Massage and Premenstrual Syndrome

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An example of how helpful massage can be regarding premenstrual syndrome is one case study that I did with one 19-year-old college freshman. She had been to her physician and received the diagnosis of premenstrual syndrome, and the doctor recommended birth control pills to help resolve the problem. This young girl did not want to be on this medication, so she came to consult me both as a clinical nutritionist and for massage therapy. She would feel good during the first part of the month, but after ovulation she became increasingly irritable and anxious. She experienced general swelling and some bloating. Often, but not always, she would get a migraine headache about a week before her menstrual cycle would begin. She had sugar and chocolate cravings and reported that she would increase a full clothing size during the menstrual period. She experienced cramps every menstrual cycle for 2 to 3 days. After taking a complete history, including her diet, as her nutritionist, I recommended Medi-Herb Chaste Tree, one per morning, and black currant seed oil, two per day. She was already taking a whole-food multivitamin and multiminerals supplement as well as whole-food B vitamins. We began weekly full-body massages on the weeks prior to her ovulation, and then usually more frequent massage during the 10 to 14 days prior to her period. The sessions included general Swedish massage to reduce sympathetic arousal, with a broad-based compressive force that has pressure depth but that does not cause any muscle guarding or pain. Sufficient pressure was used to increase serotonin and endorphin availability (I suspected serotonin depression because of the chocolate cravings). Within the first month, the client rated her symptom reduction at 50%, and within 3 menstrual periods the premenstrual syndrome was a thing of the past. She has been continuing with the Chaste Tree/Black Currant Seed Oil protocol for over 2 years without recurrence of the original symptoms, and she continues to come for massage therapy as needed, but usually only every other month now.

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