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Rael is a women-founded, natural self-care brand best known for its feminine care products.I tried the Rael Heating Patch to see if it would help ease my menstrual cramps.The herbal patch is formulated with lemon balm, rose hip, jasmine, juniper berry, and dandelion root to naturally treat PMS symptoms. The patch adheres to your underwear and heats upon application — I found it to work well and it was exactly what I was looking for to relieve intense cramps. This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Karen Duncan, an assistant professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone. I’m admittedly quite late in hopping on the natural remedy train. Occasionally, I’ll spoon an adaptogenic powder into my smoothie or drink mushroom hot chocolate to ease my anxiety, but that’s as advanced as it gets. Whenever it came to dealing with something physical, like grueling menstrual cramps, I’d pop a painkiller or power through with tea and a heating pad. That is, until the feminine care brand, Rael, launched its new Heating Patches. Rael’s mission is to curate period care products that are both high quality and high performance. Its products are made with organic materials and without harmful chemicals, so I’ve always felt safe using its pads and tampons. When it expanded into heat therapy with herbal heating patches, I had to try them out. What is the Rael Heating Patch and how does it work?The Rael Heating Patch is not your average heating pad. First, it doesn’t require electricity to warm up. All you have to do is remove the paper from the adhesive backing and adhere the patch over the area you want to soothe on top of your underwear. The heating patches are typically applied around the lower abdominal area but you can also use it to ease lower back pain. Heating pads that require you to plug them into a wall often have specific temperature settings and the heat only lasts for a few minutes at a time. The Rael Heating Patch warms to 149 degrees Fahrenheit and lasts for roughly 6 hours of wear. The patch is essentially an on-the-go heat therapy treatment for menstrual pain, something Rael’s co-founder, Yanghee Paik said was missing from the period care market.”In the Korean culture, which I grew up with, we’ve been educated by our moms to keep our belly warm all the time, and even more so during our period in order to soothe menstrual cramps,” Paik told Business Insider. “However, it’s not always easy to find a way to keep your belly warm for hours while you’re moving around at home or being active outside. So, our idea was to develop a heat therapy pad that can be used on-the-go, last for hours, and be easily applied on top of your underwear in a discreet way.”
My experienceSometimes my menstrual cramps are so bad I wear a heating pad like a blanket — and because my stomach is so weak, painkillers have to be a last resort. I depend on that heat therapy to relax the muscles of my uterus to give me some relief. Needless to say, it was a dark day when my trusty heating pad stopped heating. Hot showers and baths were an option, but the water only stays hot for so long. I needed something that would last at least a couple of hours, and that’s when I remembered I had a box of Rael Heating Patches stowed away in my bathroom. I’ve been using Rael Heating Patches for about six months now and I’m still impressed by how warm it gets without electricity. The patch takes only a few seconds to warm up and I’ve even found that when it starts to feel like it’s cooling off, a simple adjustment of the patch revs the heat back up again. It’s also worth noting that Rael Heating Patches provide more than just heat therapy. Each pad is infused with herbal extracts designed to add another layer of relief. There’s jasmine, which provides a calming effect, dandelion root to support healthy digestion and strengthen your immunity, rosehip for a much-needed boost in mood and energy, and lemon balm to help reduce swelling.Together, they intend to holistically treat menstrual pain “by relaxing the muscles of the uterus, increasing blood flow, and relieving stress,” Paik added. In my experience, the holistic powers of the heating patch can take a little while to kick in but after a half-hour or so, I definitely feel a difference not just in the intensity of my cramps but my mood as well. Whether this is the outcome of the reduced cramping or the herbal extracts is hard to definitively tell. Once I feel better physically, I feel better mentally, too, which translates to less brain fog and a better attitude overall.It’s worth mentioning that our medical reviewer, Dr. Karen Duncan, an assistant professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone, pointed out that everyone has different levels of skin sensitivity to heat, chemicals, and fragrances. Test the patch on a less sensitive area of your body when you first use it to get a feel for how your skin might react. Cons worth mentioningThe temperaturePrior to making the switch from electric pads to Rael’s herbal patch, I was the person who would crank up my heating pad to the highest setting. The patch warms up, but I wouldn’t say it feels particularly hot. If you experience more intense cramping, you might prefer a product with temperature settings you can adjust. The adhesiveThe patch is meant to latch onto your underwear (and Rael specifically advises to not adhere it directly to your skin), but it doesn’t stick properly to all materials. You also want to wear undergarments with enough material to cover your lower abdominals so that you have the room to move the patch should the irritation bother you in different spots.
The bottom lineThe Rael Heating Patch was my saving grace after my electric heating pad fizzled out. Though it doesn’t have temperature settings that allow you to choose how hot you’d like it, the patch warms naturally and heats up just enough to be effective. Additionally, the holistic patch is infused with herbs that have been traditionally used to ease menstrual cramping. A box of Rael Heating Patches costs $6.00 and includes three patches. The patches can be worn for up to six hours, and because each patch is infused with five organic herbs, I think the price tag is more than reasonable.Should you try them? If you lead an active lifestyle or are someone who’s constantly on the go, the Rael Heat Patch is an excellent alternative to electric heating pads that keep you stationary for a while. I also highly recommend them to anyone considering a switch to holistic and natural remedies. What are your alternatives? An online retailer like Amazon is full of alternative remedies or products designed to help ease period cramps. But much of it comes down to personal preference and comfort. Alisa Vitti, creator of the period-tracking app MyFlo, told Business Insider that she prefers using hot water bottles or even microwavable herbal packs as alternatives.Pros: Inexpensive price tag for three patches, stays hot for hours at a time, versatile for on-the-go-use, worked well to ease my crampsCons: Doesn’t easily adhere to every fabric type, can’t be put directly on your skin, doesn’t get extremely hot