Dysmenorrhea refers to lower abdominal pain or other discomfort that affects normal life and work before, after or during menstruation.
Painful menstruation can be either primary or secondary. Primary dysmenolThea is usually seen among young women with abdominal pain following menarche, often caused by mental stress, maldevelopment of the uterus or excessive bending of the uterus that prevent a smooth flow of blood. Secondary dysmenorrhea is usually caused by organic pathological changes of the genitals, such as endometriosis, tumor or inflammation.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that dysmenorrhea is usually caused by irregular flow of qi and blood, blood stasis in the vessels due to qi stagnation which leads to an irregular menstrual flow and abdominal pain.
The Characteristics of the Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea
Dysmenorrhea usually occurs one or two days before menstruation or on the first
day of menstruation, gradually gets alleviated in the middle stage of menstrual cycle and finally disappears. The pain is usually in the lower abdomen, sometimes radiating to the waist and perineum. In severe cases the pain is sharp and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, headache, vertigo, even a pale complexion and cold sweats, which may affect
work or study.
Methods of Self-Massage Along Meridians and Acupoints
1. Point-Pressing Neiguan (PC 6)
Performance: Sitting position. The thumbs are used to press Neiguan (located two cun directly above the middle point of the wrist crease and between the two tendons) on each opposite ann for about a minute respectively (see Fig. 1).
2. Point-Pressing Xuehai (SP 10)
Performance: Sitting position. The thumbs are used alternatively to press Xuehai (located two cun medial and superior to the patella) on the same side for one minute respectively (see Fig. 2).
3. Point-Pressing Sanyinjiao (SP 6)
Performance: Sitting position. The thumbs of both hands are used alternatively to press Sanyinjiao (located three cun directly above the tip of the medial malleolus and at the posterior border of the tibia) for one minute respectively (see Fig. 3).
4. Point-Pressing Gongsun (SP 4)
Performance: Sitting position. The thumb of one hand is used to press Gongsun (located at the anterior lower border of the first medial metatarsal bone base and at the red and white margin) (see Fig. 4) for about a minute until a local numb and distending sensation is felt (see Fig. 5). Then the other thumb is used to press Gongsun on the other foot in the same way.
Among the acupoints mentioned above, Neiguan is located on the pericardium meridian, Xuehai, Sanyinjiao and Gongsun on the spleen meridian. So this method is effective in dredging meridians and regulating qi and blood.
5. Pressing and Kneading the Abdomen
① Performance: Supination with knees bent and abdomen relaxed. The hands are placed on top of each other to press and knead the abdomen with the navel as the center repeatedly, starting clockwise from the right to the left for about five minutes until a local warm sensation is felt. The manipulation should be gentle and swift, light first and then heavy (see Fig. 6).
② Effect: This method is effective in regulating qi and blood in the stomach and intestines as well as warming meridians and dredging collaterals.
6. Pressing Qihai (CV 6) and Guanyuan (CV 4)
Performance: Supination with abdomen relaxed. The middle finger of one hand presses Qihai (located 1.5 cun below the navel) and Guanyuan (located three cun below the navel) repeatedly for one minute until a local aching and distending sensation is felt (see Fig. 7).
Qihai and Guanyuan are located on the conception vessel. So this method is effective in regulating qi and blood and dredging meridians.
7. Stroking the lumbosacral region
① Performance: Sitting position with the waist and back relaxed and bent slightly forward. The palms and fingers of both hands are placed at the lumbosacral skin to stroke from the waist to the sacrum for about two minutes (see Fig. 8).
② Effect: This technique can help invigorate qi and nourish blood as well as warm meridians and disperse cold.
8. Squeezing and holding the medial side of the thigh
① Performance: Sitting position with knees slightly bent.
The fingers of both hands are used alternatively to squeeze the inner thigh from the groin to the knee for about one minute (see Fig. 9).
② Effect: The inner thigh is the area through which the three yin meridians of the foot pass. So this method is effective in regulating meridian qi and relieving abdominal pain.
1. Self-massage along meridians and acupoints is effective in treating primary
dysmenorrhea. The treatment should begin from the seventh day after the end of menstruation. Self-massage along meridians and acupoints is done one or two times a day and continued until three days before menstruation is to occur the next month. Such a treatment can be continued for two or three months.
2. Care should be taken to keep warm, exercise good hygiene, and avoid mental
aggravation and stress during menstruation.
3. Participate in more physical exercise to strengthen the constitution