Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a common gynecological disorder which affects most women at some point in their lives. PMS is a collection of recurrent emotional symptoms, with or without physical symptoms, that generally occur a few days before a woman’s menstrual cycle. Typical emotional changes include irritability, tension and unhappiness, however, anxiety, stress, anger, mood swings, poor concentration, food cravings and changes in sex drive are also common. Physical symptoms such as sleeping disturbance, headaches, abdominal cramps, fatigue, constipation or diarrhea, breast tenderness, acne flare-ups or joint pain are also experienced by some women.
The good news? Acupuncture may be one of the best healing modalities for the management of PMS. In addition to thousands of years of empirical evidence, modern studies are beginning to uncover the science to back it up. In one 2018 study, researchers demonstrated that acupuncture led to a “significant reduction” in a number of variables tested in 60 women with primary dysmenorrhea (painful periods). The group that received acupuncture treatments over the course of 90 days reported improvement in “pain, menstrual cramps, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, faint, mood changes, tiredness, nausea, and vomiting” compared to the group that did not receive acupuncture.
Because acupuncture works on many levels, including regulating the nervous system, it has the ability to regulate many physiological processes. In the case of women’s health, acupuncture has been shown to regulate uterine and ovarian blood flow via its effect on the ovarian sympathetic nerves. During an acupuncture treatment, a registered acupuncturist will stimulate specific acupuncture points on meridian lines in the body to target the corresponding organs/systems experiencing stagnation. In addition to treating the areas actively experiencing symptoms, a skillful practitioner will also treat the underlying cause for effective long term and immediate relief.
Shetty GB, Shetty B, Mooventhan A. Efficacy of Acupuncture in the Management of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2018 Aug;11(4):153-158. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Apr 12. PMID: 29654840.
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