How to Use Candles When You’re On Your Period & Why They Actually Work
I didn't start my period until I was 16.
When I did, I had heavy bleeding, headaches, and tiredness. Hormones play a massive role in how you feel when you’re on your period, and although my symptoms weren’t too bad, I knew others who suffered extreme cramps and severe mood swings.
Periods are never fun, but they are a time to stop, relax and take care of your body.
Candles do just that. Their calming nature and different scents relieve the period pain your hormones cause and help you unwind. Let’s go through exactly how you can use candles on your period and why they work.
Relieves painful period cramp
Cramps can be a b**** when you’re on your period. They leave you curling up on the couch with an oversized dairy milk bar and a hot water bottle. I had a friend whose cramps were so bad she would be up all night crying. And no wonder.
Doctors have ruled that some menstrual cramps are as painful as heart attacks.
That's because, similarly to childbirth, your uterus is contracting. You release hormones that inflame your gut to trigger the contractions, which also account for any bloating. So if you suffer cramps, you are experiencing contractions, just without the joy of a baby.
Lavender essential oil (the Goddess of all oils) is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Lighting a lavender candle and inhaling the scent calms the prostaglandins- the signals in your body that expel your uterine lining. (a.k.a contractions).
If your levels of prostaglandin are too high, you will experience more pain. You can inhale a lavender scent or massage a few drops of the diluted essential oil onto your belly. Bye-bye pain, hello lying in bed anyway because life is stressful.
Lift low moods caused by hormone fluctuation
When your period starts, your body is going through massive hormonal changes. A mans’ hormone levels rise and fall over a 24-hour cycle, which means they feel slightly different at different points in the day. Every night their body resets and goes through the same 24-hr cycle.
However, women experience a dramatic rise and fall in hormones throughout their cycle (21-35 days) due to a more complicated reproductive system.
After you ovulate, a hormone called estrogen declines. Serotonin and dopamine levels (your happy hormones) also drop and can cause low moods. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Citrusy scents, e.g. lime, lemon and grapefruit, increase your production of happy hormones.
A signal to have some ‘me-time’ when you’re tired
Self-care is essential if you want to live a balanced life, and when you’re feeling more vulnerable than usual, practising self-care is a no brainer.
The act of lighting a candle acknowledges that you are on your period and you need to wind down.
The candle is a physical symbol representing the choice to care for yourself. Opt for your favourite scents, grab some chocolate and settle down to a good rom-com. Preferably one that will make you laugh, cry, and accommodate all your high-intensity emotions.
During light yoga for cramps and back pain
Yoga is a calm, gentle and compassionate practice that can help ease cramps and backache. Certain yoga positions open up the pelvic region and gently massage your organs, relieving cramping and back pain.
Pairing scented candles with yoga encourage deep breathing to balance your nervous system during your menstrual phase.
Scented candles help you inhale slowly and deeply because pleasant aromas activate dopamine, connected to the reward part of your brain, so take some long breaths to relax the muscles and ease pain and mood swings.
Natural pain reliever for headaches
I don’t know about you, but I have a massive tendency to develop headaches and migraines during my period. Although I take ibuprofen, I’m not keen on taking too much, which is why natural options are a great add-on. Essential oils for natural pain relief include:
The above essential oils are anti-inflammatory, and breathing in the scents eases headaches. Light and enjoy the smell of a candle containing eucalyptus while you lie with a cold compress on your head.
Alternatively, you can apply the essential oil topically using a roll-on or massage it into your skin. Never apply an essential oil directly to your skin, but make sure you dilute it with carrier oils such as jojoba or argan oil.
Boost energy when you’re feeling lethargic
Estrogen levels dramatically rise then drop during the second phase of your cycle, causing fatigue and a general groggy feeling. The gentle flickering of a candle calms any anxious, irritable or frantic emotions that may drain your energy and contribute to tiredness.
A 2013 study indicates that peppermint oil relaxes the muscles and increases inhalation, providing more oxygen and energy.
Other great scents to decrease fatigue include sweet orange, lemon, and rosemary. If you’re feeling tired, go for a candle containing these mood-boosting scents.
PMS can bring a whirlwind of emotions, and irritability is one of them. Snapping at your work colleagues, your partner and becoming frustrated with yourself cause you to feel just that bit shittier when you’re on your period.
The hormonal changes during your period increase the activity in your fight or flight response, causing high levels of irritability.
The soothing flame, scents, and deep breathing associated with using candles balance out your nervous system, reducing the amount you snap at your nearest and dearest.