SYDNEY, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Acupuncture can help alleviate period pain and reduce the need for painkillers, a study by Australian and New Zealand researchers has uncovered.
Dr. Mike Armour from Western Sydney University told Xinhua on Tuesday he felt compelled to conduct the study when he noticed a lack of effective pain management solutions for women.
"My wife suffered a lot from period pain, and when I went with her to the doctor, I was very surprised to see that there really weren't a lot of treatment options," Armour said.
"Period pain is very common, and many women suffer from it, but that doesn't mean they have to suffer."
Period pain, or dysmenorrhoea, is more common in women in their early 20s.
The pilot study conducted by Western Sydney University and the University of Auckland found from their sample group of 74 women aged between 18 and 45, the majority believed after three months of acupuncture that their period pain was reduced by at least 50 percent.
The traditional Chinese medicine technique was found to also reduce headaches and nausea caused by periods, minimizing the need for painkillers to address secondary symptoms.
"Many women resort to taking painkillers but there are some studies to suggest that long-term use of painkillers can have some negative implications," Armour said.
The study found manual stimulation of the acupuncture needles - rather than electrical pulse - proved to be a more effective method of pain management, and the majority of test subjects reported their discomfort during the "peak pain" time frame of the first three days of menstruation had been significantly reduced.
Armour believes the results signify a growing acceptance of some traditional Chinese medicine practices in the West, as being both safe and effective.
"Chinese medicine is becoming more and more accepted in Western medical circles as a treatment option for certain conditions, and it is definitely seen as an accepted method of pain management," he said.
"Acupuncture is an example of this, it is a very safe way of managing pain."
Armour said that initially they did not expect to find that acupuncture could also reduce secondary symptoms like headaches and would further investigate this in future medical trials.