About 80% of women will experience painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea, in their lifetime. But they can also experience pain before their period, during the premenstrual period, such as headaches, nausea, spasms, lower back pain, fatigue, low morale, stomach cramps, etc.
To relieve these pains and symptoms, menstruating people can resort to medicine with drugs, but they can also turn to more natural medicines, like acupuncture.
If you suffer from painful periods, choose the comfort of organic cotton sanitary protection such as menstrual panties.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapeutic art widely practiced in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture has existed for thousands of years and means "art of metal needles". Acupuncture has been registered in 2010 by UNESCO as one of the world's intangible heritages.
Acupuncture consists of placing fine metal needles on strategic points of the body in order to restore a good circulation of vital energy, the Qi, composed of Yin and Yang, and thus ensure the good health and remission of the person.
Indeed, traditional Chinese medicine is based on an energetic vision of the body and for it, diseases and other disorders of the human body are the cause of an energetic imbalance that circulates via the meridians of the body.
Acupuncturists therefore place needles on specific points of the meridians (there are approximately 12 meridians and more than 2000 points on the human body) to influence the Yin and Yang and thus restore a good circulation of energy, relieve ailments or prevent their appearance.
In France, it is mandatory to be recognized and certified as a specialized physician to practice acupuncture and to assure patients that acupuncturists have all the necessary knowledge to practice this discipline.
How does acupuncture relieve painful periods?
For period pain, just a few sessions can help relieve it naturally and effectively. Acupuncture has shown long-term results in treating dysmenorrhea and PMS. It is therefore worthwhile to have an acupuncture session during your period or at specific times during your cycle.
How does it work? In Chinese medicine, dysfunction of the menstrual cycle, as well as painful or heavy periods, are said to be caused by an imbalance between the Yin and the Yang, which would lead to a malfunction of one or more organs related to the female cycle.
To relieve pain or regulate the menstrual cycle, the acupuncturist will stimulate one or more key points related to the female cycle. This would allow women to feel better right after the session, but also on the long term.
Several recent studies have shown that acupuncture is effective in treating menstrual pain. Acupuncture could also reduce these pains over several months and even after the end of the treatment.
One study even showed that acupuncture was more effective than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in relieving menstrual pain.
How does an acupuncture session work?
During the very first session, the acupuncturist performs an assessment and a diagnosis to understand the course of the woman's menstrual pain in her cycle: whether it is during the premenstrual syndrome or during her period. This allows him to put into practice a personalized treatment with a precise number of needles and points to target. During this first interview, it is important to describe your pain (occurrence, duration, location, etc.) as precisely as possible in order to have an adapted treatment.
Note that acupuncture can treat all symptoms related to painful periods and premenstrual syndrome: headaches, cramps, nausea, low morale, breast tenderness, bloating, back pain, heavy periods, irregular cycle...
Thereafter, several sessions will be prescribed to you according to your profile. It will be done during your menstruation to relieve your pain, but also, depending on the case, outside of your period to prevent future pain and act on the long term. In all cases, the acupuncturist will adapt the treatment to the phase of your cycle.
During the sessions, the acupuncturist will insert thin metal needles under your skin a few millimeters and leave them in place for the duration of the session. But he or she may also use other tools to stimulate the acupuncture points.
The acupuncturist can also advise you to change your lifestyle for a better success of the treatment. This concerns in particular the diet to rebalance the energies of the body and to promote the production of blood and Qi.
Thus, beyond simply treating the symptoms of your period, acupuncture allows you to rebalance your body in depth to better live your period and your PMS.
Acupuncture can also be used for women who are on the pill and approaching menopause.
How much does an acupuncture session cost?
On average, an acupuncture session costs between 23€ and 80€. Part of the session is reimbursed by the French Social Security.
How do I find a trusted acupuncturist?
To find a certified acupuncturist, you can for example contact the French Acupuncture Association (AFA).