• Rachel Gotlieb

How to Ease Your Menstrual Pain with the Help of Traditional Chinese Medicine?

How many times have you had to miss out on you favourite activity or stay home from work due to period pain? Wouldn’t it be wonderful not to continually dread ‘that time of the month’ and be able to continue your life without disruption? Four in five women complain of suffering from period pain at some stage during their reproductive years.

Period pain is not a woman’s “lot in life” and can be successfully reduced and managed we are here to tell you how.

Period pain can be debilitating with accompanying symptoms such as nausea, bloating, changes in temperature, bowel patterns, tiredness and headaches, all sending them re

aching to pain medication. According to Western medicine menstrual pain and cramping can be caused by an underlying condition such as endometriosis or fibroids, or the pain cannot be explained in medical terms, often leaving women feeling helpless.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), your period is a reflection of the proper and balanced function of your internal organs such as the Liver, Spleen and Kidneys as well as the smooth flow of Blood and Qi (life force or energy). According to TCM, a pain-free period requires abundant blood to flow freely throughout your body. If you are suffering from period pain, most likely there is an imbalance.

For example, if you tend to feel moody or irritable before your period, suffer backache, tender breasts, headaches, digestive disturbances, and clots in your bleed, this will indicate that you may have Liver Qi Stagnation. According to TCM, the Liver is responsible for the smooth movement of Qi and Blood through the body. It also regulates the emotions and stores Blood. Stagnation of your Liver Qi is a modern pathology with the multiple things us women juggle (stress). If Qi and Blood do not flow properly, that can bring on the pathological symptoms.

Here are some small changes you can make to help you manage your period pain.

Diet; Before and during the time of your period, try to eat more warm foods and avoid cold or raw diet. This may not be the best time to indulge on ice cream. Cold foods tend to weaken the Spleen which hinders the flow of Qi in the body.

Exercise; Moderate exercise helps the Blood and Qi move in the body and helps you stay emotionally balanced. Try to take time to take care of yourself, not just others.

Acupressure; The pressure applied at specific points helps in increasing the flow of Qi through the meridians and clears the blockages. Applying pressure to these points for a few minutes when needed, may help you manage you period pain better.

Joining Valley (Large Intestine 4) is a pressure point that opens up the front of the body and decreases overall pain and inflammation. This one is located in your hand, on the highest spot of the muscle between your thumb and forefinger.

Bigger Rushing (Liver 3) is perfect for alleviating period cramps and regulating menstruation. It is located right between your big and second toe, about an inch down.

This point is great for anything that's 'stuck' (energy, blood, emotion, or muscle), during your cycle, or any other time.

Three Yin Meeting (Spleen 6) is a point located in the inner side of the leg, three finger widths above the ankle bone, close to the shinbone. Stimulating this point helps in relieving water retention, bloating, genital pain, abdominal cramps and irregular vaginal discharge. In addition, it is also beneficial for treating sleeping disorders, insomnia, dizziness and vertigo.

Acupuncture, moxibustion therapy and Chinese herbs can do great things to support the Liver and all of the body systems to promote a healthier period and a less painful flow. A new study led by Australian researchers tested the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments in relieving period pain. It was found that the women undergoing acupuncture more frequently experienced more significant improvements in period pain intensity and related symptoms, as well as in overall quality of life.

Period pain is not something you need to live with. Contact us to discuss your pattern.

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