Many women have come to accept monthly pain as being something they have to put up with until menopause. Most women deal with period pain by popping an over-the-counter painkiller like Nurofen, relying on home remedies like a hot water bottle, or simply trying to ignore it and get on with their life as normal. For some, the pain can be so intense that they will use synthetic hormones prescribed by a doctor.
However, there may be other options to treating period pain – that don’t involve drastic measures or artificial hormones.
Acupuncture for Period Pain
A recent study carried out at Western Sydney University’s NICM research centre has found that women receiving acupuncture treatments as part of the study experienced significant reduction in period pain, with the effects lasting up to a year after treatment.
The study involved 74 women, aged between 18 and 45, who suffered from period pain regularly. In a randomised controlled trial, each woman received treatment, including manual acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and moxibustion for a period of three months.
The group receiving manual acupuncture experienced the best results, with over half of the women reporting at least a 50% reduction in the severity of period pain.
Secondary symptoms such as breast tenderness, emotional instability, bloating, headaches and nausea were also reduced in the 12-month period following acupuncture treatment.
There are little to no side effects from acupuncture and the procedure itself is not painful. This makes it preferable as a treatment for period pain and other chronic pain over pharmaceuticals and hormones that may have undesirable side effects.
Acupuncture is also commonly used to treat hormone imbalances, erratic periods, menopausal symptoms, and infertility. It also has a relaxing and calming effect on the entire body that can be a helpful complementary treatment for a wide range of medical issues.
How Acupuncture Works to Treat Pain
Acupuncture is an ancient medical technique, traditionally used in China and several other countries to provide pain relief and treat various illnesses and disorders.
Acupuncture works on the theory that energy or “Qi” flows around the body along specific channels called meridians. When there is a blockage in these meridians, it is believed that the blockage is causing illness or pain.
Therapists trained in acupuncture stimulate specific points on the body by inserting fine needles under the skin, and sometimes deeper into the muscle tissue.
Needles are not necessarily placed at the site of pain. Chinese medicine believes all parts of the body to be connected. So, for example, acupuncture points in the hand can be used to treat headaches, toothache, and neck pain.
Several controlled studies have shown that acupuncture is helpful to relieve different types of chronic pain, including back pain, joint pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia. The largest controlled trial of acupuncture in emergency departments was recently carried out at RMIT University, and acupuncture was found to be as effective as pain medicine for long-term relief.
Acupuncture is used in many hospitals around the world and is recognised as an effective alternative treatment by several large organisations including the NHS in the UK and the US Army.
Treating the Individual for Chronic Pain
As traditional Chinese medicine is a holistic treatment that recognises that all parts of the body are interlinked and health may be affected by diet, lifestyle, and other factors, each individual is treated in a unique way.
If you would like to try acupuncture as a relief from period pain or any other type of pain, contact Performance Plus Massage for a personal consultation and treatment plan.