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3 Reasons Why You Should Be Embracing Your Period

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Embracing Your Period

Indulge us for a second—what would it be like to actually look forward to getting your period each month? We’re not talking about powering through painful cramps, or pretending that we’re not bleeding at all. The opposite, in fact: What if we embraced this as our monthly reminder to slow down, check in, and give our body the rest it craves and deserves?

It might seem antithetical to all the ways Western culture teaches us to dread that time of the month. And yet appreciating menstruation isn’t exactly a novel concept. In so many ancient cultures and schools of medicine, our periods are seen as sacred and divine—something to be celebrated. Consider Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example: In TCM, the terminology for menstruation directly translates to “heavenly water.” Menstruation doesn’t have any kind of negative connotations, and it’s even seen as an important indicator of our overall well-being—and potential imbalances.

So, how can we start to reframe our perspective around menstruation for the better? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Menstruation is a crucial part of a balanced monthly cycle.

Ancient Wisdom: In TCM, our bodies are constantly flowing with Yin and Yang energy—two forces that carry opposite characteristics. They’re two necessary parts of a whole—and together, they create balance and harmony. Where Yin represents the cool, dark, and passive energy, Yang is active, loud, and hot.

According to TCM, menstruation is emblematic of Yin energy—but it’s also a counterbalance to the other parts of our menstrual cycle (like ovulation) that are more active, and associated with Yang. 

Modern Science: Our monthly menstrual cycles are made up of distinct phases, and it’s true that we tend to feel differently during each phase. During our follicular phase—the first half of our cycle, leading up to ovulation—a rise in estrogen gives way to more energy, a higher sex drive, and the urge to socialize. But after ovulation, fluctuations in hormones cause our energy levels to drop. 

Menstruation is our monthly reminder to slow down.

Ancient Wisdom: In our modern culture, we’re often taught that we need to power through any symptoms or energy changes associated with our cycles. But according to TCM, menstruation is our “inner winter”—a monthly season where our mind and body are meant to retreat inwards. And in order to live in harmony, our habits should follow suit: We avoid too much activity, eat warm foods to encourage blood flow, and focus our attention inward.

Modern Science: Our hormones are really all over the place during the weeks leading up to our periods: Estrogen and progesterone spike and then fall, which might explain why we tend to feel exhausted (and maybe a little moody). That’s not even to mention all the fun symptoms associated with PMS.

So what if we just acknowledged this and adjusted our routines accordingly—scheduling our most active plans for earlier in our cycles, and using this time to meditate, journal, and focus on rest?

If you’re suffering through your period, it might be a sign of an imbalance.

Ancient Wisdom: TCM tells us that when we’re experiencing symptoms or inflammation in general, it’s a sign that something’s not quite right—and that’s also true for some of the PMS symptoms we’ve come to accept as “normal” in Western culture. A particularly painful period, for example, might indicate a stagnation of Qi (our life force) and blood. Warming herbs like ginger, fennel, and cinnamon can help remedy this, as can gentle movement (unless it feels great to you, this is probably not the time for HIIT workouts).

Modern Science: Your period is a crucial window into your general health—which is why understanding your unique cycle can be invaluable information. For example: Let’s say your cycle is typically 28 days long, and your periods tend to be on the lighter side—if suddenly your cycle length starts fluctuating wildly and and/or you start bleeding pretty heavily, it’s probably not a bad idea to check in with your doctor.

There’s so much we can learn about our bodies just by getting better acquainted with our menstrual cycles—and as we learn more, perhaps we can actually start to appreciate the seasons we move through each and every month. (The cramps? Not so much.)

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