17. Try Acupuncture: According to Chinese tradition, cramps can be caused by stagnant blood in the uterus. Acupuncture is thought to trigger several chemical reactions that increase blood flow and relieve contractions.
18. Reflexology Helps: Reflexologists believe that the foot represents a map of the entire body and that each body part is connected by a network of nerves corresponding to a point on the foot. A study of 18 women published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1993 found that 83% of those treated with reflexology experienced at least a 30% reduction in their symptoms.
19. Do Crunches: The thought of sit-ups probably seems like torture, but working the abdominal muscles will reduce cramping by increasing blood flow.
20. Make Love: There haven't been official studies, but some women claim that an orgasm relieve cramps.
21. Oil Massage: Heat a teaspoon of almond oil, then add four drops of chamomile essential oil. Gently massage the combination on to your lower abdomen. Chamomile, an antispasmodic herb, calms cramps, while massage increases blood flow and the amount of oxygen pumped to your cells. (Never apply chamomile oil directly to the skin without mixing with a carrier oil like almond.)
22. Vitamin E: Try taking 400 international units of vitamin E one or two times a day for three full cycles. If breast tenderness doesn't improve, stop the treatment. Caution: If you have heamorrhaging problems or are taking blood thinners or fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor before taking extra E. And don't exceed the recommended amount, since it can be toxic in high doses.
23. Natural Progesterone Cream: It's available at health food stores and some drugstores without a prescription. (A reliable brand to try is Progest.) Apply a quarter- to a half-teaspoon to the breasts twice a day. Start the treatment as soon as your breasts start to feel tender.
24. Turn On Cold Water: Heat causes blood vessels to dilate (the reason your skin gets pink) and contributes to breast swelling. For relief, wrap ice packs in towels and mold them around your breasts.
25. Eat Salmon: Salmon's omega-3 fatty acids aren't only heart smart; they're breast smart too. Some studies have found that essential fatty acids can reduce breast tenderness and lumpiness by regulating the hormone prolactin, which controls changes in fluid metabolism (and mood). Other good sources include tuna and sardines.
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