Acupuncture for a Happier Period
Menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea, is the most commonly reported menstrual disorder. More than half of those who go through menstruation experience this each month. Menstrual pain can be unbearable, but it does not have to be a painful constant every month as pain is not a natural part of the menstruation process. In fact, menstruation should be painless and accompanied by minimal pre-and post-menstrual signs and symptoms (PMS).
So what exactly causes period pain?
The most common causes of painful periods include:
- Low levels of physical activity
- Emotional stress
- Low blood supply to the uterus
- Hormonal imbalances
- Imbalance of calcium and magnesium
- Endometriosis (the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus)
Help for Period Pain
Chinese medicine and acupuncture have seen great results in tending to an array of women’s health concerns. Menstrual cramps and PMS usually respond positively to TCM treatments, including acupuncture.
Acupuncture addresses the origin of the pain and uses the body’s own energy to naturally work with hormones and rebalance the system. TCM theory and diagnostics understand the cause of pain, thereby treating the problem from its roots to give a lasting result. Acupuncture itself is a natural treatment modality as opposed to conventional drugs used in combating menstrual pain.
How does acupuncture work?
Through the insertion of very fine needles into specific acupuncture points that are located along meridians or channels connecting to the various organs, the flow of Qi or energy is influenced. Acupuncture stimulation can also alter production of various brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, endorphins, natural anti-inflammatories, mood enhancers etc. Thereby, acupuncture brings about relief in symptoms ranging from pain to mood, combating menstrual pains and PMS symptoms such as irritability and mood swings.
In summary, acupuncture helps to:
- Increase blood flow to the uterus
- Reduce uterine contractions
- Alter the brain’s mood chemistry
- Regulate hormones
What is an acupuncture treatment like?
Before an acupuncture session, the practitioner carries out a consultation to better understand your symptoms and body constitution. During the acupuncture session, anywhere from 8-20 sterilized disposable needles are inserted to points on your body that have been disinfected with an alcohol swab. Once the needles are all in place, they stay in for about 30 minutes. They are then removed and discarded appropriately. Read more about acupuncture.
For a happier period, acupuncture treatment is especially recommended 5 to 7 days prior to menstruation. As acupuncture is a natural and safe treatment, it takes time to gradually adjust and balance out the menstrual cycle. Weekly continuous treatment is advised to minimize fluctuation of pain and mood swings during a cycle. Sessions can become less intensive, with a frequency of once a fortnight when significant improvement in terms of a pain-free period is observed.