Photo by hypertypo.
Some women find that abdominal massage can help reduce the pain associated with menstrual cramps.
In this post, I will outline a basic abdominal self-massage routine for you to use.
Abdominal massage can be carried out while sitting, standing, or lying down. I personally use this self-massage routine while laying down as I find it more comfortable and relaxing. I would recommend placing a small pillow under your knees to take the strain off your lower back which can also be quite painful during menstruation.
The following massage routine is very simple to do and only takes 5 minutes! Carry out daily starting a couple days before your period and then continuing throughout to gain maximum benefit, or just use it when you are in pain.
Pour a small amount of massage oil into the palm of your hands and rub your hands together. You only need a 50p-size amount (approx. 1tsp) of oil in the palm of your hand to carry out the massage but this will depend on your size and your skin type.
Place the palm of your dominant hand (left hand if you are left-handed or right hand if you are right-handed) above your belly button and the other hand on top. At this point I like to take three deep breaths to help me relax and center myself.
Slowly rub your stomach with both hands in a clockwise direction starting from the lower right of your abdomen for 20-30 times. The clockwise direction is synchronous with the digestive pathway of your colon. Move your hands below your rib cage on either side of your torso and massage in a downward direction towards the groin 5-6 times. Finish by kneading the abdomen in a circular motion 3-4 times, again in a clockwise direction.
You may also find it beneficial to follow the abdominal massage with some massage around the lower back and hips.
Place both hands on your hips with your thumbs at the front and fingers facing each other on either side of the spine. Use your fingers to massage in a circular motion around the hips, across the tops of the buttocks, and around the sacrum area. Change your hands over so that your thumbs are now at the back. Use your thumbs to massage your lower back in the same circular motion as before. With thumbs placed either side of the spine, slide the thumbs outward toward the hips applying pressure as you go. Do this all the way down to the top of the buttocks.
Essential oils can also be beneficial for menstrual cramps. Basil, Clary Sage, Fennel, Geranium, Juniper, Marjoram, Cypress, and Peppermint are all excellent oils to use for this.
I would recommend blending 9 drops Clary Sage, 8 drops Geranium, and 8 drops Cypress with 50ml of Sweet Almond or Grape Seed carrier oil. Use this therapeutic blend to massage your abdomen and lower back. You will probably find that this amount will last you throughout your period.
Always perform a patch test before using the blend on a large area of the skin and body, especially if you have sensitive skin. Simply place a drop of the blend on the inside of your forearm and leave on over night. If any redness or itching occurs (this may happen instantly or appear the next day), immediately wash the area to remove the oils and discontinue use.
Abdominal massage is also beneficial for other ailments such as bloating, IBS, constipation, colitis, endometriosis, sluggish digestion, and stomach ache to name but a few. It helps tone the muscles of the abdomen and also relieves any tension held there.