Many people are familiar with the idea of using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for back pain, arthritic pain or even headaches. Fewer people know just how good TCM can be for menstrual pain – but Asian women have relied on TCM’s gentle and effective techniques for thousands of years to provide comfort!
Here we are defining menstrual pain as any pain associated with normal menses. Usually the pain is due to the endometrium not separating completely or easily and can happen for numerous reasons. Hormone and metabolic imbalances, stress, poor diet, structural issues, neuro-endocrine disorders are some of the reasons menstrual pain occurs.
The pain is often felt as a dull ache in the lower abdomen or back. For some women, it is only mild discomfort for others the pain is so intense it can keep them in bed for days. NSAIDs, pain relievers, hormones, and palliative techniques (hot water bottles, heating pads, etc) can help take the edge off the pain. However, for some women this is neither strong enough nor effective.
TCM treats menstrual pain with a combination of approaches. In the clinic, acupuncture, moxabustion, massage, gua sha or cupping may be applied to ease symptoms (please refer to earlier articles for more information on these techniques). Often, Chinese herbs, supplements, therapeutic exercise, and diet recommendations are given to augment the treatment, addressing the symptoms as well as the cause of the pain. As this approach addresses both branch and root of the problem, it can provide superior results compared to taking pharmaceutical medicines. In other words, TCM can resolve the issue rather than just masking the pain.
More and more women are turning to TCM for relief of menstrual pain. If you or a loved one is suffering, please contact me to see how this wonderful medicine can help!