Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus. These contractions are how the uterine lining is expelled during menstruation. These uncomfortable bouts can be alleviated with simple self-care techniques.
Gently massaging the area between the pubic bone and the belly button will assist the contractions in the uterus to encourage menstrual flow. This soothing technique encourages what the body is already in the process of while offering a moment to nurture oneself.
To begin, find a comfortable position lying supine (flat on one’s back) with the abdomen exposed. Start the self-massage with both hands on the lower abdomen and gently press; the wheel of your palm near the hip points while the fingertips are towards the center. These compressions will give an idea of tenderness so that further massage can be at the pressure which is most comfortable.
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Then using the pointer, middle, and ring finger, glide from the pubic bone to the belly button, starting from the center and moving outwards towards the hips. This sequence can be done 3-10 times, depending on the level of discomfort. The addition of lotion or oils can be incorporated as well.
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Although energy is low at this point of a cycling movement reduces menstrual cramps by aiding in the contractions of the uterus. This is why a gentle yoga session is ideal as it is soothing movement and compression of the uterus.*Note that inversions during this time of the month are discouraged.
Cat-Cow starts with cow pose on hands and knees with hips and shoulders in alignment, drop the belly toward the ground as the hips and head reach gently towards the sky.
In this position, it is important to be mindful not to scrunch the neck.
Cat pose is then the movement of the head and tailbone reaching towards the ground. Movement should be gentle and deliberate, with an inhale on cow pose and exhale with cat pose. This sequence can be done 5-10 times, depending on energy levels.
A child’s pose is a resting pose that is achieved first on all fours, then with the hips coming towards the heels and arms outstretching into a forward folding of the torso over the legs. If it is available, the forehead can come towards the mat. A cycle of 5 deep breaths in this position can be repeated 2-3 times. Adjustments can be made by widening the knees for comfort.
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Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red Raspberry leaf tea is a nourishing tonic to help alleviate uterine cramping. Though it has a bitter flavor, this tea/ infusion is also dense in nutrients that fortify and replenish. Adding just a bit of honey sweetens up a cup for easy enjoyment.
Preparation of this tea is simple, pour boiling water into 2 teaspoonfuls of dried herb and let it infuse for about 15 minutes. Enjoy up to 3 times a day during a cycle.