As someone who has suffered from intense period pain due to endometriosis, I am always on the lookout for natural and non-toxic period pain remedies. Before I dove into the holistic and natural remedies for period pain, my menstrual cycle looked like three days on the couch with an electric heating pad, bottles of Ibuprofen, and non-stop episodes of Riverdale on Netflix. Now that I've learned to understand my cycle more and have peeled back the layers of why my period hurts so much - the biggest issue I had was finding a natural, non-toxic, and eco-friendly heating pad.
That's why I'm having Lindsay Clark of Handmade Heat on the blog today to teach us all about the unsung hero of dealing with period pain - heat! Lindsay is going to share with us why we should consider a natural heating pad, its benefits, and how it can help you give period pain the 1-2-punch. Welcome, Lindsay!
Hi! I'm Lindsay Clark of HandMade Heat.
As women I think we can all agree that our periods have been frustrating at one time or another. In general, though, women are in one of two camps:
Whichever one you fall into, I feel fairly confident in assuming you’ve had at least a hiccup or two along the way. Maybe it was because you started your period at an inconvenient time one month, or you leaked through your jeans, or it was especially painful. The thing about a period is that it doesn’t just alter our physical state, but our emotional state, too. Hello, emotions! Let’s face it, we can appreciate the biological purpose of menstrual cycles, but I don’t know any girl who loves getting her period.
I’ll Never Get Used To This Period Stuff
Think about it, most women will have a menstrual cycle for 40+ years. The very nature of a period is persistent, recurring, and often quite painful. I mean, your uterus has to squeeze out its own lining! I remember about a year after my first period my 12 year old self thought, “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this period stuff!” And in some ways...I still haven’t.
Now, I will say that period products have certainly come a long way in the last few years. You may have noticed, or tried, some of the new non-toxic period solutions on the market. Up until recently there weren’t many of these types of options made widely available to women.
Luckily, now we’re seeing women-owned businesses stepping up to the plate to ensure we have better choices - from reusable absorbable panties to silicone menstrual cups. It's also a relief to see pads, tampons, and panty liners being made with non-toxic, organic, and sustainable materials.
Whether it’s living a non-toxic lifestyle, reducing waste, or ensuring healthy hormone function, being aware of what you are using during your period and the effects it has on your health is paramount!
Here's the kicker though. The one major period solution area that’s lacking is NATURAL PAIN RELIEF. When it comes to period pain, we’ve always just been told to:
Nowadays there’s so much more emphasis on women's’ health, mental health, and self-care. Add to this list the drive to tend to our wellness as naturally as possible.
I’m 100% on the natural living bandwagon, but I know when we’re hurting all we want is help now. We need the kind of help that:
From a young age, I found that heat was my friend during my period. I remember my mom would buy those disposable adhesive heating strips for me to wear to school and they truly saved me. I don’t know if you have excruciating periods or not...maybe you have painful ovulation or some other weird cycle issue that plagues you, but I promise that if you get cranky, tired, emotional or have any kind of pain associated with your period then, girl, you need heat.
Why Heat Is The Unsung Hero Of Period Pain Relief
Today I have the period relief tip that might change your life. Heat! Why?
The brain translates warmth as safety. The quickest way to get your brain to signal relaxation to your body, and therefore experience pain relief, is through the application of heat. Think about how you feel on a warm and sunny beach. Relaxed. How do you feel in a soothing hot bath? Relaxed. Think about how you feel when you walk into your warm home after being outside in the cold. Relaxed. Everything loosens up. Your shoulders relax, your breathing normalizes, your cheeks get rosy. Heat brings blood to the surface and, in a primal sense, your brain translates warmth as safety. Ahhh, it’s truly a lovely feeling.
So to implement my tips today you are definitely going to need a heating pad. My heat pack period-saving-tips are designed for immediate results and, trust me, they’re incredibly easy to implement.
What you are going to need first though, is a heating pad that can get the job done...
What should you look for in a heating pad or pack to help with period pain?
You may be wondering why your heat pack choice needs to be so specific. I’ve run into so many women who just don’t get why their electric heating pad won’t do the trick...or why their quilted, synthetic pack from Amazon won’t do. You’ll never hear me say those heat sources are useless. Heat is heat and I’ll be the first to admit it. However, those options can’t give you the results I’m going to teach you about today.
As for electric heating pads, research at the University of Washington has suggested that exposure to low-level magnetic fields emitted by such appliances as hairdryers, electric blankets and electric razors can damage DNA in brain cells. Listen, I’m not here to worry you, but if there are safer options use them!
So if you are in the market for a heating pad, I am going to wholeheartedly recommend the handmade heat packs created by yours truly at HandMade Heat. Here's why...
Why I started HandMade Heat
Sometimes the best way to describe the heating pad/pack benefits is through a testimonial. While I’ve received many from our customers, it’s my own story and health journey that started everything.
In 2013, my lifelong painful periods took a turn for the worse. With each cycle the pain became more widespread and lasted longer. Eventually the pain almost never ceased and in December of 2015 I had an exploratory surgery. The surgery was an attempt to find out why I was constantly in excruciating pain from cramps, low back pain and overall dis-ease. I couldn’t eat without pain, couldn’t move much without pain, and it felt like my entire world was crumbling.
I’d had a really tough time with my periods since the very first one, but it was in my 20’s when I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. If you or someone you know has chronic period pain it’s important to get help. For now there’s no cure for any chronic pelvic diseases and managing the pain associated with them is extremely challenging. So get checked!
In my personal experience, over-the-counter and prescription meds barely touched the pain of endometriosis, but sitting in a hot bath or applying a super hot heat pack was surprisingly powerful.
In the early days when I needed it most, there weren’t many options for heating pads that met my strict standards. That's why I decided to design my own with HandMade Heat. Our heat packs and pads are designed by a woman, for a woman. If used properly, nothing about them is harmful, dangerous or toxic. They’re purely comforting, cozy, calming, and safe for your bod.
Even before I got sick, I’d made a personal commitment to a natural way of living. What I quickly came to realize was... nobody’s life could be 100% toxin free. So, instead of stressing about maintaining a completely non-toxic life, I chose a low-toxic one instead.
Because of my belief in low-toxic living, one of my design specifications for HandMade Heat was that the entire product, from threads to fill to textiles, needed to be as non-toxic as possible. Buying organic often means higher costs to customers, so instead of using certified organic materials we’ve looked to low-toxic, natural fiber materials instead.
Like you, I believe that reducing chemical exposure in all its forms and caring for ourselves and the Earth is essential, but all of our budgets play a part in our choices, too. To reduce costs, and therefore pass savings on to our customers, we source natural fibers and materials and only purchase textiles from makers who are committed to reducing waste, chemical exposure, and produce high quality fabrics. Every heat pack is handmade in our studio with the safest practices and attention to detail.
Heat Therapy Pack Placement Techniques
Okay girl, now we are getting into the actionable stuff!The key to pain relief is understanding heat therapy pack placement techniques. Remember these four points:
Psst! If you’d like to see more examples and watch tutorials on these techniques, you can follow along at our Instagram account @simplyhandmadeheat
You have to understand a bit more about the body area we refer to as “the saddle” before this’ll make sense. Imagine you’re sitting on a horse and think about where your body comes into contact with it. That’s “the saddle” area. It’s your inner thighs, bum and groin. There are so many nerves and blood vessels running through this area that during your period it becomes especially susceptible to pain. When you couple this extra sensitive “saddle” area with the contractions your uterus is having during your period (i.e. cramps) you’ve got a lot of potential for feeling less than great.
Before you get started I want to let you know that you can (and probably should) do this over your undies or clothing. Keep in mind that HandMade Heat Packs do come with washable covers that might come in handy. 😉
How to do the BYT Method
What’s great is that you can do this while watching Netflix, while you’re sitting at a desk, or driving in the car. I always encourage this placement technique when you go to bed. The weight and design of HMH therapy packs makes this technique easy to figure out, but don’t be afraid to mold it to every curve so that you get as much contact with the heat as possible. That’s where the relief is!
Even if you find your period pain to be minimal, I highly recommend you give this technique a shot. You may not recognize how tense your body has become just keeping up with life’s busy pace. When your mind is tense, your body is often tense, too. Tense muscles don’t allow blood to flow as easily throughout the body, which can create a sort of stagnation that contributes to a lack of energy and vibrancy throughout your body. Definitely a recipe for that heavy, icky feeling you get on your period.
I hope you try these techniques out as soon as you get the opportunity. Hundreds of women are using them with rave reviews and I’m excited to know how much it helps you, too.
Heating Pad and Pack FAQs
Q: Why does the size and shape matter?
A: To hit all the important heat pack placement techniques the pack must be large enough to fit what we call “shoulder to shoulder for anxiety, and hip to hip for period pain.”
Q: What’s the deal with quilted versus un-quilted?
A: Try a quick search for heat packs and you’ll find all sorts of packs that are quilted. Quilting does keep the interior fill in place, however it also creates a very stiff shape. We like packs that form and shape to a woman’s curves.
Q: Why is it important to use more natural materials?
A: Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs what we put on it. When you couple heat and synthetics, more of the chemical makeup in that textile becomes available to your skin. Synthetic fibers have a chemical laden smell because that’s how they're made, natural fiber textiles do not. Natural fiber textiles also have a much more beautiful and timeless look and feel.
What do customers say about HandMade Heat?
After designing and testing many prototypes, the Classic HandMade Heat Pack was born. Lindsay and her husband live in Washington state where they run a holistic wellness practice and small organically-grown produce farm.
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