sniffGet painful cramps during your period? Breathing in the scent of fragrant oils the week before your period can ease the discomfort, reveals a study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

In the study, women with severe menstrual cramps were divided into three groups; during the week before their period, one group received a daily 15-minute abdominal massage with a blend of fragrant essential oils (lavender, clary sage and rose) in an almond oil base, another group got the same massages with just the almond oil, and the last group received no massage or fragrances. Once their periods began, those in the aromatherapy group reported experiencing the least discomfort. In fact, they had 50% less cramp pain than before the study began.

While this study didn’t examine how aromatherapy works, past research suggests that the oils used in this study lower anxiety and prompt relaxation, which may reduce stress hormones that aggravate inflammation and exacerbate menstrual cramp pain.

Want to try this cramp-buster yourself? Mix up the aromatherapy blend used in the study by adding two drops of lavender oil, one drop of clary sage oil, and one drop of rose oil to an almond oil base. Massage into your abdomen once a day for 15 minutes for a week before your period

[photo: hill.josh]