Before you reach for those pills to ease your period pain, take heart: there are several natural ways to do it, too. These organic methods don’t cause side effects. Even better, there is a high probability that you already have what you need to try these natural pain remedies.
Massage using essential oils
Aromatherapy, a healing treatment that uses essential oils, is widely known to ease pain by relaxing and soothing tight muscles. Fortunately for those suffering from period pain, a massage with certain essential oils on the abdomen, side, and back can make a huge difference.
The best way to ease menstrual cramps with essential oils is to use a combination of two or more oils. A 2013 study found that combining cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender oil with a carrier almond oil is the best combination. By rubbing this essential oil mixture onto their abdomens, the women in the study found that they experienced significantly less period pain (and less bleeding during menstruation) compared to the placebo group. This demonstrates that an essential oils massage is a great way to alleviate period pain.
Let’s also not forget that when you’ve got your period, a bit of pampering can also be great for the soul. The soothing effects of massage and the calming scent of essential oils may be exactly what you need to recenter yourself.
Adjust your diet
During your period, substances that affect pain and inflammation (a.k.a. prostaglandins) trigger your uterine contractions. One way to keep their effects at bay is to load up on anti-inflammatory foods and iron-rich foods. The great news is that these foods will not only decrease the severity of menstrual cramps. They will also help keep all your bodily systems working well. That’s a win-win!
Eat more of these, to boost your nutrients:
- Vegetables, especially broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, and leafy greens (Full of nutrients, and high in iron)
- Walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds (rich in manganese)
- Flaxseed (high in omega 3)
- Chicken and fish (high in iron)
Consume less of these, as they cause bloating and fluid retention:
- Alcohol and carbonated drinks
- Salty and fatty foods
- Refined sugar
- Preserved meat, especially canned goods
Herbal teas, specifically. More studies need to be done to further validate the therapeutic effectiveness of herbal teas. But you may still find that sipping one or two cups of herbal tea can ease the discomfort of your period. The following four herbal teas are especially effective at making your period more bearable:
- Chamomile tea. It doesn’t ease cramps but it does reduce fatigue and improve sleep. It’s the rest that will ease period pain. In fact, one study had women drink chamomile tea three times a day in the week leading up to their period. This resulted in less menstrual bleeding; therefore, less discomfort.
- Peppermint tea. Many people drink this tea to combat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It helps relax muscle spasms. But some sources say the menthol in peppermint oil can also help lessen uterine contractions, leading to reduced cramps.
- Green tea. A part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties can help keep period pain to a minimum. It also keeps you relaxed.
- Thyme tea. Thyme isn’t just for your roast chicken dinner! A study of 252 teenagers found that thyme tea helped reduce menstrual pain by a huge 63 percent!
Use a heating pad
It’s an age-old first-aid trick: applying heat on aching muscles. To ease period pain, place a heating pad on your abdomen and lower back. Lacking a heating pad, you can make one yourself. Wet two hand towels and squeeze out the excess water. Place one towel inside a ziplock bag, leave the bag open and zap it in the microwave on high for two minutes. Then seal the bag, wrap the other towel around it, and apply the bag on the cramp.
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