Alleviating Menstrual Pain with Massage

Cathleen McCauley L.M.T.

by Cathy McCauley, LMT

If painful periods plague you, massage may reduce your discomfort, according to a recent study by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran. Conducted in 2010, the research studied the effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea, also referred to as painful periods, caused by endometriosis.

"Endometriosis is one of the prevalent diseases highly affecting women's quality of life during childbearing ages…it can cause side effects such as severe pelvic pain, painful intercourse, abnormal uterine bleeding, painful menstruation and decreased fertility. All this can negatively affect women's ability to work and have familial relations, and reduce their self-confidence," states the study's authors.

The study included 23 female patients, ranging in age from 21 to 40, who had been diagnosed with endometriosis and suffering from dysmenorrhea. Prior to the study nearly 70 percent of the women reported having menstrual pain before and after menstruation. A visual analog scale was used for each patient to rate menstrual pain on three occasions: before receiving any massage treatments, immediately following the first menstruation after the treatments and again six weeks later.

Treatments consisted of 20 massage sessions, each 20 minutes in length. The participants were treated with massage to specific points on their abdomen, sides and back.

Results of the study found that massage therapy has immediate and long-term effects on reduction of menstrual pain caused by endometriosis. In fact, pain reduction reached 65.2 percent six weeks after the massage treatments up from 34.8 percent immediately after treatments, showing long-term pain reduction being a significant.

So whether you're experiencing painful menstruation, pelvic pain or decreased infertility due to endometriosis, massage may be able to help lessen your pain. To learn more about Pulling Down the Moon's massage protocols, please contact me at or 312.321.0004. I look forward to working with you!  To schedule an appointment click here!


P Bahadoran, N. Ghasemi, R. Heshmat, M. Valiani. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010 Autumn; 15(4): 167-171. Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran; International Manual Medicine College of France; and Acupuncture School of Shanghai, Shanghai, China.

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