Which colorful expletive haven’t women used to describe period cramps? Dysmenorrhea, which even sounds like a cuss word, can get the best of an otherwise pain-tolerant woman and have her reaching for the extra-large bottle of Advil. However, recent research points to a safer and more pleasant choice: Aromatherapy massage.
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that women lessened the discomfort of their cramps by more than 50 percent when they massaged their abdomens with almond oil infused with two drops lavender, one drop rose, and one drop clary sage oils. So why did the aromatherapy work?
“These oils were chosen because they have been traditionally used for their anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties,” explains Valerie Cooksley, RN, an author, certified aromatherapist, and cofounder of the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy. “They have been used effectively throughout the ages for easing menstrual pain and cramping.”
Essential oils of chamomile, basil, carrot seed, frankincense, jasmine, and rosemary also may put a stop to period pain.