The review found that acupuncture and acupressure reduced nausea and back pain associated with period pain and improved quality of life compared to placebo controls and medication. The research is an example of the increasing evidence base being generated through clinical trials to validate the use of traditional acupuncture treatments.
Period pain is one of the most common conditions I treat in the acupuncture clinic at Breathe London and the treatment of period pain and other problems associated with the menstrual cycle are well documented in classical Chinese medical texts. I also combine acupuncture and herbal medicine for the treatment of period pain and from my personal experience find that the combination of the two is more effective than acupuncture on its own. The aims of the treatments are not to provide short-term pain relief but to provide long lasting changes so that even when treatments have finished period pain is significantly reduced.
Each person’s experience of pain is different and treating period pain with traditional acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is no different from treating other conditions with acupuncture. Although there a classical acupuncture points for treating pain, an individual diagnosis and treatment is essential for long lasting and effective results.
An In depth initial consultation is important during which a traditional diagnosis is formulated and the treatment is tailored to each patient and involves close monitoring of the menstrual cycle. The points used will also change throughout the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture may also be combined with moxibustion which involves the gentle warming of acupuncture points with the herb Artemisia vulgaris. Dietary and exercise advice are also given and a short course of herbs may be recommended. After acupuncture treatment for period pain many of my patients report other beneficial experiences including the relief of the symptoms of premenstrual tensions (PMT) including improvement in digestion and bloating, and also mood.
If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture and herbs can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.
1 Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19;1:CD007854.