Massage These Acupuncture Points to Relieve Period Cramps
Published | 6 min read
Many women experience dysmenorrhoea with symptoms that are mild to severe. This article lists acupuncture points to massage to reduce period cramps and discomfort.
Reduce Period Cramps with Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbal medicine and acupuncture help manage symptoms of painful periods. With herbal medicine, a combination of herbs can provide a well-rounded approach to relieving menstrual discomfort.
In acupuncture, stimulating certain points in the body with fine needles helps restore the flow of qi (life force or energy) and bring balance back to the body. Acupressure works similarly to acupuncture but makes use of manual pressure on acupuncture points (acupoints), making it a practice you can do yourself. Here, we list 6 acupoints to help alleviate period pain.
Acupoints to Help Relieve Period Cramps
Taking painkillers and covering the abdomen with a heating pad are the most common methods to reduce discomfort during menstruation. But for a more natural approach, acupressure massage can be ideal. It requires no tools and is easy enough for anyone to do. Let’s see which acupoints can help you be free from period cramps.
1. Tai chong (LR3, 太沖)
Location: On the dorsum of the feet on both sides, between the junction of the metatarsal bones of the first and second toes. It feels sore when pressed.
Benefit: This acupoint works to correct a stagnant Liver qi, soothing and spreading it, making it helpful for regulating the menstrual cycle. Blocked Liver qi is characterised by period cramps, lower abdominal pain, and breast tenderness.
2. San yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交)
Location: It is 3 inches above the inner ankles on both sides. To quickly select this acupoint, bring the four fingers together and place it on the tip of the inner ankle (as shown in the picture).
3. Yin ling quan (SP9, 阴陵泉)
Location: In the depression on the inner side of the calf and the inner and lower side of the knee (the inner and lower side of the tibia), on both the left and right legs.
Benefit: Regulates the Spleen, helps open the passage of water as it promotes its circulation, and is an acupoint that can resolve Dampness. Dampness in TCM describes what happens when the Spleen and Stomach aren’t working in harmony. This affects digestion, the absorption of nutrients and water, and food metabolisation. A blocked or stagnant yin ling quan (which feels tender and swollen when pressed) is characterised by dysmenorrhoea, pain in the genitals, incontinence, diarrhoea, gas, bloating, and sluggishness.
Di ji (SP8, 地机)
Location: Di ji (SP8) lies three inches below
Benefit: The di ji acupoint is used to treat gastrointestinal and gynaecological diseases and can help fortify the Spleen. Activating a stagnant di ji acupoint helps treat the symptoms of irregular periods, cramps, and stomach problems like abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
5. Yin bao (LR9, 阴包)
Location: Yin bao (LR9) is on the inner thigh, four inches directly above the knee (medial epicondyle of the femur). It lies on the upper part of the inner thigh, between the vastus medialis and the sartorius muscles. To locate it, bend your knees, and with all five fingers together, place your hand below the inner knee bone, facing towards your upper thigh. Where your hand ends on the upper, inner thigh is the location of the yin bao acupoint.
Benefit: This acupoint helps regulate menstruation by promoting the flow of Liver qi and blood. It is beneficial for period cramps, excessive bleeding, back pain, and disorders of the urinary system.
6. He gu (LI4, 合谷)
Location: He gu, the Tiger’s Mouth (hu kuo) of the hand, is the semi-circle formed by the thumb and your index finger. It is between the 1st and the 2nd metacarpal bones, an area that depresses like a valley.
Benefit: This is the main acupoint for disorders of the head, face, and the organs of the five senses. Many people use this acupoint to relieve pain throughout the body, such as headaches, which women also experience during their period. This acupoint also helps treat all Heat and pain syndromes for an overall sense of wellbeing.
How to Activate Acupressure Points in Your Daily Life
Once you’re familiar with these acupressure points, you’ll find it easier to locate them. To stimulate them, simply press or massage them for one to three minutes when you feel the beginnings of pain. How much pressure you apply depends on how sore the area feels. You may be comfortable starting with a light touch and eventually using firmer pressure. You can begin a regular practice of massaging these acupressure points once to twice daily.
Stimulating these acupoints habitually can help the flow of your qi, promote blood circulation, and regulate your menstrual cycle while helping relieve period cramps. Not only do they help ease menstrual aches, but they also benefit other parts of the body. Combining an acupressure massage practice with a healthy diet, exercise, and enough sleep will go a long way to support your overall health and wellbeing.
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