Where angels fear to tread! Menstruation

Water retention associated with the menstrual cycle can affect not just the abdomen but also the legs.

Partly personality and partly having trained as a nurse before doing my aromatherapy training I am one of those men who is not afraid to talk about menstruation. Indeed, it is one of the things I usually ask about (with my female clients) during consultations before aromatherapy massage treatments. As massage and aromatherapy can make a significant difference to how women experience their periods and the premenstrual time.

I should start by saying that as a man I am never going to have the same understanding of this subject that a woman who has experienced menstruation will. I have worked with many women, both adults and adolescents however using Aromatherapy and have seen it help many to feel more comfortable during this time. I also think that the reluctance on the part of many men to talk about this and work on understanding it without embarrassment is not helpful.

Many aromatherapy books talk about essential oils that can help with menstrual problems and this research study provides evidence that abdominal massage once daily in the seven days prior to menstruation with the essential oils listed is more effective than the same massage without the essential oils.

Oils used were, cinnamon, clove, rose and Lavender in a base of sweet almond oil.

There was a reduction in pain and on both the first and second day of excessive bleeding. No difference in bleeding on the third day.

I quote the concluding paragraph from the study.

“In conclusion, this research may suggest that aromatherapy has a significant effect on pain and bleeding during menstruation. Because there were no side effects reported, aromatherapy can be regarded as a safe and effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea. There is a great potential for more collaborative research by nurses to explore the clinical applications in greater details and to move beyond the low dose paradigm of application of essential oils. Also, more researches are recommended to study the efficacy of aromatherapy massage on reducing menstrual bleeding on a large scale studies. “The study does not look into the mechanism by which these oils work but does make suggestions as to possibilities for this.

When I think about the issues that my clients have with their menstrual cycles, Pain is the most common, followed by water retention and bloating. The other major thing that is very common is mood changes. Please note, I am not saying this can be used as a stick when a man sees a woman’s behaviour as awkward for them, nor am I saying that women should use it as an excuse for things. In my work and private life I have seen men behaving badly or problematically just as often as women!

Oils that I use with my clients include those listed above but also, Clary Sage which has been used by aromatherapists and herbalists for menstrual problems for centuries and Cypress which also has a long history in this area. I will add bergamot tot he mix if Depression is experienced as part of the emotional effects.

To book a massage to help with menstrual or other problems please use the enquiry form here.