The menstrual cycle is an amazing diagnostic tool, with the activities inside a woman’s body reflected within the menstruation.

Often, a functional disorder somewhere in a woman’s finely tuned body, that hasn’t yet perceptually changed the structure of the body will be identified.

Rebalancing the body and ensuring the cycle and flow of menstruation occurs unimpeded, will improve the overall health of a women.

A normal cycle is regularly every 26–30 days, lasts for 5–7 days, the flow while it starts heavy, gradually lessens, has no clots and is not painful enough to take medication. Many women believe pain with every cycle is normal.

Painful Periods is a very broad term in western medicine and encompasses endometriosis, fibroids, trauma and we need to do some detective work to identify the pattern of disharmony that is specific to that woman.

There is a dictum in Chinese Medicine

Tong bing yi zhi        same disease different treatments

Yi bing tong zhi         different disease, same treatment

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is great at treating painful periods.

We look to the energetics of the Zang Fu organs liver, spleen and kidney when the main complaint is painful periods.

Why isn’t there free flow?

What is blocking that free flow of Qi or blood?

Where qi goes blood follows

To treat effectively we need to work out whether the pattern is repletion, vacuity or a mixture of repletion and vacuity in the Zang Fu mentioned above or the uterus itself.

Some questions a Chinese Medicine practitioner might ask are

  1. Does the pain occur before, during or after your period
  2. What makes it better
  3. What makes it worse?
  4. What does your flow look like
  5. Volume- how many pads/tampons used in a day
  6. What colour is the flow- bright red, dark red, blackish, crimson, pale.
  7. Consistency- watery, clots- if so what size 5c piece. , 20 c piece or 50 cent piece
  8. Do you suffer with any premenstrual symptoms?
  9. Tender breasts
  10. Irritability
  11. Headaches
  12. Diarrhoea
  13. Are you wiped out after your period?
  14. Is your cycle regular
  15. How is your digestion
  16. Appetite
  17. Bloating
  18. Indigestion
  19. Bowel habits
  20. Sleep habits
  21. Do you feel emotional (irritable, crying) before, during or after period
  22. Lifestyle- stress, toxic exposure

Chinese medicine is all about finding the relationships between symptoms and then being able to develop a treatment plan based on pattern discrimination.

This medicine is not a quick fix. It takes three months to make changes to a woman’s cycle when having weekly treatments. Chinese herbs are a fabulous adjunct and work synergistically with acupuncture to promote balance and healing within the body.

Flaws, B., 2005, A Compendium of Chinese Medical Diseases, Blue Poppy Press, Boulder.