When Aunt Flow shows up on your doorstep, often times she brings along an unwanted guest: period cramps. When PMS symptoms strike, it is all too easy to reach for the pain medication you’ve always used to alleviate those symptoms. But that trusty old bottle comes with some pretty nasty health risks, too.

We’ve talked about the things you can be doing all month long to help relieve Aunt Flow’s side effects. But what happens when you need relief, stat? Are over the counter pain pills your only option? Heck no! Read on for our top natural home remedies to relieve those pesky pains.

1. Heat

The first, and quite possibly easiest remedy of all: apply heat to your abdomen and back! Painful cramps are caused by a hormone like substance called prostaglandin, which causes your uterus to contract. Think of your period cramps just like any other strained or sore muscle: by applying heat, you can increase blood flow to the area, which can help to reduce pain.

When you’re on the go or short on time, a heating pad or a warm compress will do the trick. But our favorite way to turn up the temp on cramps? A long, hot bath. Pro tip: add a few cups of magnesium rich Epsom Salts to amp up the relaxation. Magnesium has also been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help to soothe sore muscles and kiss cramps goodbye. Remember to drink lots of water before and after – warm baths can make you sweat, and staying hydrated is key.

2. Massage

No need to book an appointment with a massage therapist (although, if that’s in your budget, certain spas do offer period friendly options!) you can create relief with a few smooth moves of your own. Laying on your back with a pillow under your knees, apply gentle but firm strokes to your abdomen in a clockwise direction. Repeat this motion 25-30 times, and then feel free to massage any other areas that are experiencing pain. Your lower back and hips may appreciate the love too!

Adding an essential oil like geranium, lavender, or clary sage to this rountine may help increase its benefits. These three oils in particular may help to balance hormones and ease common PMS symptoms. Be sure to check your sensitivity to any oils before you use them on your stomach, and use a carrier oil like avocado or olive oil to dilute.

3. Pressure

It may sound counterproductive when you’re in pain, but a steady amount of pressure, when applied to painful muscles, may actually help to balance out muscle contractions. Many women enjoy this technique while in labor, and the same concept applies to menstrual cramps. By applying “counter pressure” to the lower abdomen and back, you can effectively relieve some of the tension in those areas.

A weighted blanket, or even some gentle acupressure can also help. There are acupressure points in particular may help to provide some relief. First, the fleshy area between your thumb and pointer finger, when pressed by the other hands thumb and pointer finger for 30-60 seconds, can calm muscles. You may also try pressing the spot four finger widths below your belly button. Again, hold this spot for 30-60 second while breathing deeply. You may go back and forth between these two points, or hold each for a longer period of time.


4. Stretching

Even though exercise may be the last thing on your list when you’re struggling with painful cramps, a gentle yoga practice could be just the thing to provide some peace. Yoga can help with both the mental and physical side effects of PMS, allowing you to clear your mind, increase circulation, gently stretch crampy muscles, and get a natural boost of energy.

Some of our favorite stretches for period cramp relief include (click each link for more details on how to safely get into each pose):

Child’s Pose

Standing Forward Fold


Lord of the Fishes Pose

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Downward Facing Dog

5. Tea

Caffeine and alcohol are two big things to avoid when you’re dealing with cramps, since they can often make symptoms even worse. However, many herbal, caffeine-free teas can help to naturally relieve pain, and help you curb cravings for a warm cup of coffee.

Did you know that there are teas that are actually designed to help with cramps? These teas range in their ingredients and makeup, but we particularly love this one, which is handcrafted by experts with organic and wild crafted ingredients. Over time, these teas can not only help to alleviate menstrual cramps, but actually prevent them in the future, too. Score!

Now that we’ve covered a few of our favorite natural home remedies for cramps, it’s your turn! Is there anything that works for you that you don’t see listed here? Drop your favorites in the comments below, or shoot us an email. We’re always on the hunt for new tips and tricks to make periods more comfortable.

Here’s to a better period, Tara and the BPP team At BPP, we are passionate about providing alternatives to common over the counter and conventional period products. If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, click below to join our weekly email series.


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