Cycle Energetics & Period Wellness
PHASE 1: PERIOD | MENSTRUATION
- Physiology: Endometrial lining from your uterus sheds in the form of period blood; estrogen & progesterone hormones are at their lowest. Periods are typically 5 days but can last 3-7.
- Phase Energy: Yin ~ Rest & Reflection
- Movement: Gentle to stretch the body ~ yoga, pilates, meditation
- Best time for: staying in & sleeping in, cooking nourishing meals at home, cleaning & organizing projects, making your space cozy, massage abdomen, low back & muscles with Blue Moon Balm to keep things flowing
- Herbs: Move the blood with warming circulatory stimulants like Cinnamon, Ginger & Turmeric
PHASE 2: POST MENSTRUAL | FOLLICULAR
- Physiology: Ovaries prepare to release an egg; estrogen levels increase and signal the uterus to rebuild the lining that was shed during the period
- Phase Energy: Yin within Yang ~ Creation & Building
- Movement: Restorative to rebuild strength ~ stretching, walking, hiking
- Best time for: Brainstorming new ideas, working on creative projects, planning for the month ahead
- Herbs: Build the Blood with nourishing, mineral-rich plants like Nettles, Oatstraw & seaweeds
PHASE 3: OVULATION
- Physiology: One ovary releases an egg (due to the pituitary gland releasing follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH), and your body is primed for conception to occur. Discharge is stringy & clear like an egg white. This is the time to either try to get pregnant or be extra careful that you don't.
- Phase Energy: Yang ~ Activation & Endurance
- Movement: Rigorous to break a sweat ~ running, hiking, biking
- Best time for: Delivering a presentation, hosting an event, traveling & backpacking, running a marathon, snapping self portraits
- Herbs: Strengthen the Qi with tonics & adaptogens such as Ginseng, Astragalus & medicinal mushrooms
PHASE 4: PRE MENSTRUAL | LUTEAL
- Physiology: The follicle that housed the egg releases progesterone & estrogen to start the period or support pregnancy.
- Phase Energy: Yang within Yin ~ Liberation & Flow
- Movement: Fluid to circulate the Qi ~ dancing, swimming, frolicking
- Best time for: One woman dance parties, catching up with close friends, spending time outdoors, self massage with Goddess Giver to reduce breast tenderness, a good cry
- Herbs: Move the Qi to disperse stagnant energy with Peppermint, Mulberry, Fennel & Anise
Unpleasant period symptoms are the norm in our culture, but they often reflect signs of disharmony within the body. By tuning in to your discomfort and making adjustments, you can often find relief.
WHAT TO EAT
- Keep your meals warm & simple: think brothy soups & healthy bowls with cooked veggies, whole grains & protein.
- Cook with water instead over oil: steam, boil & bake your foods.
- Consume lots of red & purple vegetables to nourish blood: beets, cabbage, purple kale.
- Sip on Digestive Harmony Tea to relieve bloating & encourage healthy digestion.
WHAT NOT TO EAT
- Stay away from sugar in all forms: desserts, honey, anything sweet. Consume fruit in small servings. Sugar thickens the blood, making it more like syrup, and when we're bleeding this can make the entire process much more excruciating. Be especially mindful of sugar intake during and the week leading up to your period.
- Minimize foods that are raw or physically cold, like uncooked veggies, smoothies, salads & yogurt.
- Steer clear of anything that’s excessively creamy, oily, or greasy, like dairy products and fried or processed foods.
- See our post on Taking Care When Under the Weather for more dietary guidance that can be helpful for your period.
WHAT TO DO
- Enjoy your period as a time of rest and restoration. Allow yourself to relax & reflect.
- Stretch and practice gentle movement daily to encourage healthy circulation.
- Keep your abdomen warm: cover your belly, massage on Blue Moon Balm & use a heating pad to lessen cramping.
- Use natural period products like organic cotton cloth pads. When you're at home or sleeping, try to use products that allow your blood to flow.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Be mindful of period products that contain harmful chemicals, like conventional tampons. If you are purchasing period underwear, look for brands that are free of PFAs.
- Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing that doesn’t constrict the waistline.
- Avoid swimming & baths to protect the reproductive system and allow the blood to flow outward.
- Don’t overexert yourself or engage in rigorous activity. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Just because cycle symptoms have been normalized doesn't make them normal. If you experience a challenging period or phases throughout your cycle, seeking treatment with a holistic healthcare practitioner can be extremely helpful. Painful cramping, debilitating PMS, chronic acne, an excessively heavy flow, absent periods and mood swings throughout the month are all symptoms that can be addressed at the root.
Herbal formulas and acupuncture treatments are custom tailored for the unique needs of your body to help bring everything into balance. Look for licensed acupuncturists in your area, or for a local herbal clinic. Seek out practitioners who specialize in women's wellness. With guided support and small lifestyle changes, you may be able to experience a renewed sense of health.