Did you know you get a monthly report card on the state of your health and well-being: it’s your period. If you’ve ever been to a traditional Chinese Medicine based acupuncturist you’ll have been asked all sorts of detailed questions about your cycle. Not just how long or how often, but what’s it actually like? Is it fresh red, dark red, brown? Does it start with a gush or creep in with spotting? Does it just stop or trail on in dribs and drabs for days? Does it hurt, before, during or after or all? Is the pain sharp and stabbing or dull and heavy? Does it have clots? Big ones? Small ones? Stringy or gloopy bits? I bet you never knew there was SO much to discuss about your period!
You see each of these details helps us decode what is happening, helps us understand if you are deficient in certain energies, excess in others, stuck or depleted in some way. You may think you’re quite good at being healthy or relaxed, but sometimes your period can tell another story. What happens with your uterus doesn’t happen in isolation from the rest of your body. So what you eat, drink, think, do, experience; all of it has an impact.
In an ideal world, if you are physically and emotionally in balance, your period just appears, no cramping or major PMS beforehand, with fresh red blood, enough to change your pad every 3 hours, no pain. No clots. It’s like that for day 1, maybe day 2. Day three is noticeably lighter, day 4 is very light and on day 5 it finishes. No dribs and drabs.
Does that sound like you? No? You are not alone. You see, most of us are, I would say, perfectly imperfect. We all have stuff that’s gone wrong in life, we don’t all get enough sleep, the right food or learn to send love and light to everyone who really pisses us off. Stuff happens. And our bodies tell the tale.
As women, we are often carrying the load of years of stress/abuse/trauma/holding our shit together. Not just our own individual experiences, but society’s collective experience: Women, don’t walk down the street alone at night, women, you are temptresses and responsible for men’s behaviour, women, you are weak and need protecting, women you must not have an opinion, you are too loud. So is it any wonder, that our periods can be problematic?
A crucial part of getting our cycles in balance is working on our stress levels. Taking the time not just to chill out and relax, but to feel safe in our own skin. How many of us really feel that? It’s not enough to just not be busy, we need to take the time to actively put ourselves into a state of deep and womb-like safety and relaxation. Allow time for our parasympathetic nervous system to realise the tiger isn’t actually chasing us. That there isn’t danger around the street corner. We need to get to know our own bodies and feel safe in them. How many of you feel in some way bits of your body have let you down as they don’t work quite right or have been hurt or unwell? How many never think of your uterus in positive terms as it just seems to cause pain? Connecting back with your body and learning to be aware of each and every part of it is really important for this. This is why I’m a big fan of breathwork and body scans. Slow, deep belly breathing stimulates your vagus nerve, the big one that connects body and mind. Body-scan meditations help you realise how much of your body is actually just fine and helps you feel connected to your whole self, not just be stuck in your head.
I’m not saying breath and body-scans will solve all your period problems, but they are a crucial part of healing. Try it. Commit to 5 mins each day of slow deep breathing. Or download a body-scan meditation off you-tube and do it a few times a week. Remind yourself as you slow breathe that right at that moment, you are safe. When you do the body-scan and get to your pelvis, breathe deeply and send healing breath into your uterus. When you exhale, visualise all past hurts leaving your body. This takes practice and is a process, but it’s one worth doing. Try it for a whole cycle. Then see how your next period is!
Remember our bodies are always communicating with us but most of us have been taught not to listen. Trying the above will give you the time and space to listen to one of the most important voices you will ever hear, your own.
If you’d like to chat more about your menstrual cycle or hormones, please message me on Facebook, and let’s chat.