For many people, periods can bring not only bleeding and discomfort, but also intense cramping and pain. The physical and emotional toll of menstrual pain can be debilitating, making it challenging to go about daily activities.
While over-the-counter pain medication can help to alleviate some of the discomforts, some people turn to massages as a more natural and holistic way to manage their period cramps and menstrual pain.
Massage therapy can help to reduce the pain of menstrual cramps, as well as other symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). So, whether you're dealing with mild discomfort or severe pain, read on to discover how massages can be a game-changer for managing your menstrual symptoms.
In this article, we will discuss what period cramps are, the causes, and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. We will talk about how massages can help with period cramps and also explore some of the best massages for period cramps. We’ll also go over other ways you can alleviate menstrual pains and answer some common questions about period cramps and pains.
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What Are Period Cramps?
Period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These cramps occur when your uterus contracts to shed its lining. The intensity of the cramps can vary from person to person, but they can be quite severe in some cases.
The pain of period cramps can range from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. It is usually felt in the lower abdomen and can be accompanied by nausea, backache, headaches, and fatigue. Period cramps can also cause a feeling of bloating and can be accompanied by diarrhea or constipation.
What Causes Period Cramps?
The cause of period cramps is believed to be related to the production of hormones in the body. Studies have suggested that prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that are produced by the body, may be responsible for cramps.
Prostaglandins are released by the uterus and can cause the muscles in the uterus to contract. If the muscles in the uterus contract too strongly during the menstrual cycle, they can push against nearby blood vessels. The momentary cut off oxygen to the uterus resulting in cramps and pain.
Other potential causes of period cramps include
- Endometriosis: It is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain and discomfort.
- Adenomyosis: Adenomyosis is a treatable condition in which the endometrium grows into the muscle wall of the uterus.
- Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can cause pain and discomfort during menstruation.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): It is an infection of the reproductive organs that can cause pain during menstruation.
- Intrauterine device (IUD): Some women may experience cramping after inserting an IUD as the body adjusts to the foreign object.
- Stress: Stress can be a major cause of muscle tension and may exacerbate period cramps.
Other Symptoms Of Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that many people experience in the days leading up to their period. Common symptoms of PMS include bloating, breast or chest tenderness, irritability, fatigue, depression, and changes in appetite.
In addition to these symptoms, many women also experience cramps during their period. These cramps can range from mild to severe and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and dizziness.
The severity of the cramps can vary from person to person and can be affected by lifestyle factors such as stress, diet, and exercise. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in the days leading up to your period, it is important to talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
How Can A Massage Help With Period Cramps?
Massage therapy can be helpful in reducing the discomfort of period cramps by relaxing tense muscles and increasing blood flow to the affected area. Here are some ways that massages can help with period cramps:
- Promotes relaxation: Massage therapy may promote calmness and reduce stress, which can help reduce the intensity of period cramps.
- Increases blood flow: Massages can help increase blood flow to the uterus, which can reduce cramping and help relieve pain.
- Decrease stress: Massages can also help reduce tension, which can exacerbate menstrual cramps. Stress can cause the muscles around the uterus to contract more, leading to more painful cramps.
- Reduces muscle tension: Massage therapy may ease pelvic muscular tension, which can help alleviate some of the discomforts associated with period cramps.
- Triggers the release of endorphins: Massage therapy can trigger the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help reduce the severity of period cramps.
It's important to note that massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment for severe period cramps. However, it can be a helpful complementary therapy that can help reduce discomfort and improve overall well-being.
Types Of Massages Used For Period Cramps
Different types of massage can be used to target specific areas of the body and provide relief from menstrual pain. Here are some of the most common types of massages used to treat period cramps:
It involves the use of warm oil to massage the abdomen and lower back area. The massage helps to relax the muscles and reduce tension in the body. It also increases the circulation of blood in the area, which helps to reduce pain and discomfort.
The massage is usually done with warm oils such as almond oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil can also be used. The oil should be applied gently to the area and massaged in circular motions. It is important to be gentle and not to press too hard as this can cause more pain.
The massage should be done for at least 10 minutes and can be repeated several times a day. This helps to reduce the pain and discomfort of period cramps. It also helps to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with PMS. Oil massage can be done at home or at a professional spa. If you are doing it at home, make sure to use a clean towel and a clean oil bottle. It is also important to use good-quality oil.
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This massage technique involves applying pressure to the abdominal area with the hands, fingers, or a massage tool. This pressure helps to reduce spasms and relax tense muscles. Compression massage is also known to improve circulation and reduce inflammation.
Compression massage can be done using the hands and fingers or a massage tool. When using the hands, the massage therapist will apply pressure to the abdominal area in a circular motion, using the palms of the hands and fingers.
When using a massage tool, the massage therapist will use a rolling motion to apply pressure to the abdominal area. This rolling motion helps to reduce tension and relax the muscles in the abdominal area.
Shiatsu massage is a traditional Japanese therapy that has been used for centuries to provide relief from a variety of ailments, including period cramps and menstrual pain. Shiatsu massage is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is performed with the hands, fingers, and thumbs.
The massage therapist applies pressure to specific points on the body, known as acupressure points, to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. Shiatsu massage is an effective way to relieve period cramps and menstrual pain, as it helps to relax the muscles, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation.
During a Shiatsu massage, the therapist will use their hands, fingers, and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points on the body. The pressure is usually gentle and rhythmic and is applied in a circular or up-and-down motion.
Can I Give Myself A Massage For Period Cramps?
Yes! Giving yourself a massage is a great way to relieve period cramps and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). There are a few different techniques you can use to give yourself a massage and provide relief from period cramps. Many choose between an oil massage, compression massage, or a shiatsu massage. Although it’s best to discuss your preferences with a massage therapist before your next massage.
Other Ways To Alleviate Your Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps can be a painful and uncomfortable experience for many people. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with period cramps. While massages are an effective way to provide relief, there are other options available that can help to reduce the severity of cramps.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help to reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, and can help to reduce stress and tension in the body. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and yoga are especially beneficial for relieving period cramps.
- Heat: Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the abdomen can help to reduce cramping. The heat helps to relax the muscles in the abdomen, which can reduce the intensity of the cramps.
- Diet: Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed foods and junk food can help to reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. Eating foods that are high in magnesium, such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, can help to reduce cramping.
- Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies such as ginger, chamomile, and peppermint tea can help to reduce cramping. These herbs have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that can help to reduce the severity of cramps.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. It can help to reduce the severity of menstrual cramps by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes. This practice requires a high level of expertise.
Massages can be a great way to relieve period cramps and menstrual pain. There are many types of massage techniques that can be used to help reduce the discomfort associated with menstrual cramps. Oil massage, compression massage, and Shiatsu massage are all effective methods for providing relief from period cramps.
Additionally, you can also give yourself a massage to help with period cramps. Other ways to relieve menstrual cramps include using heat or cold treatment and rubbing your belly. Always remember to consult with your doctor before trying any new treatment for period cramps and menstrual pain. With the proper massage technique, you can relieve your period cramps and enjoy a more comfortable period.
Ready to say goodbye to those painful period cramps and menstrual pains? Treat yourself to the best massages for menstrual pain relief and experience the soothing and relaxing benefits for your mind and body! Book an appointment today and say hello to a happier, pain-free period!
If you want to explore other topics of interest, take a look at:
- Massage Therapy and Injury Prevention
- How to Choose the Right Massage Therapist
- Deep Tissue Massage: Relaxation At Your Fingertips
- Barcikowska, Z., Rajkowska-Labon, E., Grzybowska, M. E., Hansdorfer-Korzon, R., & Zorena, K. (2020). Inflammatory markers in dysmenorrhea and therapeutic options. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(4), 1191. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041191
Is it safe to get a massage during my period?
Yes, getting a massage during your period is generally safe and can even provide relief from menstrual cramps. However, it is important to communicate with your massage therapist prior to your massage session to ensure that they are aware of your condition and can take the necessary precautions.
What pressure point relieves period cramps?
Pressure points can be used to relieve period cramps. The most common pressure points used for period cramps are in the feet and hands.
In the feet, the points are located between the big toe and the second toe.
In the hands, the points are located between the thumb and the index finger. Applying pressure to these points can help to reduce the intensity of the cramps and provide relief.
In the legs, the point is located three finger widths above the inner ankle bone.
Is heat or cold treatment better for period pains?
Both heat and cold treatments can provide relief from period cramps.
Heat therapy, such as hot water bottles or electric heating pads, can help to relax the muscles and reduce the intensity of the cramps.
Cold therapy, such as ice packs or cold compresses, can help to reduce inflammation and provide relief from the pain. It is important to experiment with both types of treatment to find out which one works best for you.
Does rubbing your belly help with menstrual cramps?
Rubbing your belly can help to reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps. Massaging the abdomen can help to relax the muscles and reduce the intensity of the cramps. It is important to be gentle when doing this, as too much pressure can be uncomfortable.