When Aunt Flo flies into town, many women suffer pain — some mild, some debilitating. Many women today also shy away from using over-the-counter medications to treat the monthly moans and groans in favor of natural treatments. One such cure from nature is menstrual massage. Do you know how to massage away menstrual pain?
Women can perform menstrual massage on themselves, or they can visit a licensed therapist. Those in partnered relationships can share with their loved one how they can help when period pain grows too severe. Here’s how the laying on of hands can ease the agony of those suffering from severe period discomfort.
How to Massage Away Menstrual Pain Easily
Many women shy away from mentioning their menstrual pain for various reasons. One reason remains the misogyny inherent in a patriarchal society that keeps women struggling to keep up with men in the workplace. It’s easy to pay lip service to equality, but much more difficult to achieve in a practical sense.
Consider this: As recently as 2017, one supervisor reported a female co-worker to human resources, claiming her use of a water bottle to assuage menstrual cramps made him feel uncomfortable. Sadly, the workplace isn’t the only place where women face discrimination for experiencing pain. Even trained gynecologists too often minimize how bad period side effects like severe cramps impact the overall quality of life.
Gender inequality matters aside, the only person who can determine the extent of monthly disability caused by menstrual issues is the individual woman herself. No one should force her to reveal her condition or explain what she does to get relief. Luckily, massage techniques like stimulating reflexology points are discreet and raise few eyebrows among co-workers or anyone else.
The first step in how to massage away menstrual pain involves learning which techniques prove beneficial. Many women experiencing menstrual discomfort find that massaging the lower abdominal muscles works well. However, those with a retroverted uterus may experience cramping along their lower backs. While some women with this condition experience symptoms like pain after having sex, many remain unaware of the positioning of their uterus absent their OB-GYN informing them during a checkup or fertility visit.
Here’s where working with a professional comes in handy, especially when first experimenting with how to massage away menstrual pain. Performing lower back massages with no prior knowledge of the right techniques can increase discomfort, not decrease it. Many health care offices that treat chronic pain patients regularly recommend massage therapy, so don’t be shy about picking up the phone and asking for a preferred provider. Some lucky people may find their health insurance covers the cost of this type of therapy as it reduces the need for more expensive treatments later — major score!
Many menstrual massage practitioners find stimulating certain pressure points relieves pain. By activating these points much as acupuncturists do, women can alleviate the worst of the cramping. As these techniques also relieve symptoms of PMS such as breast tenderness, nearly every female benefits from knowing a few basic techniques.
One such point lies in the webbing between the thumb and the forefinger. Pressing down on this area can alleviate many painful conditions, including menstrual cramps. Other acupressure points lie in the feet and the cartilage surrounding the ears — all areas that women can press without drawing attention to the fact they have “the monthlies.”
More importantly, science backs the efficacy of such treatments. One recent study revealed that women treated with acupressure during menstruation reported their symptoms receded by 50 percent when compared with a control group not receiving this natural procedure.
The Physiology of Menstrual Pain
Some women simply endure tougher periods than others. However, severe menstrual pain warrants consultation with a physician, as this may indicate an underlying disorder. Many such conditions can impact a woman’s fertility down the road, so seeking early treatment is key to preserving the ability to give birth later.
The contraction of the uterus can cause some cramps, and large chunks of tissue passing through the cervical opening, can likewise cause painful menstruation. Women who eat diets high in caffeine and processed foods may suffer more severe menstrual cramps than those who eat more cleanly. Physical activity levels likewise impact the degree of pain experienced, and many women find that taking regular exercise most days of the week helps alleviate periodic discomfort.
Some women produce more prostaglandin than others, leading to more severe symptoms once a month. This hormone stimulates uterine contractions, and women with higher levels of prostaglandin report more severe cramps than those with lower levels.
Alleviating Menstrual Pain Naturally
While many women find relief from painful menstrual cramps by popping a few over-the-counter pain pills, those choosing more natural treatment have many potential protocols to choose from. Menstrual massage offers one pathway for returning to optimal health without taking medications or making dramatic lifestyle changes.