Periods are a unique and changeable experience for every woman. What some may experience as a symptom free and regular cycle may be interfering and unpredictable for others. Menstrual cycles involve a complicated interplay of hormones, each triggering off the next part of the cycle.
Although every cycle is different and can vary in length, we have used a 28 day cycle as an example. Remember that a normal cycle can range from 21 to 40 days. Let’s look at some of the changes that happen week by week and how aromatherapy can support our whole selves during the process.
How can essential oils help with your period?
The cycle begins on the first day of your period. At this point our hormones levels are usually low and for some of us this can cause issues with physical and mental wellbeing. Happily, for the next few weeks our estrogen levels will begin to climb and we may start to feel better as this week progresses.
Need to let go of anything that happened last month? Maybe a boost in mood would help? If this sounds like you then grab those cleansing and cheerful citrus essential oils.
Citrus oils add a brightness and sparkle to the mind and are cleansing to the body. You might like to diffuse some citrus essential oils or add a few drops to a face washer on the shower floor for an uplifting aromatic stream.
During week 2, our estrogen levels are heading to their peak just before an egg is released (ovulation). The rise in estrogen will hopefully increase our mood and fortify physical health. In the last few days of this week we also get a little kick of testosterone helping us feel vigorous and vital. We could use this extra energy boost for fertility or we can use this time to enjoy engaging in all of our projects and plans.
Let’s work with this energy wave using some heating, fiery and energetic essential oils. Add your essential oil blend to massage oils, skin care, perfumes and diffusers.
During this week, hormone levels really begin to fluctuate. Estrogen levels tend to drop while progesterone levels slowly rise. The body is preparing for a possible pregnancy. These hormone changes in week 3 can bring about symptoms we associate with PMS such as bloating, acne and changes in mood.
The last 2 weeks of the cycle often leave us feeling a little less energetic and can be a time for slowing down and inward reflection. There are many well-loved essential oils that have traditionally been recommended for women’s health. These essential oils help maintain our balance and can be nurturing and cooling at this time.
During the final week of the menstrual cycle, if there is no pregnancy, our body prepares to start a new cycle. Estrogen and progesterone levels continue to drop and we produce chemicals called prostaglandins which cause the uterus (womb) to contract so the lining of the womb (endometrium) can be shed, bringing us to the next cycle. The drop in hormones and release of prostaglandins can cause pain, abdominal cramping and changes in mood and energy levels.
As for the previous week, a blend of balancing and nurturing essential oils can help support us and address some symptoms. A massage blend applied to the lower abdomen and back can be relieving during this time.
A menstrual cycle is an amazing and complicated process. Some of us can benefit from aromatherapy to help us work our way through each month. Small changes to our cycles are expected as our health and age progress, but if you have concerns then make an appointment to see a member of your health care team such as a naturopath or G.P.
What essential oil is best for periods?
Essential oils are great to use while you are experiencing your period. Our prized Women's Blend assists with symptoms such as cramping & bloating, you may also want to reach for essential oils which help you to relax and ease into a good night's sleep. Others may want to reach for an energising essential oil if they are feeling flat while having their period.
What helps soothe a period?
If you are seeking a more natural way to help with period symptoms then essential oils are perfect for you! Depending on how you experience your period can vary which essential oil is best. Whether you reach for a pure essential oil like Lavender to help calm your body or for a pure essential oil purpose blend, like Women's Blend, you will find the perfect fit for you.
How can I use essential oils for my period?
There are many ways you can incorporate essential oils to help ease through that time of month!
Diffuser:Add 6-8 drops of your chosen essential oil to a diffuser.
Quick fix: A few deep inhalations of your favourite essential oil from the bottle can help when you are at work, in the car or anytime you need a quick break.
Shower:Add 2-3 drops of essential oil to the corner of the shower and enjoy the benefits of steam inhalation.
Bath:Add 2-3 drops of essential oil in a dispersant such as oil, to the bath to create a relaxing atmosphere while nourishing your skin.
Topically:Mix 1 drop of chosen essential oil with 5ml carrier oil and apply to wrists, chest or back of the neck. If experiencing cramping, apply to lower abdomen.
Compress: Add 2 drops of essential oil to a bowl of water. For treating inflammation or to cool down use cold to room temperature water. For aching tight muscles use warm to hot water. Agitate a face washer in the water, wring out excess moisture and apply washer to the affected area. Repeat two or three times as the compress cools down or warms up.
Author: Alissa Geddes Aromatherapist
Alissa is a fully qualified Aromatherapist with further qualifications in Remedial Massage & Myotherapy. She qualified as an Aromatherapist in 2005 and has worked in hospitals, day spas and in clinical practice. Alissa contributes her extensive knowledge to ECO. and helps with detailed education to our ECO. community. Alissa is passionate about assisting and teaching others how to restore and maintain their health and wellbeing.