What is PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional symptoms linked to a woman’s menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms usually occur during the ten days prior to menses, and disappear either shortly before or after the start of menstrual flow. Symptoms vary from woman to woman, but each woman’s individual pattern of symptoms is typically predictable.
The exact causes of PMS are not clear, but several factors may be involved. Changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle seem to be an important contributor. These changing hormone levels may affect some women more than others. Chemical changes in the brain may also be involved. Other factors such as stress, a nutritionally inadequate diet, lack of exercise and sleep, and a hectic or demanding lifestyle may exacerbate the symptoms. For some women, especially those who exhibit as many as four to ten PMS symptoms, many aspects of their lives may be diminished during one to two weeks prior to menstruation. This can include relationships with family and friends, work productivity, mood and emotional stability and the ability to appreciate their own bodies and feminine identity.
Common PMS symptoms & signs:
- Appetite Changes
- Breast Tenderness & Swelling
- Constipation and/or Diarrhea
- Heart Palpitations
- Impaired Memory
- Irritability & Anger
- Joint Pain & Swelling
- Lack of Clear Thinking & Concentration
- Lack of Libido
- Lower Abdominal Distension
- Mood Swings
- Night sweats
- Salt & Carbohydrate Cravings
- Skin Disorders
- Sore Throat & Cold Sores
- Sugar Cravings
- Water Retention
- Weight Gain
Women may be at increased risk for PMS if they are:
- Over 30 years old
- Experiencing significant amounts of stress
- Partaking in poor nutritional habits
- Suffering from side effects from birth control pills
- Having difficulty maintaining a stable weight
- Not exercising enough
- Pregnant and have toxemia
Symptoms can be even more severe if they have had more than one child or have a family history of depression.
Did you know a monthly massage can help?
Whether a woman suffers from PMS symptoms on an occasional or monthly basis, massage therapy can offer a safe and natural approach to alleviating many of these symptoms.
Research studies published by the Touch Research Institute show that massage therapy may be an effective long-term aid for pain reduction and water retention, and a short-term aid for decreasing anxiety and improving mood for women suffering from symptoms of PMS.
Here are some types of massage and the specific PMS symptoms they address:
- Swedish massage activates the body’s natural relaxation response.
- Abdominal massage to reduce bloating, water-retention, and pain associated with cramps.
- Reflexology has a calming effect reducing feelings of stress and anxiety
- Craniosacral therapy provides some relief for mood swings, irritability and anger
- Shiatsu stimulates acupressure points for reducing pain such as cramping and back pain
What can you do?
It is always important to practice self-care especially during times when the body is showing signs of an imbalance.
Find a massage therapist who has experience with specific techniques that will help to alleviate PMS symptoms.
In addition to scheduling a regular massage, there are other things you can do to help yourself during this time of the month. Be kind to yourself and nourish your body with a healthy diet to maintain balanced hormone production. It is helpful to take time to exercise to increase the blood flow and circulation, and to help to remove toxins built up in the body.
If you or someone you know experiences a disruption in the quality of life on a monthly basis, try massage today.