From pickle juice to orgasms to adopting a vegan diet, the internet is chockers with info on natural cures for cramps. But unlike a lot of the ‘solutions’ out there (which, FYI, often aren’t backed by science) low-impact exercise is one of the few with cred.
Researchers from Western Sydney University’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine analysed studies of more than 2,300 women who trialled treating their period pain with various home remedies.
“If you were going to rank them in order, exercise was the best, heat was the second best and acupressure was the third best,” lead researcher Mike Armour told Triple J’s Hack. “So, there wasn’t just a minor improvement, but quite a noticeable improvement.”
Even compared to medication this method measured up: “Interestingly enough, exercise and heat both were superior to painkillers,” Armour added.
The researcher found gentler forms of exercise – specifically, yoga and stretching – to be the most effective. That said, it should be an all-year commitment, not just a once a month thing.
“They still fall under the category of exercise – even though we might not have them come to our mind when we think of exercise,” Armour explained. “We only have information on these low-intensity exercises, there hasn’t been much research on… moderate to high-intensity exercises.”
Put it this way: next time you find yourself reaching for the Advil as soon as the red tide rolls in, consider doing a downward dog instead. Your uterus will thank you for it.