Updated: May 3, 2019
I have not yet met a woman who has not at some point in her post-pubescent life, suffered through the excruciating pain of cramps during or around her period. “Clawing, stabbing, dull, distended, debilitating” are just some of the words we describe our misery when we suffer through period cramps, or dysmenorrhea.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) view, the Liver and Kidney are the organs responsible for the regulation of our menstrual cycles. Any imbalances in these organs will lead to an imbalance in our cycle (i.e. painful periods, irregular, heavy, light, etc). There are many ways to address these imbalances specifically through acupuncture and herbs. But since I can’t give you either of these treatments on this blog, I will give you 5 amazing tips on what you can do at home when you are starting to sense that “I’m-about-to-get-it” feeling:
Avoid cold and raw foods around the time of your period. No ice cream, ladies! These foods can cause cold to accumulate in your body which can exacerbate cramps.
Eat foods rich in folic acid a few days before your period (spinach, broccoli, peas, asparagus lentils, egg yolks, sunflower seeds, etc). And of course, please COOK them. :)
Breathe! We all tend to hold our breaths when we are in pain, which deprives our body of much needed oxygen. This causes our body to panic even more and we become more sensitive to pain. Breathe in deeply through your nose as you count to 4, and exhale fully through your mouth as you count to 6.
Abdominal massage. Don’t be scared to touch your tummy! A lot of things are going on in there and your muscles are contracting like crazy. Together with your breathing, slowly apply pressure below your belly button using the tips of your fingers (both hands). Then start applying more pressure while doing circular motions with your fingertips. If it’s too much, back off and only apply as much pressure as you can tolerate. If you are highly sensitive to any pressure, a light touch with the palms of your hand and doing circular motions on your lower belly will work too.
Heat: Maybe most of us know this already. Heat helps relax those muscles and allow for blood to flow through nicely. Place some hot water (not boiling) in a bottle then wrap in a light towel or thin blanket. Place the towel-wrapped hot water bottle over your lower belly and continue to do your breathing exercise.