How To Make A Soothing Heating Pad For Period Cramps & Other Pains
Menstrual cramps, or primary dysmenorrhea, are no fun—and they also happen to be the most common gynecologic condition1 for those with periods. When cramps do strike, a little heat goes a long way, with research showing heat therapy can help reduce pain.
And odds are, you probably have everything you need to make your own heating pad at home. Here's how to prep one for your next time of the month.
DIY heating pad
What you'll need:
- Fill your tube sock your rice and herbs, and tie the end in a knot.
- Microwave the sock in 30-second increments until hot to the touch. It will take around a minute and a half, depending on your microwave.
- If you're using essential oils, massage a few drops onto the area you're treating for pain. (It's best to avoid microwaving essential oils so as to not alter any therapeutic effects.) Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
- Place your tube sock on the area where you're feeling pain, and relax for up to half an hour.
How does it work, exactly?
As any athlete knows, heat can be a powerful tool when it comes to managing aches and soreness. And as far as cramps go, research shows heat therapy is effective at reducing pain2. When you couple heat with therapeutic plants like essential oils and herbs, you can get even more relief.
Functional wellness practitioner and essential oil expert Mariza Snyder, D.C., previously told mbg that a combination of three drops of clary sage essential oil and three drops of lavender essential oil is her favorite for period pain. "Peppermint and wintergreen are also great options to provide a cooling, tingling massage that [...] eases discomfort," she adds.
Don't stop there.
In addition to using heat therapy, experts say that nourishing your body with healthy fats, vitamins (specifically, vitamin E and all the B vitamins), and magnesium can all help keep painful period symptoms at bay. You can also consider following up your DIY heating pad session with a warm bath and/or acupressure session to help further alleviate cramps, naturally.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.