East Bay Massage: PMS

Mmmkay, ladies. And gentlemen. We’ve all been through it at one time or another. The cramping. The bloating. The sudden, inexplicable extra weight (or else the sudden, inexplicable appearance of someone else’s tiny pants in your closet… whose are these, anyways?!). The near-fatal rage. The neurotic suspicion that no one actually likes you, cares about your welfare or your time, or holds you in esteem, afterall… did I mention the rage? Gah, or the cramps?

Ah, PMS.

We all remember from sex ed in sixth grade that the lining in the uterus thickens as we approach our period. During this time, estrogen and progesterone levels are rising. As the lining sheds, these levels plummet, and it is believed that this sudden hormonal drop-off messes with our minds and bodies. It’s also postulated that environmental estrogens, found in animal fats and in toxic exposures, could cause the uterine lining to produce excessive amounts of estrogen and progesterone, or to become “overactive.” Lastly, it’s thought that plunging estrogen and progesterone levels could suppress the secretion of serotonin— a neurotransmitter related to depression and mood swings. Other opioid peptides related to mood seem to be negatively effected by hormone swings. This is essentially a neurotransmitter imbalance.

Massage helps ease the symptoms of depression. Calming the sympathetic nervous system, that part of us that activates the fight or flight response, is a universal benefit of massage. Massage helps promote the production of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, all feel-good hormones, and depresses the expression of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These stress hormones weaken the immune system, disrupt digestion, and interfere with tissue repair. Secondly, massage can help to ease lower back pain and cramps by softening the tissues and addressing the sacro-uterine ligament, which connects the neck of the uterus to the sacrum and may become taxed as the uterus enlarges before menstruation. Last, massage can help reduce bloating by directing some of the retained fluids back into the system and off of your hips. 🙂

Other lifestyle changes, like limiting animal fats, and making sure that your calcium, vitamin B6, and essential fatty acids are not running low may also help to reduce the symptoms of PMS.

Thanks for visiting East Bay Massage! Give yourself a break, get a massage! You’re gorgeous, and you deserve it.


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