PMS: Aromatherapy for Menstrual Cramps
08/19/2009 | 12:00 AM
Menstrual cramps are caused by spasms or contractions of the uterine muscles. They tend to manifest as a dull or throbbing ache in the lower abdomen, back and pelvic area. In some cases severe cramps may be secondary to other conditions, such as endometriosis, uterine cysts and fibroids. If painful cramps persist, see a doctor.
Suggested Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps
The following oils—either alone or in a blend—can help relax your muscles, reduce stress levels and soothe menstrual pain:
- Some essential oils are contraindicated for preexisting medical conditions. Speak with your doctor before adopting this or any other complementary therapy.
- Essential oils should be used as a complement to conventional medicine, not a substitute. Again, if your pain or cramps get worse, speak with you doctor.
- Essential oils are highly potent. You rarely need more than a few drops, and using them undiluted can irritate your skin. Unless you're working with a diffuser or oil lamp, dilute the individual oils in warm water, or in a carrier oil (for example sweet almond, avocado, grape seed or jojoba).
Choosing a specific method for your aromatherapy is largely a matter of preference. Would you rather massage the oils into your skin, diffuse them throughout the room, or keep them on hand so that you can choose when to inhale them? Pick an approach that works for you.
- Add a few drops of the oil/s to a warm bath and soak for about 15 minutes.
- Gently massage a few drops of the diluted oil/s over your lower abdomen and pelvic area.
- Add a few drops of the diluted oil/s to a compress. Apply the compress to your lower abdomen, back and pelvic region.
- Add a few drops of the oil/s to an aromatherapy diffuser or oil burner (DIY version: A few drops in a bowl of very hot water).
One Step Further
Essential oils should not be thought of as a cure-all. There are a variety of holistic approaches that you can take to treat menstrual cramps, including acupuncture, homeopathy, nutritional therapy and several other alternatives to conventional medicine For more information, see Related Tips & How-Tos.