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How to reduce PMS symptoms naturally with regular massages

Published on 16 May 2023

Anyone who's experienced premenstrual syndrome (PMS) knows all too well the impact it can have on daily life. Insomnia, bloating, mood swings and more can even lead some to missing school and work. And with over 90% of women saying they've experienced PMS, it's important to understand the signs and how to relieve the symptoms.

We’ve collaborated with DR.VEGAN®, the innovative supplement brand that offers PMS support to discuss how to reduce PMS symptoms naturally, including with massage.

Woman on massage table getting a de-stress massage with plants in the background

What is PMS?

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and is used to describe the most common side effects many women experience in the weeks leading up to their period.

These symptoms usually start after ovulation or around one week before a period, typically lasting until days one or two of a period. The symptoms can also vary from woman to woman and may be different month to month.

The most common symptoms of PMS

PMS symptoms can vary from person to person, but these are the most common:

  • Mood swings

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Bloating and tummy pain

  • Headaches

  • Skin breakouts

  • Anxiety

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Back pain

Can massage help ease PMS?

You might think of massage as an indulgent treat to be enjoyed once or twice a year, but its benefits go beyond pampering – especially when enjoyed regularly.

If you’re wondering how to reduce PMS symptoms naturally, massage is a great option – and it’s one you can look forward to. There are specific massages that help release natural endorphins to reduce pain and boost your mood, helping soothe symptoms such as headaches and anxiety.

If you tend to get the same symptoms each month, take a look at our guide below to find out which type of massage could help you the most.

For mood swings, try a relaxing massage

PMS can mess with your emotions, leaving you feeling irritable and on edge. And while an hour on the massage table might seem counterintuitive when you’re in a bad mood, it’s one of the best things you can do to regulate your nervous system. 

Our relaxing massage is designed to meet you where you are today. If that’s a bit grumpy and on edge, your therapist will begin with some breathing exercises to take the edge of. They’ll use light pressure and flowing massage strokes to gently ease tension and invite your mind and body to rest. 

Why you’ll love the relaxing massage:

  • Includes optional head massage 

  • Triggers the release of happy chemicals in the brain

  • Alleviates feelings of sadness or frustration

  • Improves circulation for enhanced well-being

Woman laying down getting a relaxing massage

Struggling with anxiety? Add regular de-stress massages to your routine

65% of respondents to Dr.Vegan’s annual PMS survey said they experienced anxiety before their period.

When you’re running a pattern of anxiety, your body’s fight or flight mode is activated, signalling danger and disrupting basic functions like sleep and digestion. Our de-stress treatment is designed to trigger the relaxation response – switching your body’s mode into rest and digest with aromatherapy and deeply relaxing massage techniques.

When you book with Urban, you can enjoy your chosen treatment in your own home. That means no anxious feelings about travelling somewhere new or getting on a busy tube.

Benefits of a de-stress massage:

  • Your pro will select special essential oils to increase relaxation

  • Light pressure is used to release tension and calm your nervous system

  • Activates the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the body after experiencing stress

Get the rest you need with a sleep massage

Struggling to get a good night's sleep the week before or during your period? It’s actually quite common – women with PMS are twice as likely to experience insomnia during this time. 

When this starts to make you feel sleepy and drowsy during the day, it can have a big effect on your overall well-being. But sleep massage therapy can help you drift right off.

Specifically designed to help you relax for a restful sleep, a sleep massage is known to not only improve sleep quality, but help you fall asleep faster.

How a sleep massage can help:

  • The sense of touch and slow, light pressure helps your body prepare for sleep

  • Boosts serotonin levels to promote feelings of relaxation making it easier to fall asleep

  • Sleepy essential oil blends enhance relaxation

  • Eased muscle tension calms your nervous system

Help soothe back pain with a deep tissue massage

When it comes to PMS, back pain can be an unwelcome companion due to hormonal changes, water retention, and pre-period contractions.

Fortunately, deep tissue massage offers a helping hand. By targeting the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue with firm pressure and slow strokes, it can release tension and knots, improving blood flow and reducing inflammation. Not only can it provide relief for back pain, but it also contributes to relaxation and stress reduction, helping with other PMS symptoms like anxiety and mood swings.

If you're looking for how to reduce PMS symptoms naturally and find relief from back pain, deep tissue massage is worth considering as part of your self-care routine.


For headaches, opt for a neck/shoulder massage

PMS can be a real headache, quite literally. Tight muscles around the neck and shoulders can squeeze blood flow, leading to those pounding head sensations. 

To help, choose a massage that targets muscle tension, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, or CBD massage. Be sure to speak to your therapist about your headache symptoms so they can work on the shoulder and neck area.

Getting good quality sleep is another way to treat headaches, and with massage therapy being known to improve the quality of sleep, it’s just another beneficial reason for adding massage into your routine. 

Before booking a massage for PMS headaches, be sure to check in with your GP to rule out other causes.

Does PMS cause your skin to break out? Try an Urban facial

You may notice a change in your skin when your period is due. This can be down to the increase in progesterone which boosts sebum production, trapping oil and causing buildup that leads to breakouts. If it starts to impact your confidence, doing something about it is key.

So whether you get more breakouts or your skin becomes more oily or dry, an expert facial is a great way to prevent and treat these symptoms.

At Urban, we offer a range of facials to help improve the condition of your skin. Choose from our top picks:

  • 60-minute Dermalogica facial – a completely customised experience. This ProSkin60 treatment is a combination of dermatologist-approved products and the expertise of a Dermalogica-trained technician. They’ll tailor the treatment to your skin for even better results.

  • Deep cleanse facial – to help clear congested skin, the deep cleanse facial unclogs pores, balances your pH levels and refines your skin tone for the perfect reset. Your pro will also ask about your skin concerns to help achieve your goals.

Birds eye view of Dr Vegan PMS Hero premenstrual support supplement bag

Support your symptoms with the right nutrition

Another way to reduce PMS symptoms naturally is through nutrition. DR.VEGAN® surveyed over 250 women and found that 67% eat less healthily when they’re experiencing PMS.. 

This could be because the changes in hormones during PMS cause blood sugar levels to drop, resulting in sugar cravings. These cravings may lead to poorer dietary choices, in turn making PMS symptoms worse, including bloating, gas, constipation, fatigue and poor sleep.

Getting good nutrition can help support women through their menstrual cycle. It’s important to reach for foods that are rich in iron and high in calcium and B vitamins during this time, such as dark leafy greens, tofu, lentils, white beans, chickpeas, kiwi fruit, almonds, walnuts, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, quinoa and brown rice.

Give supplements a try

A daily supplement such as PMS Hero® can also help balance your hormones for a better mood, body and mind every day. Formulated by expert nutritionists, PMS Hero® is an acclaimed formula with 12 naturally sourced ingredients to help relieve common PMS symptoms such as mood swings, cramps, breast tenderness and bloating. 

They found that 91% of women who take PMS Hero® daily enjoy relief and improve PMS symptoms and find it two times more effective than standard vitamins, supplements and other natural remedies.

Wondering what your diet is missing? Take DR.VEGAN®’s FREE 3 min online Diet Profile and discover the essential nutrients your body needs for your health goals and the foods that provide them.

Get 20% off DR.VEGAN®

Boost your nutrition with DR.VEGAN® and enjoy 20% when you use code URBAN20.

T&Cs: Can only be redeemed at www.drvegan.com for new customers only. Valid on the full range, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or bundles. Offer closes 31/05/2023.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) FAQ

PMS symptoms can start early because of the hormonal changes in your body, such as changes in oestrogen and progesterone levels.

PMS symptoms typically last for a few days to a week before your period begins. However, some women can experience symptoms for a longer period of time.

Yes, PMS symptoms can vary from month to month. Things such as stress, diet, exercise, and changes in hormonal levels can all affect how long and severe your PMS symptoms are.

PMS symptoms and pregnancy symptoms can be similar, such as trouble sleeping, breast tenderness, and mood changes. However, pregnancy symptoms are usually more intense and last longer than PMS symptoms. A missed period is also a clear sign of pregnancy.