How can Acupuncture and TCM help menstrual cramps and pain?

Do you suffer from PMS or menstrual cramps? Have you tried Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Acupuncture?

Unfortunately, most of us experience some period pain, cramping and discomfort before or during our period. Changes over time, to your period or symptoms, are to be expected, but if there is a sudden noticeable difference, stress or diet for example could be impacting your symptoms.

We had heard from a few of our customers that TCM and acupuncture was very effective in reducing the intensity of their menstrual cramps and the length of time their pain was experienced. Unlike painkillers, proponents of TCM say, it doesn’t just treat the symptoms as they occur, but has an effect to lessen period pain for future cycles.

TCM has been being practised in China for over 2'000 years, yet it is only recently, that it is moving into mainstream global healthcare as a complimentary health treatment. For the first time, in 2019 the World Health Organisation included TCM remedies in it's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).

Emese Besedes, an experienced and certified TCM practitioner spoke to us about her work

We were excited to have the opportunity recently, to talk to Emese Besedes, an experienced TCM practitioner at the Arcus Medical Practice, near Zürich, Switzerland. After completing her masters in California 10 years ago Emese returned to Switzerland and has worked as a TCM therapist since then.

Emese Besedes, TCM Arcus
Emese Besedes, Arcus Practice

Firstly Emese, what exactly is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

“Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic medical science that transmits universal natural laws to humans – both when healthy and sick.

TCM does not treat individual physical symptoms, but looks at the whole person and starts with the root cause of a health problem. Considering all internal and external factors, TCM tries to restore harmony to body, mind and soul.

TCM therapists use various methods such as acupuncture, moxibustion, Tuina massage, cupping or herbal therapy. An important element of therapy is also a coordinated diet and lifestyle.“

Emese, please describe some of the most common menstrual problems and what you would recommend we can do ourselves to treat them?

“Your breasts are achy and taut, your stomach is cramping up and you would like to live exclusively on chocolate. Does this scenario sound familiar?“ ....(oh YES?!)

“Many women don't feel comfortable in their skin before or when they have their period. Abdominal pain, cramps and heavy bleeding is distressing and can cause many women to be out of action for a few days.

Some women also struggle with blemished skin, cravings for sweets and severe mood swings. But what can women do about it?

It is really important to listen to your body. Get enough rest and sleep when you need it. Eat that piece of chocolate when you feel like it. But make sure you also do something good for your body and soul, for example, eat healthy food or go for a walk in the fresh air.

Warmth also helps many women, a hot water bottle or a warmed cherry stone pillow can sometimes work wonders and make stomach and back pain disappear. “

What can be done if these menstrual symptoms do not get better and cause persistent pain?

“A permanent change in diet can be a good basis for eliminating skin problems and balancing mood swings.

In my TCM treatments I work with my patient individually, and depending on her constitution, I can recommend what she should eat more of and what is best to avoid.

In general, however, it is advisable to eat as many fresh vegetables and fruits as possible. It is best to steam vegetables and eat food warm. Prepackaged products should also be avoided. This applies in general, not just during your period.

"I often advise acupuncture, moxa (heat therapy) and Chinese herbs for menstrual pain."

There are 360 diifferent acupuncture points on your body

I often advise acupuncture, moxa (heat therapy) and Chinese herbs for menstrual pain. Unfortunately sometimes diet and lifestyle changes are simply not enough and you need to go a little deeper. TCM offers excellent treatment options that can bring the body back into balance from the root. Acupuncture, for example, stimulates various points that, depending on the TCM diagnosis, can release painful blockages, warm energy pathways or build up the Qi, as energy is called in TCM.“

"Traditional Chinese Medicine offers excellent treatment options"

Always use a certified TCM Practitioner

TCM can be used as a supplement or alternative to traditional western medicine for a variety of other problems, for example Emese and her team will treat infertility, irregular menstrual cycle, morning sickness, breast milk production and mastitis.

If you live near Zürich, Switzerland, Emese and her team will be happy to give you advice and treatment in a personal consultation. See below for her contact details.

Glossary of the different TCM therapies Emese and her team use:


Acupuncture is the most known Chinese healing method. It restores the balance in the whole organism, relieving pain, healing diseases and strengthening the immune system. Sterile needles are introduced at certain energy points during treatment to lead the flow of energy.

There are 360 different acupuncture points on your body, the extremely thin needles are placed in the specific points to help your specific treatment.

Tuina Massage

An independent, manual Chinese massage that helps identify blockages and heals them. Unlike Western massage techniques, Tuina always requires an initial in depth diagnosis to determine malfunctions in energy pathways and what is causing them. Can be given full clothed or with oils on the skin.


Cupping is a therapy used in the treatment of the local Qi and of the congestion of blood flow in the meridians. Cupping cleanses the body and stimulates the blood circulation as well as the flow of energy (Qi flow). In this way pain can be alleviated and the self-healing powers of the organism stimulated and strengthened.


In moxibustion, a moxa stick of medicinal herbs is lit and either attached to an acupuncture needle or held by hand near the meridian point. The heat penetrates deep into the body, relaxes, relieves pain and strengthens the body’s self-healing abilities.


In GuaSha, areas of the skin are scraped with a scraper made of horn or ceramics, until it becomes red. The superficial blood vessels are opened to promote blood circulation and metabolism and to relieve musculoskeletal discomfort.

Acute and chronic respiratory inflammation such as colds or flu infections, musculoskeletal pain and metabolic problems respond very well to GuaSha.

Nutritional advice according to TCM

Since proper nutrition is an important preventative measure against disease, TCM also includes a holistic nutritional system. According to the individual TCM diagnosis, the diet and preparation of food is adapted to the patient’s energy needs and constitutional requirements. Extreme changes or one-sided diets are avoided.

Contact  Emese Besedes: 
Tel: 0041 44 720 20 12
Instagram: @arcus_tcm