Menstrual cramp relief is as close as your own two hands

My Hormonology

Menstrual cramp relief is as close as your own two hands

finger1I love when my period arrives. It means my Week 1 has started, which signals the end of see-sawy premenstrual emotions and a rise in mood-lifting estrogen for the next two weeks.

However, I’m one of those lucky ladies who doesn’t get intense menstrual cramps.

If you’re a woman who is plagued by painful menstrual cramps month after month, then you probably have a totally different view of getting your period. And it may not be a good one.

So, because I want you to enjoy your period week as much as I do, I’d like to tell you about an easy way to rein in the pain of menstrual cramps–and it doesn’t require pills, potions or teas. And, you can do it anywhere, anytime.

All it takes is pressing two acupressure points:

1. “Hegu”, which is between the thumb and first finger on the back of your hand where the bones meet in that “V” spot. You can see a photo of it here.

2. “Sanyinjiao”, which is on your inner leg about one hand-length above your ankle. You can see an illustration of where it is here.

To do it: Using your thumb, apply moderate to firm pressure on the point when it feels like you are “touching the nerve”. (Don’t push so hard that it hurts.) Press the spot in a circular motion for about 30 seconds. Repeat on each hand and each leg.

In multiple studies (such as this one, this one and this one), researchers instructed women with moderate to intense menstrual cramps to do this kind of acupressure on themselves–and they were told to do it for about 20 minutes once menstrual cramps started.

In follow-up surveys, those who did the acupressure on themselves during their period reported a significant reduction in pain–as well as anxiety and depression due to menstrual cramps.

How it works: Acupressure is an ancient Chinese practice that original practitioners believed would stimulate certain points in the body to release the flow of energy (or “chi”) and promote self-healing in the body.

Modern-day researchers now believe that stimulating these points triggers the release of endorphins–brain chemicals that ease pain and help muscles relax.

Whatever makes this easy technique work, it’s worth trying the next time your uterus is aching. If it works for you, let me know!

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