Updated: Sep 30, 2019
What is your relationship to your period? Do you dread it? Do you love it? Does it make you feel empowered and connected to your body? Or do you feel disconnected, dirty, in-pain and wish it would just fuck off?!
Periods. Blood. Bleeding. Menstruation. Moon Time. Bleed Time. Rag Time. Lady Time. Whatever you call it, it is something that happens to almost all of us women, every month, whether we like it or not. Maybe we don’t have time to bleed, maybe it feels inconvenient, irritating or a nuisance. We have been led to believe that we should cover up our period and be discreet about it, not talk about it or share what we are going through, but to keep quiet and just get on with it - no matter what pain, discomfort, emotions, symptoms we are experiencing. Which is why it is totally understandable if you feel totally disconnected to this part of your monthly cycle and wish that it would go away.
WELL… I am here to tell you that actually, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. There is so much magic, wisdom, nourishment and healing to be had during our menstruation, a deep shedding and letting go of the previous month and a drawing in for the month ahead. What if I was to tell you that by paying attention to your cycle and tuning in to it, you could actually begin to ease the menstrual symptoms of PMT, pain, cramping, irregular bleeds, exhaustion, heavy bleeding? What if I was to tell you that by re-connecting with your body and your natural feminine rhythm, you could actually change your life and in turn help you to LOVE this part of your cycle?! I am guessing that many of you think I’m mad, just a crazy hippy who loves to talk about moons, menstruation, wombs and mother earth (Well… you would be right, ha ha!) But actually there is so much more to a healthy menstrual cycle than just the spiritual aspects to your bleed. There is the physical, emotional and mental aspects that are just as important, and I hope that through this blog post I will be able to outline some tools and tips to help you re-balance your menstrual cycle, re-balance your hormones, connect you to your inner wisdom and magic, re-connect to your femininity, ease some of your menstrual symptoms and hopefully begin to actually enjoy your moon time, rather than despise it.
YOUR INNER WINTER
Your bleed time is sacred. Your bleed time is potent and powerful. This is like your Inner Winter, your time to retreat inside, light some candles and snuggle up under a big blanket. This is your time to switch off, take yourself away and rest. Just like the season of Winter, your period is a time of reflection, recuperation, nourishment and letting go. We are blessed as women that we are cyclical like the seasons. We have a time of planting seeds in our Inner Spring (pre-ovulation), abundance and fruition in our Inner Summer (ovulation), reflection and expression in our Inner Autumn (pre-menstruation) and letting go and renewal in our Inner Winter (menstruation). During menstruation we have the chance to reflect on all the things that have happened throughout the previous month and identify what we need to let go of with our bleed, so that we can move forward into our new cycle feeling fresh and reborn. It can be really hard in today’s society to take time out of daily life of work or looking after the kids, to rest in this phase and to really tune in and let go. Quite often we don’t have time, or wish that our bleed would just hurry up and go away so that we can continue with our hectic lifestyles. But by doing this, we are missing out on some incredibly powerful medicine for ourselves as women, and may also be helping to contribute to many of the menstrual issues and symptoms that we experience each month. By ignoring and disregarding our awe-inspiring bodies at this time of our cycle, we are causing more damage than good. It is a time to slow down, to switch off and to hand over to someone else for a while!
I know I can fully notice when I haven’t tuned in and slowed down for my bleed. I end up utterly exhausted coming into my Inner Spring, with mental energy to want to create and manifest, but absolutely NO physical or emotional energy to carry these things through. Its because I haven’t let my body rest, my emotions flow and my bleed be seen, respected and honoured. But when I slow down during my Inner Autumn and take the first 2 days of my bleed to do NOTHING other than nourish myself with food, journal, spend time in nature, plan, let go of old worn out things and eat dark chocolate…. I come out the other end feeling refreshed and ready to take on a brand new cycle and a brand new journey for myself.
MENSTRUAL HEALTH ISSUES
So… how many of you have been told that those excruciating cramps you feel each month are ‘normal’?? Or that the heavy bleeding, long cycles or PMT are absolutely fine if they are normal for you? Well, let me let you in to a little secret. Cramping, discomfort, pain, mood swings and heavy bleeding are not normal they are all signs that something is out of balance within your body and it needs re-balancing. Pain is the body’s way of telling us that there is an issue. It isn’t something that we just need to live with, ignore or cover up with strong pain medication. No. It is a sign that we are out of sync, that our womb needs some attention and connection, and maybe some help with her monthly cleanse.
Here are a few common menstrual health complaints that many women suffer with on a monthly basis. I have done my best to explain what they are and why the occur, information that isn’t always massively accessible or clear for us women.
Cramping - often occurs when the womb is unable to cleanse herself properly during your monthly bleed due to built up old residue (old blood). If the womb is congested and can’t cleanse properly, she will cramp to try and push the old residue out, resulting in lots of pain, aching, dragging feelings and discomfort.
PMT - often during the pre-menstrual phase includes mood swings, anger, rage, feelings of depression or anxiety, contradictory feelings, restlessness, sadness, heightened emotions. Often caused by an imbalance in hormones or not giving yourself enough time to rest, slow down and go inward during your pre-menstrual phase.
Heavy Bleeding - This can occur if you have any of the reproductive pathologies detailed above (fibroids, endometritis, cysts) or if you didn’t get a good uterine cleanse after you have given birth.
Long Cycles of 31 Days or More - this can often indicate that you have a congested womb with lots of old residue.
Brown or Black Blood rather than Fresh Red Blood - brown or black blood at the beginning of your bleed is blood left over from your previous cycle. Brown or black blood at the end of your bleed, is left over blood from much older cycles. The ideal period blood is fresh red blood, this is normal.
Irregular Bleeds - there can be many reasons for irregular periods; hormonal imbalances, stress related issues, low weight, birth control or contraception, peri-menopause or menopause, post partum.
Missing Periods - you can have missing periods when you are under a lot of stress, if your body weight is too low, if your body doesn’t energetically feel it is safe to bleed, birth control or certain types of contraception, post partum, womb congestion.
Interim Bleeding, Spontaneous Bleeding or Two Periods per Month - this occurs usually when the woman’s body is exhausted and doesn’t have the energy to hold on to the blood. The blood vessels become weak and open early, resulting in bleeding in-between periods. If the woman is under particular stress, burn out, exhaustion, worry, fear or any other stress related health concern the her body can become very sensitive and weak, causing the bleeding to come early.
Reproductive Pathologies which can affect our menstrual cycles and bleeds:
Fibroids - a build up of mucous or fibrous tissue that have formed into solid lumps which can grow within the womb, outside the womb or within the womb walls - causing heavy bleeding, lots of pain, potential tilted womb, difficulty conceiving.
Endometriosis - where the endometrial lining grows outside the womb, causing scarring, adhesions, heavy bleeding and lots of pain.
Ovarian Cysts - sore, puss filled cysts that can occur on the ovaries causing lots of pain during ovulation and through the rest of the cycle. Can also cause bleeding and cramping.
The good news is that there are some natural tools that you can use to get your period back on track, reduce the pain and re-balance or hormones… all without the use of chemically based medication, surgery, IUD’s or birth control pills.
MENSTRUAL HEALTH HELP
So, other than connecting to your body emotionally, spiritually and energetically during menstruation, it is also really important to find tools to help your womb and body physically too. Now, you may have heard mixed messages about the things I am about to mention through the media or through your doctor - but I urge to you continue reading, learn the facts and make up your own mind, like the strong and empowered woman that YOU ARE.
WOMB & MENSTRUAL MASSAGE
Womb & Menstrual Massage is a deeply feminine, deeply energetic massage therapy which combines sacral, digestive and womb massage with energy healing to bring you into a deeper connection with your body. The massage itself is very beneficial for help with all types of menstrual issues including: painful periods, cramping, heavy bleeds, PMT, irregular periods, missing periods, clotting, brown and black blood. It is also very effective for helping to reduce the symptoms and provide relief from reproductive issues such as: endometritis, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, tilted womb, tight pelvic ligaments, tilted pelvis, as well as menopausal issues such as: hot flushes, vaginal dryness, imbalanced hormones and difficult emotions associated with the menopausal transition.
Increases blood flow to the female reproductive organs which boosts vitality, sensation, energy, health and well-ness of your womb and pelvis.
Encourages the digestive system to work efficiently, boosting the immune system and gut health which directly affects your natural fertility.
Helps to balance female hormones, stabilising PMT symptoms, easing menopausal issues, irregular bleeds, missing bleeds.
Releases tension in the pelvic region which can cause the pelvis or womb to become out of alignment.
Helps to ease congestion in the pelvic region which can cause cramping and discomfort - this can be menstrual related e.g. old blood, clots, menstrual residue or reproductive issues such as endometritis, fibroids, polycystic ovaries etc.
Soothing for stress, anxiety and worry - this massage is incredibly gentle and nurturing on all levels.
Helps to release old emotional trauma or blockages that may be holding you back from moving forward with your life.
If you are interested in booking a Free 20 min Consultation Chat with me to talk about how I can help you personally, please feel free to Contact Me. These chats are completely free with no obligation to book afterwards :)
YONI STEAMING/VAGINAL STEAMING
Now, I know it may sound like a strange concept to you if you haven’t heard of yoni or vaginal steaming before… but stay with me, okay? The art of steaming your yoni with herbs has been used by traditional midwives and healers for centuries to nourish the female reproductive organs and to help heal menstrual, emotional, energetic and physical reproductive health issues. These include ailments such as: fibroids, endometritis, cysts, bacterial vaginosis, herpes, HPV, yeast infections, fertility problems, irregular periods, pelvic trauma, vaginal dryness, lack of libido, painful periods, cramping, heavy bleeding, blood clots and absent bleeding, infections, menopausal symptoms, missing periods, uterine fatigue. An infusion of specially chosen, organic herbs are collected and soaked in a large pot or bowl, which is then placed under your yoni so that the nourishing herbal vapour can rise and give you a delicious, sensual steam. The volatile oils in the herbs are released, drifting into a beautifully smelling, warm, healing steam that massages your yoni, relaxes your uterine muscles and gives you a big kiss from the inside out. Sounds pretty good hey?
Steaming once a week (in each phase of your cycle is great) can really help to increase circulation to your womb and pelvis, cleanse away old residue, relax tight ligaments in the pelvis, balance the hormones, melt away fibroids, soften scar tissue from surgery and endometriosis, draw out old energies that are no longer needed, calm and real you, and make you smell and taste wonderful!!
I am currently training as a Vaginal Steam Practitioner with Steamy Chick, so will be offering Yoni Steam Therapy this coming Autumn if you would like support with a herbal blend to suit your particular needs and a nourishing, safe space for you to receive your session. Please Contact Me for more information.
If you would like more information before you take the plunge, I highly recommend watching this YouTube video by Keli from Steamy Chick: Vaginal Steaming 101 and checking out her website for more information.
TIPS & TOOLS TO CONNECT TO YOUR MOON TIME
JOURNAL - Treat yourself to a menstruation/moon time journal and allow yourself to free-flow-write any thoughts, feelings, emotions that come up during your bleed time. You could draw, paint, write poetry, write what you would like to draw in for your next cycle, or let go of for the current one.
Write down all the things that you would like to let go of with your bleed and create a little ceremonial fire to burn the list on. This is a really powerful way to let go of old worn out thoughts, feelings, situations, people that are no longer serving you moving forward.
DO NOTHING - Try to plan at least an hour on day 1 of your bleed (a whole day is even better!) to do nothing. To switch off your phone and do whatever it is you feel you need in that moment. It could be napping, having a hot bath, journalling, calling a friend, sitting in nature... whatever your womb and body is calling for, grant this to yourself as an act of devotion.
REFRAIN FROM EXERCISE - Try not to do any hard physical exercise on the first 3 days of your period, your body needs to stop and rest, and there is a potential risk of menstrual blood flowing backwards up through the fallopian tubes which can potentially cause endometritis, as it transports the endometrial cells outside of the womb.
CREATE AN ALTER (a sacred space in your home to put objects that are special and sacred to you) for your bleed time to honour your body and your womb. You could decorate it with red scarves and silks, crystals you feel drawn to, herbs, flowers, poems, photos, candles.... anything that feels right to you. Let this be your sacred space during your bleed to come and reflect, let go of things, cry, laugh, hollar - whatever feels good to you.
CHOCOLATE - this is a must for any menstruating woman!!
WOMB LOVE - Check in with your womb - place your hands on her and ask her how she is, and if she has any messages for you. Journal what comes up.
ESSENTIAL OILS - Clary Sage, Rose, Jasmine, Geranium, Chamomile are really good essential oils to help balance hormones and relieve menstrual cramps.
HERBS - I have been making a heart healing blend of rose petal, hawthorn flower and calendula during my bleed time - but why not listen to your body and see what herbs you feel drawn to? This will be the exact medicine that you need :)
RECIPE FOR YOUR MOON TIME
BEETROOT AND TURMERIC COCONUT STEW with Sage and Walnut Pesto.
No blog post on menstruation would be complete without a recipe for something nourishing, wholesome and delicious - so this Beetroot and Turmeric Coconut Stew Recipe is for you. All pink, full off nutrients, vitamins, minerals and super tasty flavours… perfect for your tummy-hugging food for your Moon Time.
This stew is a super grounding, nourishing, wholesome dish and I absolutely love to make it at this before my bleed is due. I know I will need some comfort food and a big cuddle from the inside, and this does exactly that. Beetroots are full of folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C, rich in anti-oxidants, are anti-inflammatory, boosts production of red blood cells (so great for anemia around your bleed time) boost the digestion and the immune system...just name a few benefits! The sage in the pesto is super great for aiding digestion, and can help ease the ‘menstruation blues’ that many of us get during our cycle. This dish is best shared with a close loved one or friend, snuggled up under a blanket with some calming music on and candles. Lots of candles.
¥ 3 organic beetroots
1/2 a large organic sweet potato
¥ 400ml can of coconut milk
¥ 1 red chili (de-seeded and sliced lengthways)
¥ 4 cloves of garlic
¥ 1 brown onion
¥ 2-3 inches of ginger root
¥ 2-3 inches of fresh turmeric root
¥ 2 tsp ground coriander
¥ 2 tsp ground cumin
¥ 1 tsp paprika
¥ 1 tbsp cumin seeds
¥ 1 tsp rock or sea salt
¥ 1/2 a lemon
¥ Peel and chop the beetroots and sweet potato into medium sized chunks and put aside.
¥ Chop garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, and chilli - add 1 tbsp cumin seeds and fry until golden brown.
¥ Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika and a tbsp of water and cook the spices until fragrant.
¥ Add the coconut milk, salt, lemon and fresh coriander and heat through - check the seasoning to make sure it tastes good to you.
¥ Then add the beetroot and sweet potato and gently cook until soft.
¥ And Volla!
¥ When ready, dish up the soup, add a big dollop of sage and walnut pesto (optional), some fresh coriander leaves and serve with a big hunk of fresh sourdough bread.
SAGE + WALNUT PESTO
¥ 20g sage leaves
¥ 20g parsley
¥ 1 clove garlic
¥ 80g toasted walnuts
¥ 100g olive oil
¥ 10g apple cider vinegar
¥ salt to taste
¥ Toast the walnuts and let them cool
¥ Add everything to the food processor apart from the oil and blitz until smooth, then slowly add the olive oil and let it combine.
¥ Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Please note: all above food recipes include nuts.
I am aware I have given you lots of information to go away and process!! But I feel that this information is essential for us women so that we can reclaim responsibility for our bodies, wombs and our health. Just know that your menstruation can be a time of beauty, honour, reverence and wisdom, and that if you can give yourself the time to stop, tune in and rest - you will be able to work wonders with your body and your womb and create some real magic.
May you be blessed with beautiful, inspiring, nourishing periods, you wonderful women.
All my love,
Isla Rose x