Acupuncture to relieve menstrual pain?

L'acupuncture pour soulager les douleurs de règles ?

Around 80% of women will experience painful periods, also known as dysmenorrhoea, in the course of their lives. 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 and so on.

To alleviate these pains and symptoms, menstruating patients can turn to medicine with drugs, but they can also turn to more natural medicines, such as acupuncture.

If you suffer from painful periods, opt for the comfort of organic cotton sanitary pads 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 "the art of metal needling". In 2010, UNESCO declared acupuncture to be one of the world's intangible heritages.

Acupuncture involves the application of fine metal needles to strategic points on the body, in order to re-establish the circulation of vital energy, the Qi, made up of Yin and Yang, and thus ensure good health and remission.

Traditional Chinese medicine is based on an energetic vision of the body, and believes that illnesses and other disorders of the human body are caused by an energy imbalance circulating via the body's meridians.

Acupuncturists place needles on specific points of the meridians (there are around 12 meridians and over 2000 points on the human body) to influence yin and yang, thereby restoring the proper circulation of energy, alleviating ailments or preventing their onset.

In France, it is mandatory to be recognized and certified as a medical specialist in order to practice acupuncture, and to assure patients that acupuncturists have all the knowledge necessary to practice this discipline.

How does acupuncture relieve painful periods?

For period-related pain, just a few sessions can help relieve it naturally and effectively. Acupuncture has shown long-term results in treating dysmenorrhea and PMS. So it's a good idea to have an acupuncture session during your period, or at specific times in your cycle.

How does it work? In Chinese medicine, menstrual cycle dysfunctions, as well as painful or heavy periods, are thought to be caused by an imbalance between Yin and Yang, leading to malfunctioning of one or more organs linked to the female cycle.

To relieve pain or regulate the menstrual cycle, the acupuncturist will stimulate one or more key points linked to the female cycle. This enables women to feel better immediately after the session, but also over the long term.

Several recent studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in treating menstrual pain. Acupuncture can also reduce pain over several months, even after treatment has ended.

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 diagnosis to understand how a woman's menstrual pain develops in her cycle: whether during premenstrual syndrome or during menstruation. This enables the acupuncturist to put into practice a personalized treatment with a precise number of needles and points to target. During this initial interview, it is important to describe your pain (onset, duration, location, etc.) as precisely as possible, so that the treatment can be tailored to your needs.

Note that acupuncture can treat all the symptoms associated with painful periods and premenstrual syndrome: headaches, cramps, nausea, low morale, breast tenderness, bloating, backache, heavy periods, irregular cycle, etc.

Several sessions will then be prescribed according to your profile. These can be carried out during your period to relieve pain, or outside your period to prevent future pain and act on a long-term basis. In all cases, the acupuncturist will adapt the treatment to the phase of your cycle.

During sessions, the acupuncturist will insert thin metal needles a few millimeters under your skin, then 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 modify your lifestyle to make the treatment more successful. This applies in particular to diet, to rebalance the body's energies and encourage the production of blood and Qi.

So, beyond simply treating the symptoms of your period, acupuncture allows you to rebalance your body in depth, so that you can live better with your period and PMS.

Acupuncture can also be performed on women taking 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 cost is reimbursed by the French Social Security system.

How do I find a reputable acupuncturist?

To find a certified acupuncturist, you can contact the French Acupuncture Association (AFA).

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.