Have you tried everything and still feel defeated by monthly menstrual cramps? Well, there’s hope for you, so keep reading for some of our favorite alternatives to consider.
You’ve probably heard of acupuncture, but have you heard of acupoint therapy? Both are based on ancient Chinese medicine, and taps into the body’s life force energy (also called qi) via specific channels, referred to as the body’s meridians. Practitioners of acupoint therapy stimulate the hundreds of acupuncture points located along these meridians, and for some, the result is significantly less pain.
How does it relieve the dreaded period pain? By stimulating an increase in blood flow to the uterus, the result of which can be a relaxing of the muscles that alleviate pain, much like a heating pad might do. When the muscles are relaxed, there are less uterine contractions, which is the movement that causes the cramping feeling.
Millions of people around the world—athletes, chronic illness sufferers, seniors with chronic pain—have attested to this option. Acupuncturists say that it works essentially because the practice uses our body’s innate energy to adjust hormones (by balancing our brain’s hormone regulatory system) and help bring our system back into a state of balance.
Too nervous to try acupoint therapy because needles are involved? Ask about acupressure techniques that require hands, not needles to help minimize menstrual cramp pains.
Physical activity alleviates cramps for some women, too, so get moving and see if that helps. Some women have also found relief through supplements such as calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, vitamins B and E. Similarly, some herbal products—cramp bark, fennel and pycnogenol, for example—have helped some women reduce cramps. Our favorite herbal supplement is Cramplex.
Other methods that have proven effective for some women include soaking in a hot bath, or applying a heating pad to the stomach area. Heat can be a really effective, and often easily accessible option to employ.
Along with any of these options, reducing your stress level and minimizing intake of tobacco and alcohol have also been effective in countering crippling menstrual cramps.