The Acupressure Hack That Can Relieve Period Cramps Almost Instantly

Experiences like clutching your stomach in pain while sitting in a meeting or lying on the couch while clinging onto a heating pad are all too familiar for us who experience period cramps. The dreaded first pang of pain can quickly evolve into a debilitating one that brings your day to a halt. For those whose cramps aren't as severe, they're still a nuisance to have to navigate the day with. Acupressure might just be a lifesaver for us all, regardless of how minor or intense the cramps are.

TikTok influencer @chrissybriel highlighted how acupressure can help relieve cramps, and her video has over half a million likes. People flooded the comment section, sharing their excitement to try the technique and reports on its effectiveness. "I just started doing it, and the cramps literally stopped immediately," one user said. The method, which has roots in an ancient healing system, is growing in popularity as more people come across the video explaining how to locate the pressure point and do the technique.

How acupressure works

Acupressure is used in traditional Chinese medicine and consists of applying pressure on different points in the body to remove energy blockages and get the energy — referred to as qi — balanced and flowing. It's like acupuncture but without needles. "Consider acupressure as an effective form of stimulation, used to help relax the muscle and to sustain improvement with minimum recurrence of symptoms," Santosh Kumar Pandey, a naturopathic healer, the founder of Mumbai's Shenmen Healing Center, and a member of the Indian Academy of Acupuncture Science and International Naturopathy Organization, told Vogue.

Various pressure points can help relieve menstrual pain. Some are located in the hands and feet, while others are located on the leg. The spot that's currently trending is tucked in your ear. "In traditional Chinese medicine, the ear is a microcosm of the body," Mindi Counts, integrative medical practitioner, Five-Element acupuncturist, and author, told Into The Gloss, "and there are hundreds of acupressure points found on the ear to treat everything from low back pain to headaches."

Chrissy Briel tells her viewers to grab an acupressure pen or an alternative, such as a regular pen, to begin. From there, she demonstrates how to massage the point located on the top inner point of your ear. She recommends massaging it with the tool for about 3-5 min and as many times as needed throughout the day.

Integrating acupressure into daily life

This trend is only an intro to the benefits of acupressure. Acupressure can help soothe anxiety, stress, nausea, headaches, insomnia, menstrual cramps, and more. It's an accessible form of healing because once you begin learning the pressure points, you use your hands to do the rest. There are some tools you can use if you want to get more involved in the practice, such as the acupressure pen Chrissy Briel mentioned, but there are quick and easy alternatives. "The most exciting thing about acupressure is that it's an inexpensive, safe, and simple form of self-care and self-healing," Ka-Kit Hui, M.D., director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, told Forbes.

Next time you're cramping, reach for the nearest pen rather than a painkiller and try acupressure — it might just provide the relief you need. If that works, research other acupressure points, too. You may find some more effective than others for helping with matters ranging from cramps to insomnia.