Acupuncture can help combat period pain and help relieve associated headaches and nausea.
In Australia, a small pilot study* of 74 women aged between 18 and 45 found that more than half had at least a 50% reduction in the severity of their period pain after undergoing acupuncture treatment for three months, with the effects lasting for up to a year.
Many of the women also reported less need to use painkillers to treat their period pain and improvement in secondary symptoms, including headaches and nausea according to the study published in the international journal PLOS One.
Known in medical circles as primary dysmenorrhea, period pain is most common in women aged under 25 and the most common gynecological problem among women generally, with four in five encountering it during their reproductive years.
The researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Auckland also found that manual acupuncture, where thin needles are inserted at certain points on the body, provided more relief than electro-acupuncture, which involves a small electrical current passing through the needles.
"Our pilot study found that using manual stimulation of the needles, rather than an electrical pulse, commonly used in many Chinese studies for period pain, resulted in reduced need for pain-relieving medication and improvement in secondary symptoms such as headaches and nausea," said Dr. Mike Armour, from the National Institute of Complementary Medicine. During the study, the women kept a diary and underwent one of four types of manual or electro acupuncture treatments.
The women reported significant reductions in "peak pain" during the first three days of their period and in "average pain" experienced over their entire period, with the effects sustained for 12 months. Many also experienced improvements in PMS-related symptoms such as mood swings.
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Disclaimer: This advice is not meant as a substitute for full medical check-up and advice from your GP or healthcare professional. Chinese Medicine should only be used to complement treatments advised by your GP or healthcare professional. Not a scientifically validated study