Julianne Hough On The Natural Remedies That REALLY Work For Her Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition that affects one in 10 women of reproductive age and is characterized by excruciating pelvic pain, digestive issues, fatigue, and intensely painful periods. Over the last few years, Julianna Hough and some other notable women in Hollywood (like Lena Dunham, who just had a full hysterectomy in an attempt to reduce her symptoms) have shared their stories, helping bring attention to this common condition that, historically, hasn't received the attention it deserves.
When we sat down with the actress, dancer, and Emmy Award-winning choreographer at SpeakEndo—a campaign that provides women with much-needed info about endometriosis—to talk about how she's managing her symptoms, we were excited to hear that she's fascinated by natural medicine. In fact, she plans to spend the next year diving into holistic approaches to, well—everything. Here are her best tools:
1. Epsom salt baths.
One of her go-to pain-relieving strategies is taking Epsom salt baths. If you've never heard of it, Epsom salt is a mineral compound (magnesium sulfate) that is absorbable through the skin and can give your body a dose of beneficial magnesium, also known as the "relaxation mineral." In functional medicine, magnesium is used for a wide range of ailments but especially things like muscle spasms and PMS, making an Epsom salt bath the perfect self-care ritual for painful periods. (Intrigued? Check out these next-level Epsom salt bath recipes.)
2. Food as medicine.
When it comes to nutrition, Hough likes to take a personalized approach, explaining to us that "There's a big difference between eating healthy and eating for specific needs." She tries to be especially mindful of her sugar intake and always tunes in with her body to ask herself, "Is my body craving this food because it wants it or because it needs it?"
She also tries to shirt her nutrition in accordance with her monthly cycle, especially when it comes to carbs, which are tricky when it comes to her energy levels. "I can only have oatmeal at certain times of the month because it puts me down and I can't get back up." For her, it's all about vegetables and protein, and she tries to embrace simplicity as much as possible when it comes to nutrition. One of her favorite snacks is an avocado drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper.
3. Creating a healing environment.
Hough has had two different surgeries to help her manage her endo. The first time around, she took the painkillers as prescribed but felt like they negatively affected her mental health and came with a host of other physical side effects (hint: constipation), which she felt slowed down the healing process. That's why, for her second surgery, she said no to opioids and focused on creating an environment that would help her heal. Her favorite rituals? Music, meditation, and essential oils. In her words, this was like telling herself, "Yes, I'm in pain, but I'm creating a safe space, a loving space, and now my body can just do its thing."
Speaking of healing rituals, Hough shared (hesitantly, at first) that for her second surgery, she went all out with the crystals. Learning that we're big fans of crystals here at mbg, she told us that this was part of creating a healing environment for herself post-surgery. There might not be any scientific research on this tip, but crystals are all about harnessing positive energy and creating a sacred space, which sounds like the perfect place to turn during recovery.
5. Body scans.
Understandably nervous before her second surgery (which was just a few months ago), Hough went to see an energy healer who taught her about body scans. Since then, she's become a huge believer. For her, these scans are as simple as "Feeling where I'm feeling disconnected and sending my love there."
These nuggets of wisdom can benefit anyone who suffers from endometriosis, painful period cramps, or who just wants to infuse their life with a few more healing vibes.
Gretchen Lidicker is an mbg health contributor, content strategist, and the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. She holds a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.