7 Ways to Reduce Period Cramps

4 min read

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By Physician Foo Shan Ju of Oriental Remedies Group

Key Takeaways

  • Period cramps are typically caused by insufficient or obstruction in the flow of Qi and blood to the uterus.
  • Traditional tonic soups such as Ba Zhen Tang (八珍汤) and Si Wu Tang (四物汤) aid in replenishing blood, harmonising menstrual periods and relieving period pain.
  • Natural remedies for period pain relief such as acupressure massage, Chuan Xiong and Dang Gui focus on rebalancing Qi and boosting blood circulation.

Having painful cramps during your period? According to Physician Foo Shan Ju of Oriental Remedies, period cramps are typically caused by insufficient or obstruction in the flow of Qi and blood to the uterus. In this post, she shares some self-care tips on how to ease these monthly discomforts.

1. Keep Warm 

Avoid cold drinks, reduce water sports and keep warm before your expected menstrual period.

2. Rebalancing with Tonics 

Traditionally, bā zhēn tāng (八珍汤) and sì wù tāng (四物汤) have long been used to support women's well-being. They aid in replenishing blood, harmonising menstrual periods and relieving menstrual pain. It is best to consume either of the tonics 2 days after the end of the period cycle and on a regular monthly basis.

Ba Zhen Tang (八珍汤)

Available in prepacked soup packs at Wing Joo Loong.
Serves 3-4

  • Simply put the herbs, 300-500g of meat and 1.5 litres of water into a pot. 
  • Bring to a boil and simmer at medium to low heat for 2 hours.
  • Serve warm.

Si Wu Tang (四物汤)

Simply add 300g of meat, 10g Prepared Rehmannia Root (熟地黄 shú dì huáng), 6g White Peony Root (白芍 bái sháo), 5g Chinese Angelica (当归 dāng guī) and 3g Szechuan Lovage Root (川芎 chuān xiōng) into a pot. Add sufficient water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer at low to medium heat for 1 hour. (Serves 1 to 2)

3. Ginger Tea

Drink Brown Sugar Ginger Tea 2 days before menstruation starts or when menstrual cramps occur. Boil 15g of brown sugar and 15g of young ginger in a pot of water.

4. Hawthorn Rose Tea

Blend hawthorn (山楂 shān zhā) with rose buds (玫瑰 méi guī) to disperse blood stasis and alleviate period pain. Infuse 6g of rose buds and 10g of hawthorn berries in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

5. Acupressure Massage

Whenever you experience period discomfort, apply pressure to these meridian points to rebalance Qi and relieve pain:

He Gu Acupoint (合谷穴)

Location: Tender point found on the back of the hand between the thumb and the index finger

Function: Hé gǔ (合谷) acupoint is a common point used to relieve pain and can help to relieve painful period cramps.

How to massage: Press the acupoint with your other thumb and massage for 1 minute each time.

Tai Chong Acupoint (太冲穴)

Location: Tender point between the big toe and second toe

Function: Tài chōng (太冲) acupoint belongs to the Liver meridian and can help to improve Qi circulation to help improve mood and reduce irritability.

How to massage: Press on the acupoint with your thumb and massage for 1 minute each time.

Qi Hai Acupoint (气海穴)

Location: 1.5 inches below the belly button

Function: Qì hǎi (气海) literally translates to “Sea of Energy” and is believed to be the point on the body where Qi gathers. Pressing this acupoint can help to increase Qi and energy and reduce bloating.

How to massage: Press with your index and middle finger and massage for 1 minute each time.

6. Supplement Your Diet with Nourishing Herbs

Add these TCM herbs to your cooking or as dietary supplements:

  • Chinese Angelica (当归 dāng guī): Nourishes blood, regulates the menstrual cycle and improves blood flow
  • Prepared Rehmannia Root (熟地黄 shú dì huáng): Nourishes kidney, regulates the menstrual cycle and improves blood circulation
  • Red Peony Root (赤芍 chì sháo): Improves blood circulation and relieves pain
  • Sichuan Lovage Root (川芎 chuān xiōng): Improves both Qi and blood circulation

7. Get Moving

Exercise moderately to improve blood circulation, strengthen immunity and increase Qi to overcome fatigue during menstruation.

The information above serves as a general guide only. Please consult a certified TCM practitioner for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

About the author

Physician Foo Shan Ju

Physician Foo graduated from the double degree programme of Biomedical Sciences and Traditional Chinese Medicine at NTU and was awarded the Nanyang and BUCM Scholarship for her outstanding academic achievements. Since graduation, she has been actively helping patients with injury and pain management, gastrointestinal issues and overall wellness, and has also developed a strong interest in fertility and sleep disorders.

Physician Foo firmly believes that every individual’s body constitution and conditions are unique and dedicates herself to crafting a treatment plan that is the most suitable for her patient. She believes in combining complementary tech-enhanced therapies with traditional methods to bring better and faster results to patients.

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