There's a sharp pain in your lower back. Your stomach feels achy. You’re cranky, and you’re bloated. You might have period cramps. Luckily, there are some remedies that can relieve the agonizing issues that are literally cramping your style. There’s Midol, heating pads, Ibuprofen, and hot baths. And if you’re looking for a more holistic fix, there are essential oils.
Some people are huge Stans of the plant-based oils, although Healthline points out that there aren’t many essential oils that have enough research to support their use as a medical treatment. However, aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years, and has been practiced by ancient cultures in places from India to China.
Stephanie Tourles — an aromatherapist, herbalist, and author of Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide — says that the oils can be helpful for cramps when applied properly. She grew up with extremely painful periods, which she says she remedied originally with a vegan diet. As an adult, she switched to a mainly pescatarian diet, and the cramps came back, although they were less painful. She started using an essential oil-based, soothing recipe, which she rubbed on her stomach and back for relief for her less severe cramps. “Some essential oils are extremely relaxing to the central nervous system, and also really good for cramping and irritability you get when you’re getting cramps,” Tourles says. “When you're in a lot of pain and you’re cramping, sometimes you kick into fight or flight mode. The whole body tenses up, and is ready to run away. Anything feeling tight and tense or constricted will release and relax if you’re using [the right combination of oils.]”
As long as you’re diluting the oils properly (and keeping them away from kids), Toures says there are specific oils that relax the central nervous system and soothe inflammation — making them perfect for cramps. Here are a few.