Periods are a reminder of our magical ability to grow an entire human being, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also suck. For one week each month, we’re expected to go about our regularly scheduled programming while bleeding and in pain.
Binging on chocolate and Netflix may provide some distraction, but there are also natural, more balanced ways to find relief. That’s where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) comes in; This foundational approach to health has been used in China for thousands of years and focuses on restoring balance across your mind, body, and spirit for optimal well-being. Read on for a list of TCM-inspired ancient remedies that are easy to integrate into any modern self-care routine.
- Spice it up with cinnamon & ginger: These powerful herbs aren’t just for cooking; they’ve also been used in TCM for thousands of years to combat period pain. And science agrees; one study found that they help reduce menstrual cramp intensity and duration.
Seamlessly work them into your diet by adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to your morning latte or infusing hot water with fresh ginger slices for a soothing elixir. You can also opt to get the benefits of both with NOOCI’s Noo Moon menstrual support formula. These sustainably sourced supplements not only relieve common PMS symptoms but help regulate the menstrual cycle all month long.
- Skip cold or raw foods: TCM believes that your blood is yin (cold) which can cause your qi (vital energy) to stagnate during a heavy flow, ultimately leading to cramps and bloating. As a result, it’s advised to skip cold and raw foods like ice cream and sushi (sorry!) which can exacerbate the pain during the menstruation cycle. Instead, try sipping on lots of hot tea and soup.
- Stay warm and cozy: To keep even more yin from entering your body and disrupting your qi, TCM advises keeping your belly and feet warm. Try using a hot water bottle on your pelvic region to relax your uterus muscles and increase blood flow to reduce pain. One study found that this tactic was more effective than over-the-counter pain medication. See? Our elders were onto something!
- Consider acupuncture: Probably the most well-known TCM practice in the west, acupuncture involves applying thin needles to pressure points throughout the body to improve qi and reduce pain. While more studies are needed, acupuncture may reduce the intensity and duration of period pain by up to 50 percent on specific pressure points.
If you think acupuncture may be for you, speak with your doctor first and be sure to find a licensed practitioner.
With a bit of ancient wisdom, it’s possible to not only survive but thrive, even during period week.