Cramps. Just that word makes women shudder. This is the reason most of us got acquainted with Tylenol, Midol and whatever else painkiller was in the medicine cabinet.
But maybe we Westerners should think outside the box when it comes to beating this type of pain. What about acupuncture? Many persons absolutely swear by it and use it for ailments such as fibromyalgia, headaches, low back pain, and yes, even menstrual cramps.
Simply put, acupuncture “involves the insertion of extremely thin needles in your skin at strategic points,” as related by the Mayo Clinic. It is a practice that began thousands of years ago in China. Here in the West, we have adopted this technique with the view of stimulating nerves, muscles and connective tissue. For some, acupuncture seems to help the body decrease pain and heighten blood flow.
Additionally, Healthland.time.com cited studies that proved that acupuncture did indeed decrease menstrual cramps. A total of 27 studies with 3,000 participants were compiled. In the end, researchers came to the conclusion that acupuncture had actually reduced menstrual pain. Researchers even found that those with severe menstrual cramps were helped more from the acupuncture than traditional painkillers.
Mayo Clinic, however, reported just the opposite, citing, “Several studies have found that acupuncture has little or no effect beyond that of the sham treatment used in some study participants – the control group – for comparison.” But it was also added that, “The lack of firm results can be explained, in part, by the difficulty of devising a realistic but inactive stand-in for acupuncture.”
In the end, does acupuncture help? Should you try it if you are seeking to get rid of or decrease painful cramps? The answer is, why not? The risks are very low, especially if you don’t have a bleeding disorder or a pacemaker and if the doctor you pick is qualified – ask you regular doctor for a referral. While many have found this practice to be extremely helpful, do keep in mind that it may not be for you or may not give you the results you seek.