HONOURING YOUR CYCLE: Menstruation • Winter • Days 1-7

Do you hate your period?

Do you dread its’ presence every month? Do you feel shamed and dirty every time you menstruate? Has someone scoffed at you or made a joke about “that time of the month” when you’ve showed any type of emotion other that what they felt was acceptable at the time? Maybe you’ve made the comment yourself, maybe you’ve berated yourself for feeling things more intensely during the time leading up to your bleed and for feeling sad and withdrawn during your bleed.

In Western Society – likely you learned about your period (if you were lucky enough to not start menstruating before grade 6) in a sterile Sex Education class in which the boys snickered and made groaning noises the whole time and the entire experience was embarrassing and medically sterile – lacking any emotion or room for deep conversations that should be held over this type of information – and you just couldn’t wait for it to be over!

If you are a mainstream family – likely periods were something that were shushed and hushed and not acknowledged as an everyday fact of life for 50% of the population. Likely you would shamefully hide your sanitary product in your sleeve or your purse as you snuck to the bathroom to tend to your dirty chore.

But that’s not the way it’s meant to be. God didn’t intend menstruation to be a shameful secret, He created the female reproductive system to create life! To sustain life! Menstruation is one part of that magnificent creation – and it can teach us so much about how we are doing physically, spiritually, and emotionally – if we would just change our view on menstruation and listen to our bodies.

I want you to consider the possibility that you could love your period and honour your whole cycle. I’m not talking about the dancing in a field of daisies in a white muslin gown “love your period” idea that menstrual products ads pedal in a desperate attempt to get you to buy their wares. I mean to really understand it, to acknowledge its’ separate parts and what that means for your everyday. I mean to know your body and its’ deepest workings so that you immediately know when something is not right. I want you to see your cycle and your period as a gift from God. The ability to grow and sustain a new human life inside your very own body, and then to bring that life forth to the world. This miracle could not exist for us if we did not have a menstrual cycle.

Yeah, but the Bible says menstruation is “unclean” or “impure” (Lev 15:19-30). But in this context, and for most of Leviticus for that matter, it is a series of laws written for a people in a very different environment with a different culture and in a different time. The concept of “unclean” in this context is ritual impurity. “Unclean” does not mean that God finds something “disgusting”. Rather, in these laws to the Jews around making sacrifices at the temple, an “unclean” person is not properly prepared to offer sacrifices before God. Many things could make people, men and women unclean, even a man who has had an emission of semen was considered unclean for a full day after (Lev 15:16). Before these unclean people could go into the holy places and once again offer sacrifices to God they had to go through cleansing rituals to become “clean” again. It was basic laws that followed along the ideas of good personal hygiene in a time when running water and soap were perhaps not as plentiful as today.

There is so much more to our Menstrual Cycle than PMS and bloating and moodiness and inconvenience. Our periods can teach us so much about how we have been treating ourselves, if we have been nourishing ourselves properly, and whether we have been respecting ourselves and honouring our own personal limitations.

So, what happens during our Menstrual Period or Moon that makes it something to celebrate?

Menstruation Winter Days 1-7

Our senses are heightened – taste, smell, sight, touch, and hearing, and as a result we are more aware of everything around us. We dream more! Bright vibrant and often prophetic dreams! Our energy has more inward focus which makes us less emotionally available for those around us. We go into hibernation, rest and repair. And we are in a process of death and rebirth – of this cycle to the next one, which makes this the perfect time to replace habits and intentions that are no longer serving you with new ones. And you will know what those habits and intentions are, because your intuition is heightened and you can see things more clearly during your Moon!

No wonder women who are in their Moon time are often considered prickly, sensitive and moody. Everything in their nature is telling them to recede, to spend time alone, to be quiet and reflective, and yet external demands of family, work, friends don’t just disappear. But doesn’t the knowledge of why you are feeling or reacting in a certain way change your actual feelings around that reaction if not the reaction itself?

So how can you honour your Moon time and even make it something you look forward to?

– Set aside a parcel of quiet time for yourself every day during your Moon to read or journal or just take a hot bath
– Prepare nutritious meals ahead of time and freeze them so you are spared this work when you are not feeling your best. This is an excellent practice if you have others who rely on you for nutrition during this time.
– SLEEP, sleep and more sleep. Sleep more hours during the night or schedule in a nap each day.
– Slow Down! Don’t expect to be as productive during your Moon as you are in other phases of your cycle.
– Schedule a self-care appointment each month during your Moon time like Reflexology or a Massage. Maybe you’d prefer a pedicure. Give yourself a reason to find joy in this time.
– Drink plenty of hot fluids that include ingredients like ginger, hawthorn and hibiscus. Go ahead and treat yourself with a little honey.
– Consider natural and organic cotton menstrual products or use a menstrual cup or cloth pads. Mainstream “cheaper” menstrual products come with the cost of more cramping and heavier flow as toxic chemicals and plastics (BPA and BPG) are situated right next to very tender mucous membranes.
– Recognize that any cramping and clotting (excluding Endometriosis/Adenomyosis pain) is the result of poor diet, increased stress and shoddy self-care and vow to do it better during the next cycle.

Period Pain

Painful cramps and major discomfort with your period, a major bell ringer for Hormone Imbalance, is common but not NORMAL.

Feeling muscle soreness or awareness similar to that of muscles after an invigorating work out is normal for the uterus during menstruation as it is actually contracting and working to shed the endometrial lining in preparation for your next cycle. Cramps and debilitating pain mean something is wrong… And it’s 99% chance your hormones are not in balance.

Things to do to rebalance your hormones:
· clean up your diet, remove added sugars, junk or fast foods, reduce wheat and maybe even remove milk
· get active! I don’t mean you have to train for a marathon, but take a walk or do yoga or ride your bike. Something small EVERY DAY will start making a difference.
· talk to a herbalist or naturopathic doctor about whether there’s some natural supplements, like Vitex (available at @goodnnatural ) you can add into your new healthier life that will expedite the healing and balancing
· seek hormone regulating therapy (like REFLEXOLOGY) and be consistent in your treatment plan.

R E M E M B E R : The imbalance of one cycle can follow you for the next 3, healing takes time, give your new routines the precious time they need to start working.

Things to do for the period pain in the meantime:
· drink warm fluids, lots of them, particularly ginger based or Hawthorne or Rosehip
· go for a walk to improve circulation
· take natural tinctures of 50/50 Cramp Bark and Black Cohosh (in water) for the pain, it’s much safer than Ibuprofen and just as effective if taken properly (available at @hollow_reed_holistic )

#womenshealth #periodpain #hormonebalance #reflexology #certifiedreproductivereflexologist

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

 

Hormone Balance, or imbalance, affects women across all the stages of menstrual life.

From the very beginning stages, a young woman approaching Menarche starts exhibiting signs of surging hormones, mood control issues, headaches, increased appetite, acne… fast forward to a woman who has been menstruating for a few years already and she is experiencing Pre Menstrual Symptoms like back pain, tender breasts, mood control issues, increased appetite, cyclical acne…. a New Mother, recently birthed and hormones having a hard time normalising, experiencing frequent bleeding well past the time of lochia, perhaps she is experiencing mood control issues as well and not sleeping well even when babe is sleeping, and a Peri Menopausal woman, night sweats, anxiety rushes, tender breasts, lack of sleep in luteal phase, loss of libido and all of the above symptoms as an added bonus… in the majority of cases these hormonal imbalances can be addressed and significantly improved if not resolved through natural medicines and natural foods.

Seed Cycling is one very easy and delicious way at addressing hormone imbalances.

Simply stated, the different types of seeds you eat during the different parts of your cycle have properties that will naturally begin balancing your hormones.

Now not every cycle is 28 days, as my clients know VERY well, [soapbox time] .

“Normal” cycles run from 21 to 35 days. To best calculate your follicular and luteal phases if you have a regular cycle, take your cycle length and subtract 12 or 14 (the number of days in an ideal luteal phase) to get the number of days in your Follicular Phase.

So if you generally have a 35 day cycle (give or take) you likely ovulate around Day 21-23. if you have a 21 day cycle you likely ovulate around Day 9-11.

If you are dealing with a more serious diagnosis like PCOS or Secondary Amenorrhea, this can still be VERY beneficial for you. You likely (especially if you are TTC) are already tracking your cycle in a Period Tracker of some sort (I recommend Kindara to all of my clients due to ease of use, adaptability and easy share function). Simply follow instructions for Follicular Phase until you have a positive ovulation indicator, then carry on Luteal Phase instruction.

So how does one go about Seed Cycling?

Here’s a cute infographic (that i couldn’t find an original source for so if someone knows, PLEASE educate me)

 

 

During your Follicular Phase (Start of Bleed until you Ovulate)
1 tbsp. freshly ground flax seeds: full of lignans that block any excess oestrogen.
1 tbsp. freshly ground pumpkin seeds: high in zinc which supports progesterone production.

During your Luteal Phase (After Ovulation until your next bleed)
1 tbsp. freshly ground sunflower seeds: high in selenium for hormone metabolism and liver detoxification.
1 tbsp. freshly ground sesame seeds: full of lignans that block excess oestrogen

Now, before you run out to your local Bulk Barn to load up on these tasty treats which are sure to send you into hormonal bliss, lets discuss FRESHNESS and ORGANIC!

I am not a huge pusher of organic, not because I don’t believe true organic is beneficial, rather because I know things marketed as organic AREN’T always, but they DO always carry a higher sticker price. So unless you are able to grow your own FRESH and ORGANIC seeds (and please, if you are, send some my way), find a reliable source for FRESH and ORGANIC seeds, like your local health food supplier (not grocery chain)… I stress FRESH because ground seeds lose their nutrients quickly enough that you don’t want something that’s been sitting around in barrels or bags for a long time. For maximum effectiveness, fresh is your best bet. I say (in this case) ORGANIC because why would we put something grown with hormone altering chemicals into our body as a way to regulate hormones… silly question, I know, you already thought of that yourselves because you are one smart group of readers!

Now, how do we consume these amazing hormone regulating tasty treats?

How about:
– on a bowl of hot breakfast cereal
– as a salad topper
– mixed into your 5% Greek Yogurt
– on top of that zucchini noodle coconut amino stir fry you just made

the possibilities are as endless as your Pinterest Search options..  now GO, DO!

Gloria Laing – Reflexology Therapist and Doula
Reflexology for Women’s Health, Fertility, Maternity, Birth Support