How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps – Partner Technique for Abdominal Fascia Release
Women – have you ever planned something fun, like a date or a backpacking adventure, only to realize with horror after you step out your door that your period is here and all you want to do is go home, curl up on the couch and try not to die?
Men – how many of you are impacted by the horrible period cramps of the women in your life? (Please keep those eyeballs from rolling back in your head!)
This post isn’t just for women. If you men forward this to your female friends, or better yet learn to do the partner technique in the video, you just might become hero of the year 🙂
First, a disclaimer: there are a LOT of factors that can impact periods, including the existence of cramps. I do not claim to be a hormone specialist, doctor or period afficionado. I DO, however, know fascia; and we have a TON of it in our abdominal cavities. How healthy our abdominal fascia is can mean the difference between horrible period cramps and mild or non-existent ones. I’m speaking from personal experience as a woman, and having worked on friends. If you try this and it doesn’t work – chances are your cramps are not due to fascial restrictions.
What if we’re not doomed – by nature – to experience horrible cramps?
I don’t want to get crazy graphic here, because that’s not actually what this post is about, but basically during menstruation the female body is shedding the lining from the uterus. This blood has to travel through the lower abdominal cavity to and through the cervix.
Every organ and muscle requires innervation, including the female reproductive organs and the surrounding pelvic muscles. Innervation is critical for optimal function of organs and muscles, and this process can become inhibited or slow due to restricted fascia.
Proper space in our fascial system is what allows nerves to communicate properly and blood to flow (throughout the entire body, including the abdominal cavity).
Releasing this restricted fascia allows for better innervation of the organs and muscles that are responsible for menstruation, the blood starts flowing without impediment and cramps ease or are eliminated.
I’ve successfully used this technique with friends, and I’m sending my man this blog post so he can do this for me 🙂
How to get the most out of this technique:
If you’re the woman with cramps:
- Please select a partner who is compassionate and happy to learn this technique 🙂
- Show your partner EXACTLY where the worst of the cramping are happening and have them start there
- Keep your belly as RELAXED as possible throughout this process – remember to BREATHE!
- If something doesn’t feel right, STOP. Listen to your body. Have your partner back off or try a different approach, or a different spot.
- THIS WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE – maybe intensely so, but it shouldn’t be excruciating.
- Have your partner spend 20-30 seconds on one spot, then breathe for a minute. Chances are the worst cramping will have moved to a different spot – have your partner go there next.
- Choose up to 5 or 6 spots.
- MAKE YOUR BREATHING SLOW, DELIBERATE AND USE LONG, DEEP BELLY BREATHS. NO SHALLOW RAPID BREATHING!
- If this is far too uncomfortable while ON your period, try my self myofascial abdominal release BETWEEN periods. Click here for that post.
If you’re the partner:
- Thanks for stepping up! Please take the time to learn this technique correctly. That means starting GENTLY. SLOWLY. Learn this technique with the intention of mastering it so you can use it over and over with the women in your life. It will take a little bit of time to master, but you’ll probably become a HERO to all of them 🙂
- Please try not to have long sharp nails.
- If you’re right handed, your right hand will be your smartest “tool” while the left will support. If you’re left handed, use the left.
- TRY NOT TO PUSH IN TOO HARD – think about SINKING with the exhales and simply SINK as deep as that breath allows you to.
- Let the woman’s breathing move your hand (tool) up and down, or out of the abdominal cavity on every inhale while sinking into it on every exhale.
- Every time you sink in, you’re searching (by feel, with your fingers made into your “tool”) for a hard knot of restricted fascia. When you find it, STAY ON IT! This might require chasing it as it will try to escape. Your job is to compress it well enough that combined with your partner’s breathing it BREAKS UP and releases.
- KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR PARTNER – is she breathing fully, deeply, long slow belly breaths? Is her belly staying relatively relaxed even when it’s uncomfortable? If not, help correct this or back off the intensity.
- If you’re at all unsure what you’re doing, speak up! Don’t be afraid to practice this in order to learn how to do it correctly – just make sure your partner knows you’re needing a little time to get this right.
Please give this a try next time you have your period or know someone who’s having horrible cramps, and let me know how it goes.