PMS symptoms have affected all of us ladies to varying degrees.
Cramps and pain in the lower abdominal area are some of the worst symptoms, so we wanted to share an easy to make DIY anti-cramping and soothing essential oils blend. This massage oil can be applied topically by rubbing onto your abdomen to reduce cramping, abdominal pain and other PMS symptoms.
We prefer Rocky Mountain Oils (RMO) for the essential oils included, as detailed previously in my blog post, My Choice for the Best Essential Oils Company, so that is what we've used and recommend. You may, of course, use a different brand if you prefer, just make sure your oils are 100% pure and therapeutic quality from a reputable company.
Below are the recipe and steps to make this oil blend, followed by the benefits of each ingredient.
DIY Recipe: JTG + RMO Cramp-Soothing Massage Oil
- 15 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil
- 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- 10 drops Cypress Essential Oil
- 5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- 5 drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (or Rose)
- 2 ounces Carrier Oil*
(This mixture is the maximum recommended 5% dilution, which is appropriate only for short-term application on a small area - i.e. not for the whole body at once or daily use over a long period of time. It is advisable to test on a small area first to make sure your skin isn't sensitive to the oils.)
- Pour all ingredients into a 2-ounce dark glass bottle
- Rub mixture generously and thoroughly onto lower abdomen where you are experiencing cramps or pain
- Follow with a warm compress such as a heated blanket pad (optional but helpful)
Benefits of Cramp-Fighting Massage Oil & About Ingredients
This blend is meant to treat your PMS cramps/lower abdominal pain, as well as reduce stress and tension while positively affecting your hormones.
This exact mixture has helped me during the first couple of days of my cycle when I experience discomfort. I always rub this oil blend in clockwise circular motions on my lower abdomen, and use a good amount a time. Although it doesn't take away all my pain immediately, it is definitely soothing and provides relief.
I haven't tried using a warm compress following massaging in the oil, but I do have a small heating pad to try with this mixture next time. I have used this oil sitting close to my fireplace, which may count for some heat relief. ;)
In addition to the topical application, these essential oils can also be added to a soothing bath. When you add oils to your bath, it becomes an aromatic experience with inhalation of the oils able to trigger responses within the brain to help alleviate symptoms. The oils are also absorbed by your skin so you can reap their benefits. For an aromatic soothing bath, I would suggest 4 drops Clary Sage, 2 drops Roman Chamomile and 4 drops Lavender.
I also diffuse equal parts Lavender and Roman Chamomile in a diffuser with water at night. That mixture aids in restful sleep and mood enhancement, especially helpful during menstruation. These two oils combined also smell delightful!
More about the ingredients of each oil included in the mix . . .
Clary Sage essential oil is a warming, soothing and calming oil that is antidepressant, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory (among other benefits).
Clary Sage is a top oil for hormones and is known to help naturally balance a women's hormones. It contains natural phytoestrogens, known as “dietary estrogens” (plant derived) providing Clary Sage with estrogenic effects that help regulate estrogen levels and maintain the health of the uterus.
Clary Sage contains linalool, just like Lavender, shown to offer an antidepressant effect. A 2014 study found inhalation of clary sage oil reduced cortisol levels (the "stress hormone") and improved thyroid hormone levels, also concluding that clary sage oil has an "antidepressant-like effect."
Clary sage is additionally believed to be an antispasmodic agent. It contains properties that help to reduce uterine spasms by relaxing nerve impulses, which is why it's one of the most popular essential oils from cramps. A 2011 study found that a massage oil containing Clary Sage was even more effective than acetaminophen for menstrual pain.
RMO also shares a Cramp-Sooth Bath recipe using Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Geranium and Bergamot FCF under "Usage" here.
Lavender Essential Oil is one of the "cure-all" oils that's great to have on hand for a variety of uses.
In this case, it is known to help improve blood flow and aid in the reduction of cramps. A 2015 study found that Lavender Oil applied topically to the abdomen via massage decreases primary dysmenorrhea, which is defined as "cramping pain in the lower abdomen occurring just before or during menstruation, in the absence of other diseases such as endometriosis."
It is also anti-inflammatory, which is helpful during menstruation given the process of the uterus shedding its inner lining can cause the uterus and surrounding tissue to feel inflamed.
It's also well-known as a calming, relaxing and uplifting oil with antidepressant properties that help combat the mental and emotional side of PMS symptoms.
Cypress essential oil is so multi-purpose it is included in RMO's "Relief, Mood, Skin Care, and Wellness collections." RMO also notes it can be diffused or applied topically to encourage "peace, harmony and serenity" which is helpful at any time of the month.
Cypress oil improves circulation and can relax muscles and alleviate cramps. It has antispasmodic properties, and has been shown to reduce spasms when applied topically (as well as ease chronic pain).
Cypress can even help reduce bleeding during heavy menstrual flow due to its astringent qualities.
It is also another oil that is great for mood. Dr. Axe notes "Cypress oil has sedative effects, and it induces a calm and relaxed feeling when used aromatically or topically. It is also energizing, and it stimulates feelings of happiness and ease."
Peppermint Essential Oil is an excellent cooling and numbing oil known for having analgesic properties, meaning it provides pain relief.
It can also fight inflammation like some of the other oils included. It is energy boosting, which I think we all need during menstruation (fluctuating hormones can contribute to feeling fatigued).
It has also been shown to provide relief from headaches, so would be great to apply to your temples and/or forehead if prone to menstrual headaches.
When I first made this oil I did not use Peppermint, but found I preferred having it in the mix for it's cooling sensation on my skin that I felt really detracted from the pain I felt.
Roman Chamomile is one of my favorite essential oils for its aroma. It is known for promoting calmness, providing relief from digestive issues, benefitting the skin, and reducing inflammation (among other uses).
"Archaeologists tell us aromatherapy was used for pain management by the ancient Egyptians, and one of their go-to oils was Roman chamomile," says Ryan Neinstein, MD, of NYC Surgical Associates. A 2000 study on the affects of aromatherapy on women in labor found "two essential oils, clary sage and chamomile are effective in alleviating pain."
It is also another oil that fights anxiety and acts as an antidepressant, which is great for this time of the month. A 2012 study concluded "Chamomile may have clinically meaningful antidepressant activity." It always lifts my mood!
*I recommend Rose Essential Oil as a substitute for Roman Chamomile. Although one of the most expensive essential oils, Rose oil can help with mood swings and fatigue, as well as stimulate proper hormone levels and regulate menstrual cycles, and also is known for helping to reduce cramping pain.
I hope this massage oil provides you some relief from PMS symptoms like cramping and abdominal pain.
Please let me know if you try it in the comments below. Or, do you have another blend of oils you prefer for cramps and menstrual pain?