Menstrual cramps… Irritability… Low back pain… Tears… Nausea and Headaches…
In the 19th century, tampons were soaked in opium and belladonna…The opium was to relieve pain, and the belladonna was to dilate and relax the vagina. – Liz Sherman
More than 40% of menstruating humans in the U.S. experience menstrual pain, and 60-75% experience some form of PMS.
Although this is fairly common, we are not truly meant to experience these symptoms continuously. Healing and recovery can sometimes be quite a process, but it is absolutely possible, given the time invested into personal attention and care. Discomfort arises when we are not living with the natural ebb and flow of our body’s organic needs and desires.
The root cause of menstrual issues
Medical terms such as PMDD, PCOS, Fibromialgia, etc., are made-up terms by pharmaceutical companies who want to sell their products. Now, you might be thinking, “but I DO experience this!” This post is not meant to discount your painful experience, but solely bring into light that there are underlying issues which need your attention. By using medication, we cut off our body’s direct communication with ourselves, leaving the root of the problem ignored.
Her hormones tell her day to day what’s important. They mold her desires and values. – Abhijit Naskar
Our natural cycles are meant to fluctuate through emotions and physical changes. This offers a natural guide into our overall well being, as discomfort is our body’s way of communicating our needs and desires. Menstrual pain, PMS discomfort and moodiness are oftentimes a result of stuck energy that has yet to flow and pass through the body from a prior cycle or two. It is our job to release this energy through movement, food and our surroundings rather than ignore or block the feelings with substances like sugar, processed foods or caffeine.
Be patient. The longer a medical issue persists, the longer it may take to heal.
How can I heal my symptoms?
Each person’s discomfort is a unique experience, so there is not one solution to fix all painful periods. The first suggestion is to practice a method of charting your cycle. This opens the ability to connect with your unique cycles and understand each monthly rhythm and flow. Body literacy opens the initial gate for healing.
Menstrual discomfort can be altered with diet, exercise and lifestyle. Painkillers are not the solution.
Natural Remedies for menstrual cramps
Rest is not only important for our overall well being and mental health, but slowing down for more rest prior to and during menstruation is crucial for the rest of our cycle. It is recognized that if given the opportunity to rest more during menstruation, we experience more energy and ease throughout the rest of our cycles.
Prevent the use of all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. The back-lit screen prevents melatonin from releasing from our pineal gland, preventing the brain from experiencing its natural sleep/wake cycle. Use this hour to spend time with yourself by taking a bubble bath with essential oils (lavender or chamomile), journalism, reading, or a yin yoga practice.
It is not a common understanding that we should begin to slow down during menstruation. Society teaches us to continually work hard to reach our goals, although many of us do not allow for any down-time. Balance, or our yin and yang energies, are necessary to incorporate into life in order to feel content.
Menstruation is a time for your yin yoga practice. Yin yoga allows for inner silence and reflection.
Prevent the use of inversion asana’s during menstruation, as this reverses blood flow back up into the body rather than allowing for the necessary and natural outward flow.
- Sit on your yoga mat with the souls of your feet together, and knees opened to the floor. Place your arms comfortably over each knee, and slowly take an inhale through your nose into a slight “cow” position, and exhale with the back of your throat as you rock off your sits bone into a slight “cat” position. Slowly repeat 5 times.
- Lie down on your back with the souls of your feet together, and knees opened to the floor. Breathe the same as explained above and stay for as long as you please.
Eat organic, whole foods
Hormones have a much larger impact on our overall well being than most of us realize, and the food we eat is the fuel for our hormone production. Include organic fruits and veggies of all colors into your daily meals. Also, try to separate from dairy, trans fats, sugar, salt, and caffeine, and be sure that you recognize each and every ingredient on your packaged food.
Drink a large glass of water before eating anything for the day. Continue to drink a large glass of water in between meals, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after, to aid in proper digestion. Hydration is key for flushing excess toxins and nutrients out of the body.
During each menstrual period, it is important to stay internalized. What does this mean? Similar to the moon’s waxing and waning cycles, we experience fluctuations. Sometimes we feel bright, open and proactive. Other times we feel inward, quiet and set back. This is the natural and beautiful flow of each cycle, which allows us to reflect on the past month and make the changes necessary to grow and move forward. Menstruation is actually the most receptive time of our human experience.
- Journal – Write out feelings of gratitude, worry, or accomplishments, daily. This allows for the acceptance of each emotion. Why is it important? We are not supposed to feel happy every day, otherwise we would not understand the difference between happiness and discontent. Writing allows for the reflection and acceptance of our current situation and past experiences.
- Earth connection – Spend at least 30 minutes a day in nature. It is scientifically proven that being outside grounds our mind, body and soul.
Applying warmth will help relax tensed muscles, dramatically easing pain.
- Hot water bottle
- Heating Pad
- or, Fill a glass jar with hot water, secure it closed, wrap the jar inside of a piece of organic cotton, and use as a warm compress for menstrual discomfort
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Drink two cups of red raspberry leaf tea daily during your luteal phase (one week before your period).
Drink two cups of chamomile tea daily during menstruation.
Comment below with menstrual remedies that have worked for you!
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