A Cochrane database systematic review by Australian authors has concluded that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture to reduce menstrual pain. Ten trials with data reporting on 944 participants were included in the review. The results showed that there was an improvement in pain relief from acupuncture compared with a placebo control or with Chinese herbs. In two trials acupuncture reduced menstrual symptoms (for example nausea and back pain) compared with medication; in one trial acupuncture reduced menstrual symptoms compared with Chinese herbs; and in one trial acupuncture improved quality of life compared with usual care. There was an improvement in pain relief from acupressure compared with a placebo control, and in one trial acupressure reduced menstrual symptoms compared with a placebo control. The risk of bias was judged to be low in 50% of trials and the authors called for further well-designed trials. (Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19;1:CD007854).

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