Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan on November 24, 2022
Can Acupressure Help Relieve Period Cramps?
Published | 6 min read
Acupressure can help reduce period cramps by unblocking meridians and promoting blood flow. Best of all, you can do these right at home as needed.
Did you know that approximately 80% of women will experience
This may include missing work or being unable to participate in everyday activities until the pain goes away.
For many women, over-the-counter medications do not work. They may even cause unwanted side effects that add to your symptoms.
In this guide, we’ll explain how acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be used to help alleviate period cramps.
How To Treat Period Cramps With TCM
In 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.
Ginseng(Ren Shen), atractylodes(Bai Zhu), and astragalus(Huang Qi) to strengthen a weak constitution
- Cervus nippon (Mei Hua Lu), cinnamon (Ro Gui), and
Eucommia ulmoides(Du Zhong) to nourish the body
- Chinese herbs
Angelica sinensis(Dang Gui), white peony root (Bai Shao), Szechwan Lovage Rhizome ( Chuan Xiong),motherwort (Yi Mu Cao), and Cyperus rotundus (Xiang Fu) to relieve period cramps
In acupuncture, stimulating certain points in the body with fine needles helps restore the flow of qi (life force or energy) and restores balance to the body. Acupressure works similarly but makes use of manual pressure on acupuncture acupoints. This makes it a practice you can do yourself.
Acupoints That 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. Below, we list 6 acupoints to help alleviate period pain.
1. Tai Chong (LR3)
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
2. San Yin Jiao (SP6)
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).
Benefit: San Yin Jiao is where the Liver,
3. Yin Ling Quan (SP9)
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 metabolization. A blocked or stagnant
4. Di Ji (SP8)
Location: Di Ji (SP8) lies three inches below Yin Ling Quan (SP9). To quickly find it, you can bring four fingers together and place it under Yin Ling Quan.
Benefit: The Di Ji acupoint is used to treat gastrointestinal and gynecological 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 diarrhea.
5. Yin Bao (LR9)
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
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)
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 well-being.
How To Activate Acupressure Points
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 well-being.
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