Research has shown that acupuncture points on the leg are more sensitive during the menstrual cycle.
Treatment using acupuncture on specific acupuncture points also provided better and longer lasting pain relief than those taking Ibuprofen. There are many unwanted side effects from Ibuprofen.
Registered acupuncturists often combine acupuncture with moxibustion and Chinese herbs in the treatment of menstrual pain.
What other symptoms may there be with menstrual pain?
Other symptoms may co exist with the menstrual pain such as bloating, sore breasts, heaving bleeding or clotting as well as tiredness and depression.
Which acupuncture points can be used?
There are many causes as to why menstrual pain is occurring so firstly a diagnosis according to traditional Chinese medicine needs to be ascertained before selecting an appropriate acupuncture point. One common point however is the acupuncture point sanyinjiao located on the inside of the lower leg. Another acupuncture diji also on the inside of the lower leg can be very painful when applying finger pressure during an acute phase of menstrual pain. Other times, acupuncture points on the lower back can be selected.
Is moxibustion better than a hot water bottle on the abdomen?
Some women find the use of a hot water bottle helpful on the low abdomen in alleviating menstrual cramps. Other women actually find it aggravates the pain. Chinese medicine diagnosis could find the cause of menstrual pain either due to a condition that is called “cold uterus” and other times the problem may due to “hot blood“. If you added more heat to a hot condition, the symptom of pain would likely get worse. Moxibustion involves the application of the herb mugwort which is burnt and held near the surface of the skin to strongly promote blood circulation and disperse cold. Moxibustion is hence used for cold conditions.
When is the best time to come for acupuncture during the menstrual pain flareup?
We ask Angie Harding of The Palms Chinese Medicine Centre in Christchurch when is it best to seek acupuncture for menstrual pain. “Prevention and restoring harmony is always my first priority. There are different hormonal stages of the menstrual cycle according to western medicine as well as in traditional Chinese medicine. Generally speaking though, if someone can get in to see me during the acute phase I use more symptomatic acupuncture prescriptions to help reduce pain and then during the non bleeding phase, I use acupuncture points to rectify the imbalance”
How long would a course of acupuncture treatment be for menstrual pain?
Angie goes on to say “It depends on many factors such as age and how chronic the problem may be. For more long term standing problems I suggest a course of treatment over 3 menstrual cycles where ideally I would see them twice a week. If I can also supplement the acupuncture treatment with Chinese herbs, I find the results come more quickly“.
There are over 600 members of Acupuncture NZ practicing through out the country.