Understanding Menstrual Cramps
Also medically known as dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps refers to the cramping or throbbing pains in the lower abdomen. The pain may be constant and it can radiate up to your lower back and thighs. This could happen either before or during menstrual periods.
Some women can get away with it while there are others who find it manageable. For others, menstrual cramps are so severe that it can affect and interfere with their daily activities. This is because during menstruation days, the uterus contracts to help expel its lining. Then hormone-like substances such as prostaglandin will trigger muscle contractions, thereby causing pain and inflammation. Severe contractions can also be due to constricted blood vessels that make it difficult to feed the uterus.
Aside from this, other causes of menstrual cramps include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Uterine fibroids
- Cervical stenosis
If you constantly feel pain during your menstrual cycle, some of the causes mentioned above might be the culprit.
The good news is there are drug relief to treat menstrual cramps. An example of this is pain relievers. Pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium and Mefenamic acid are the easiest and most convenient way to address dysmenorrhea.
However, heavy reliance on drugs and pain relievers cannot be the long term solution in relieving menstrual cramps. There are always accompanying side effects to the body due to drug consumption. Not all residues from drug intake can also be discharged from our body fully. For short term measures, applying a heating pad on the abdominal area can also offer relief and decrease symptoms associated with menstrual cramps.
What about natural methods? Aside from this, there is another solution, a traditional approach to be exact, which can be helpful in providing relief for menstrual cramps. This is where the traditional chinese approach through moxibustion therapy comes in.
Natural Herbal Treatment: Menstrual Cramps and Moxibustion Therapy
Just a brief background, moxibustion is a traditional technique in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that involves burning of a small spongy herb called mugwort (nicknamed “King of Herbs”) in order to facilitate healing. This technique has been used in Asia, most notably in Korea, Japan and China for thousands of years to strengthen the blood, immune system and stimulate the flow of qi, or the vitality of our body. This can help you maintain general health.
How can Moxibustion Therapy help Menstrual Cramps?
Moxibustion is a process wherein a herbal mixture including mugwort is wrapped into a cigar-looking stick called moxa. Once lit, the moxa is placed about one to two inches from your skin at the various acupuncture points related to menstrual cramps condition to build a sensation of heat and allow the therapeutic effects of mugwort to penetrate and absorb into the skin.
Chinese practitioners believe that mugwort can increase infrared energy, thereby supplementing qi and stimulating healing effects for your body. The moxibustion method is highly effective in relieving pain brought by menstrual cramps. By proper conditioning the body through the herbal treatment, moxibustion provides a long term remedy for menstrual cramps conditions.