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Acupuncture and Natural Treatment Options for Menstrual Cramps

Many women have resigned themselves to simply putting up with uncomfortable symptoms every month. They simply think that this is normal and that there is no treatment available for it. When I tell women that acupuncture and herbs work very well, many do not believe me until they start to see miraculous changes in their cycles. They no longer feel like the world is ending and they are no longer doubled over in pain for 3 days.

Well, this is actually one of the easier conditions to treat since acupuncture excels at moving stuck qi and blood. Needles disperse energy and promote circulation. That is their primary function. By harmonizing the flow of qi in the liver meridian, order is restored the woman’s body and mind.

Cramping is generally attributed to an underlying liver imbalance that is based on qi (energy) and blood stagnation. The liver is responsible for balanced circulation throughout the body; cramping pain is a sign that the blood has congealed and qi has become stuck. The primary cause of liver qi and blood stagnation is emotional in nature and is specifically related to the suppression of anger and frustration.

When you feel stuck in your life and your creative resources are thwarted, the natural byproducts are anger and frustration. The continued attachment to these emotions makes us feel stuck on all levels. Thus, the body will mirror to us this stagnation by impairing the circulation of qi and blood through the liver meridian. This, in turn, causes pain, mood swings, and further emotional upset.

For more information on PMS, view my article here.

Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs are an important part of the treatment of menstrual cramps.  Herbs can prevent the formation of blood clots, which are often the culprit of pain.  They are also useful for cysts, and small fibroids.  Herbs are used for a few months to cleanse the uterus, and restore health to the reproductive system.  While doing so, they also reduce or eliminate pain.  When health is restored to the uterus, herbs are no longer necessary, as long as the underlying condition is successfully addressed.  This is the goal of the treatment.

Herbs are also effectively treat other symptoms like painful breasts, irritability, and water retention.


Nutritional Supplements

Flax seeds:  Eat 2-3 Tbls of freshly ground flax seeds, in smoothies, yogurt, and smoothies.  The omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds reduce inflammation, and the fiber helps to clear excess hormones from the body.

Vitamins B12 and folate are commonly deficient in women and can lead to blood imbalances from the perspective of Chinese medicine.

Vitamin B6: promotes healthy levels of neurotransmitters and endorphins for emotional stability.  For a whole food form of B vitamins, try Floradix liquid vitamins, made from herbs and easily absorbed.

Magnesium: deficiency is strongly implicated as a causative factor in PMS (use 100mg 3x/day)

Vitamin E: 100-400 IU/day has been clinically shown to reduce PMS symptoms​

Nutritional Recommendations

Nutritional therapy can go a long way toward healing PMS and cramping. The standard American diet is certainly enough to create a host of problems for female health, including hormonal imbalances, various side effects of holding excess weight, low serotonin levels, and poor metabolism. Here are a few basic tips to consider if you want to use food to heal yourself:

Avoid refined sugar: Refined products in general should be avoided in order to heal PMS and cramping. Sugar in particular is harmful for all systems of the body.

Switch to eating an organic whole foods diet: Eating organic means that the food is free from added hormones and other synthetic agents. This one step should profoundly benefit your health.  Check out my Nutrition Basics.

Drink a lot of water.

Avoid coffee: Coffee is one of the main inputs into fibrocystic conditions. It is an irritant to the colon and liver and can cause blood stagnation over time. Switch to green tea if you need the caffeine.

Lastly, make sure you get plenty of exercise. This is an important consideration for healing ourselves in general. Try to get at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Find ways to manage your stress level. Yoga and meditation are incredibly helpful for this purpose (along with many others). Hopefully after reading this brief article, you feel more encouraged that there are steps you can take for PMS and cramping that you might not have known about.


​Don’t forget, it is common that natural therapies take time, as they have a cumulative effect over a few weeks. Be consistent and accurate in your treatment (which is difficult without some professional guidance) and you should make vast improvements.

PMS and cramping usually respond very well to treatment. The key is to give it sufficient time before discerning if it is working for you. My experience has been that women younger than 25 typically respond very quickly to acupuncture and herbs, while women in their 30’s and 40’s may need to be a bit more patient. This is because the time frame of progress is usually based on how long one’s symptoms have been present. The longer they have been there, the longer treatment tends to take. Even in worst case scenarios (long-term and severe symptoms), I still expect that the woman’s overall health should improve greatly within 2 months of weekly treatment.

Would you like to have a pain free life?  If you are in the Denver area, schedule today!


Questions?  Send me an email and I’ll be happy to answer them.

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