Period pain can be debilitating and is just one of the many symptoms of PMS affecting women. I reached out to our certified and licensed massage therapists to get their advice on how massage can help with period pain and menstrual cramps.
So what is the best massage for period pain? Aromatherapy massage using essential oils: eucalyptus, lavender, roman chamomile and geranium, combined with massage techniques focused on the glutes and lower back to relieve pressure in the lower back will help immensely with period pain.
In this article I will show you simple massage techniques you can use at home to relieve period pain. I will also cover essential oil concoctions you can prepare and use for the massage.
Massage Techniques to Relieve Period Pain
I will show you massage techniques you can use at home to relieve period pain, but if you are looking for a more professional treatment, some massage therapists offer massage specifically tailored for PMS and you can book a massage online and have the massage delivered to your home.
Therapists who offer period massage will have the option listed in their menu and in other cases you can check with the therapist if they can tailor their treatment to help you deal with the symptoms of PMS.
There are 2 simple massage techniques you can use at home to relieve period pain. These techniques can be performed by yourself or you could ask a friend to help:
- Compression massage technique
- Foot Massage technique
The compression massage technique is especially useful to combat lower back pain caused by PMS and the foot massage technique can help relieve general PMS symptoms.
You can make use of essential oils when performing these massage techniques. Also, it may seem counter-intuitive but do not massage the stomach. Your focus should remain on the glutes and lower back.
Compression Massage Technique for Period Pain
The compression massage technique to relieve period pain focuses on massaging the glutes to help with general PMS symptoms and compressing the sacrum to relieve cramping sensations during the period
The sacrum is a triangular bone in the lower back just above the tailbone (coccyx). Follow the lower spine past the hips and you will locate the sacrum right in between the buttocks and above the tailbone. It forms a solid base of the spine and intersects with the hip bones.
To perform the compression massage technique for period pain:
- Have the recipient lie face down on a semi hard surface, a mattress will do just fine
- Position yourself behind the recipient or you can also stand beside them by their hips
- Locate their sacrum and place the heels of your palm on the sides of their sacrum while interlocking your fingers
- Squeeze into the sacrum with the heels of your palm applying pressure and hold for 15-30 seconds
- Release the pressure but continue pressing down on the sacrum with the heels of your palms, keeping your fingers interlocked
- Repeat the process of applying pressure and releasing pressure for a few minutes. Adjust the pressure applied to the needs of the recipient
You can perform this technique in combination with a basic back massage. Also you can use essential oils as outlined below while performing this technique.
Foot Massage Technique for Period Pain
The basic concept of reflexology is that by applying pressure on specific pressure points on the feet, hands, face or ears, corresponding organs and areas of the body can be affected to return the body to its natural state of wellness and balance.
In reflexology the area around the ankles relates to the lower abdomen and so by massaging the ankle, symptoms related to PMS including period pain can be eliminated.
You can also perform the foot massage technique on yourself and might not need the assistance of someone. To perform the foot massage technique:
- Have the recipient sit and place their feet out in front of them. If you are performing this technique on yourself, sit cross legged so you have easy access to your ankles
- Apply a little mixture of essential oils to your hands
- Locate the triangular area formed by the heel of your foot, your ankle bone and the Achilles tendon
- Hold this area between your thumb and fingers
- Glide your thumb in different directions, applying downward pressure, radiating out from the ankle as shown in the image
- Continue massaging with the thumb in a gliding manner varying the pressure to suit the recipient
- Perform this technique for a few minutes and repeat on each side of the ankle and on both feet
If you have a bit more experience you can simply apply pressure with the thumb as you move outward instead of using the gliding technique.
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Menstrual Problems
Aromatherapy massage and the use of essential oils have proven effective in treating the many symptoms associated with PMS, including period pains. The oils can be used in several different ways:
- Applied directly on to the stomach and abdomen, hips and lower back
- 5-10 drops added directly to bath water
- Mixed with a base vegetable oil to be used as an aromatherapy massage oil
The benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy will be apparent with regular use, typically after 2 whole period cycles.
Following is the general list of essential oils that help with period pain and symptoms related to PMS
|Fennel||Rose Bulgar||Rose Maroc||Geranium|
You can use a combination of the essential oils above or use them individually. For an aromatherapy massage mix the oils in a base vegetable oil. You can combine 3 essential oils in the ratio 3:4:3 and add it to a base vegetable oil to prepare your aromatherapy oil. Experiment with the oils listed above to come up with a concoction that works for you.
Other Ways to Fight Period Pain
Pre-menstrual syndrome is a hormonal problem. It has been suggested that period pains are caused by low levels of progesterone in the body. However more research is needed to prove a direct correlation. Fluid retention is also thought to be a crucial factor in causing the symptoms.
Apart from massage therapy the other ways to deal with period pain are:
Tranquillizers are medicinal drugs taken to reduce tension and anxiety. Tranquillizers are usually prescribed in bad cases of period pains, however you can easily become dependent upon them and require them each month
Heat Therapy in the form of heat applied through hot water bottles or hot baths can help you relax and cope with the period pain. Applying a hot water bottle to your stomach or abdomen area can offer quick relief from period pains
Meditation helps deal with period pain if you are experienced with the concept of observing and staying in the present. If you are able to practice meditation and bring your practice into observing your pain and staying in the present moment, you will be calmer and better able to deal with the pain and cramps
Typical Symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
Pre-menstrual syndrome is believed to be caused by low levels of the hormone progesterone in the body and also due to fluid retention in the cells. Since fluid retention affects every cell in the body, especially the brain cells, the symptoms can range from headaches to irritability and weight gain.
Symptoms of PMS can vary from women to women. Some women can have emotional symptoms like anger, frustration or weeping uncontrollably while others can have symptoms like breaking out in spots and pimples
The general symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome are:
- Swelling and tenderness of the breasts
- Aches, pains and cramps
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Irrational thinking, anger, frustration, irritability, depression
- Loss of libido
Is it safe to get a massage during my period? It is perfectly safe to get a massage during your period. In fact it is advisable to use specific massage techniques and aromatherapy to combat the various symptoms related to menstrual problems. However care should be taken to not massage the stomach (abdominal) region
Is heat or cold treatment better for period pains? Heat therapy is advised for period pains and cramps. You can use a hot water bottle and apply heat around your stomach and abdomen for relief from period pains. You can also use a hot bath to achieve the same effect. It is generally advised to stay away from applying cold packs during your period.