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Natural remedies for menstrual cramps

Updated on January 6, 2011

Whether mild or severe menstrual cramps...

Having menstrual (aka period) cramps and pain is no fun. Seeing someone with menstrual cramps isn’t much fun, either, so please feel free to pass along these tips!

If you have mild or severe menstrual pain and want to use more natural remedies instead of popping pills, here are a few solutions I have found that work:

1) Drink at least one cup of ginger and cinnamon tea

What you need:

¼ teaspoon of dried ginger powder (or about ½ inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces)

½ - 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

½ - 1 teaspoon honey

To make this tea, put the ginger and cinnamon in a mug with the honey. Mix to create a paste. Boil the kettle but let it cool for a few minutes before pouring the water. Once the water has cooled for a few minutes pour it in the mug, stir and enjoy.  (Ayurvedic medicine says cooking honey makes it toxic which is why I let the water cool; I’m not sure if it still cooks the honey but I much prefer this drink with it than without.)

This tea is spicy but according to Ayurvedic medicine principles the ginger and cinnamon heat you internally and help with the cramps. (I add the honey simply because I like it.)

Recommended yoga items:

2) Hip-opening yoga poses (asanas)

Hip-opening yoga asana is one of the first things I do for period pain (they are also great to do every day and for any women who are planning to get pregnant in the future).

Here are a few poses which you can look into:

  • Happy baby pose (Sanskrit name: Ananda Balasana)
  • Child’s pose (Balasana)
  • Goddess pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
  • Cobbler’s pose (Baddha Konasana)
  • Lotus pose (Padmasana) *as far as I know, this one is not recommended if you have bad knees
  • Pigeon pose (Kapotasana)

Note: I recommend getting a qualified instructor to show you how to do these poses. An instructor will help you learn how to correctly do the poses since, speaking from experience, you may not be able to sense if you are out of alignment. An instructor can give you tips on how to correct your alignment which protects your body and gives you the full benefit of the pose.

3) Soak in a very hot bath with Epsom salts for 10 minutes

My mom told me this tip which was recommended to her by her doctor. The Epsom salts (usually available at your local pharmacy) help to relax your muscles along with the hot water.

4) Arnica

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy (I mean the internally taken kind, not the topical cream).

If you have never taken homeopathic remedies, I recommend seeing a registered homeopath to discuss arnica as well as see if there are other causes for your cramps which can be addressed by different remedies.

5) A hot water bottle or heating pad

I used to scoff at the thought of using a hot water bottle (they were for old ladies!) until I started using one for menstrual cramps.

Usually available at the local pharmacy for a cheap price, your hot water bottle can become your best friend for all sorts of muscle pain. You can also get fancy or cute covers for it too!

6) Reflexology

Having someone rub your feet feels good anytime but when they can also help your menstrual cramps, oh baby!

You can also do reflexology on yourself. It can be done on your hands or feet so this means that you can discreetly relieve your period pain even during a meeting if you keep your hands below the table in your lap.

There are several books that teach how to do reflexology. If you want to take this ancient art further, there are in-class and correspondence courses to learn how to do it professionally. Learning formally means you can do it as a business or just benefit yourself and anyone you choose to lay your skilled fingers on.

Reflexology treatments are great gift ideas-for yourself and others!

In sum

Hopefully one or a combination of these tips will completely or at least mostly alleviate your cramps. If you know of others, please share them below!

* Note: I am not prescribing any remedies here and I am not representing myself as a doctor. I am simply sharing what I have found works for me to be used at your own risk. These tips do not replace medical consultation.

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