of blood vessels which decreases blood pressure in the affected area – and therefore alleviating pain. It also stimulates the release of hormone serotonin and lowers hormone cortisol levels which can offset the mood swings and the emotional turbulence.
Ancient Chinese healers knew of an incredible healing technique that eliminated menstrual cramps in minutes. They knew that there are points on the body, that they called acupoints or acupuncture points, that ease pain and illness, often in seemingly miraculous ways.
To help the body heal from many kinds of ailments, they stimulated its innate healing powers using acupuncture needles. But you don’t need needles to experience their powerful healing techniques-relief is right at your fingertips.
Balances hormones and nerves
These ancient Chinese healers knew that there is a secret point on the body that could quickly eliminate painful cramps from periods. They passed on their findings to acupuncture practitioners who continue to use their secret weapon against menstrual pain-with astounding results.
Now, modern research even proves that this acupoint, not only lessens menstrual cramps, it even helps balance the underlying hormones that may be causing painful periods and PMS. The point lies along the Spleen meridian, an energy pathway that governs hormones, digestion (particularly of sweet foods), and the immune system.
In multiple studies published in the journal Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion, scientists found that stimulation of this acupoint, called Spleen 6, on the leg, known in Chinese medicine to balance hormones, was more effective at alleviating painful periods than drugs.
Numerous other studies show the effectiveness of stimulating this acupoint in the treatment of PMS and menopausal symptoms, labor pain during childbirth, endometriosis, and other hormone-linked concerns, as well as in the regulation of most female hormones and menstrual cycles.
Research in the Journal of Advanced Nursing and the Korean journal Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi found that stimulating this point with finger pressure was effective at reducing pain linked to menstrual cramps.
Another study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that acupressure applied to this point was as effective at alleviating menstrual pain as the medication ibuprofen.
Acupuncture’s effects on the vagus nerve – each of the tenth pair of cranial nerves, supplying the heart, lungs, upper digestive tract, and other organs of the chest and abdomen – are still being studied and discovered. By strengthening the vagal tone, acupuncture can help ease any digestive disorders such as bloating, cravings and bowel issues, depression or anxiety.
Available at any given moment
When asked about using acupuncture to relieve cramps, gynecologists say they don’t see why not. People use acupuncture to help with other types of chronic pains. Why not give this complementary treatment a shot and see if it helps you?
However, doctors also said not everyone is responsive to the same thing. Which means, don’t expect fantastic results just because your friend raved about it.
So, if you are looking for another completely natural way to regulate your hormones and combat PMS, give it a try.
The practitioner can show you where your trigger points are and how to stimulate them with pressure from your hands to achieve similar results. Applying pressure to key points on the back, abdomen, feet, and the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger can be effective treatments for pain.
The best part is, since these techniques are drug-free, you can do them any time you experience PMS symptoms. Ask the practitioner for articles with pictures that can help you learn how to do acupressure on yourself.