Anyone who’s ever suffered from period pain will testify that when those cramps kick in you’ll try near on anything to get rid of it.
But while necking painkillers, hitting the sofa with a hot water bottle and stockpiling the chocolate are the more conventional remedies women turn to for relieving the symptoms, a new study has put acupuncture at the top of the period pain treating list.
Researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Auckland have found that the ancient Chinese practice can significantly reduce the severity and duration of period pain.
And the good news doesn’t end there because not only does the study claim acupuncture can reduce pain at that time of the month by half, it also found it relieved associated headaches and nausea.
“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,” explained study author Dr Mike Armour.
“The latter was unexpected and will be explored further in future, larger trials.”
The pilot study, published in the international journal PLOS One, saw 74 women aged between 18 and 45 undergo acupuncture treatment for three months and found that more than half had at least a 50 percent reduction in the severity of their period pain after treatment.
Many of the women also claimed they needed fewer painkillers to treat their period pain and reported an improvement in secondary symptoms such as headaches and nausea.
During the study, the women kept a diary and underwent one of four types of manual or electro acupuncture treatments.
Twelve treatments were carried out either once or three times a week over three menstrual cycles.
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 lasting for a year.
“Treatment timing appears to play a small role, with high frequency of treatment providing greater improvements in health-related quality of life,” the researchers wrote.
It’s not the first breakthrough in the search for a cure for period pain. Last year we reported on a magical chocolate bar that has been specifically designed to tackle menstrual cramps.
Chocolate With Love has created ‘Frauenmond’ which rather sweetly translates as ‘women’s moon’ and contains 17 different pain-relieving herbs from the mountains in Switzerland.
The effect is a chocolate bar that not only gives us that delicious chocolatey feel-good hit, but that also works to create a soothing effect on our cramping bodies.
Two potential new remedies for period pain will come as welcome news for many women who’s every day lives are often inhibited by severe period cramping.
A YouGov survey of 1,000 women for BBC Radio 5 live’s Emma Barnett programme found that 52% of women have found period pain severe enough that it has affected their ability to work. So much so that nearly a third have taken at least a day’s sick leave as a result.
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