Unwinding PMS and PMDD: Embracing the Massage Therapy Magic, Med-Free!
From mood swings and irritability to physical discomfort, the challenges of PMS and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD a much more severe form of premenstrual syndrome) can be daunting.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome that includes physical and behavioral symptoms that usually resolve with the onset of menstruation.
PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt work and damage relationships. Symptoms include extreme sadness, hopelessness, irritability, or anger, plus common premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as breast tenderness and bloating.
People may experience:
Pain areas: in the breast, muscles, or pelvis
Mood: mood swings, sadness, anger, anxiety, hopelessness, or panic attack.
Sleep: excess sleepiness or insomnia.
Behavioral: irritability or crying.
Also common: are appetite changes, bloating, depression, diminished interest in usual activities, economic or social dysfunction due to symptoms, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, food cravings, headache, increased sensitivity to rejection, lack of concentration, self-critical thoughts, water retention, or weight gain.
Here’s what helps:
Aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health. If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.
Pursuing an enjoyable activity or verbalizing frustration to reduce stress and improve mental health.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Recent studies suggest that massage therapy can also provide much-needed relief for individuals dealing with the symptoms of PMS and PMDD.
Let’s delve into how this soothing touch can make a difference.
The Science Behind It
Massage therapy’s positive effects on PMS and PMDD are backed by research. A study published in the “Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research” (2019) found that regular massage sessions significantly reduced the severity of PMS symptoms. The gentle kneading and manipulation of muscles during massage stimulate blood circulation, helping to alleviate bloating and cramping that are commonly associated with PMS. Additionally, massage triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which can counteract mood fluctuations and reduce stress and anxiety, prevalent symptoms of both PMS and PMDD.
Relaxation and Hormonal Balance
Another study, featured in the “Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies” (2020), highlighted the connection between massage therapy and hormonal balance. Touch-based therapy was shown to reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone that often exacerbates the emotional symptoms of PMDD. By promoting relaxation, massage therapy may help regulate hormonal fluctuations, leading to a reduction in mood-related disturbances. The study further emphasized the significance of consistent massage sessions in maintaining these benefits over time.
While massage therapy is not a standalone treatment for PMS and PMDD, it has emerged as a promising complementary approach that addresses both the physical discomfort and emotional distress associated with these conditions. The combination of improved circulation, the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, and hormonal balance can collectively contribute to a more manageable menstrual cycle. Incorporating regular massage sessions into a comprehensive wellness plan may offer individuals a holistic way to ease the burdens of PMS and PMDD, fostering a sense of well-being during a time that can otherwise be challenging.
Osayande AS, Mehulic S. (2014). Diagnosis and initial management of dysmenorrhea. American Family Physician, 89(5), 341-346.
Smith JA, Greaves K, Collins CT, Hodyl NA. (2019). Massage, reflexology and other manual methods for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6(6).
Sevil Uz YH, Kocaöz S. (2020). The effects of aromatherapy massage and reflexology on pain and fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Pain Management Nursing, 21(5), 384-395
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