Honoring The Time Of Menstruation

Honoring The Time Of Menstruation

This article appeared in Creations magazine.

In Chinese medicine, the time of menstruation is a delicate one. During this time, the body is more susceptible to illness caused by climatic factors (Wind, Damp, Cold, etc.). The Uterus, considered a Special Organ in Oriental medicine, is particularly vulnerable at this time, since it opens to allow the menstrual blood to flow. This opening also allows climatic influences, particularly Cold, to invade. Cold in the Uterus is a syndrome that can cause a wide range of manifestations: vaginal discharge, premenstrual pain relieved by warmth, scanty menstrual flow, dark or black menstrual clots, aversion to cold, aversion to pressure in the area, heavy, sore or stiff legs, and even infertility. So in order to safeguard one''s health, it is important to be attentive to one''s daily activities during menstruation.

Even Western medicine has learned that during menstruation, the function and strength of the immune system is down, making it more likely for you to get sick.

In many traditions, particularly the Native American, the time of menses is a sacred one that should be attended to with care and reverence. According to Native American tradition, when a woman is "on her moon," she is to honor that time with quiet introspection, meditation, and communion with her inner divine feminine nature. It is not a time to be very active and busy with the affairs of the outer world. It is possible, even for a modern working urbanite, to bring a sense of sacredness and care into this monthly phase. Women who do feel a profound deepening of their relationship to themselves, the earth and the subtle cycles of life.

Here are some practical suggestions from traditional Chinese medicine:

  • Refrain from unusual physical activity, like aerobic exercise. Don''t do more than what your daily routine requires.
  • Don''t go swimming, as this allows the Environmental Influences of Cold and Damp to invade the Uterus. Avoid short skirts for the same reason. Pants are best, long skirts are OK. In general, avoid drafts, and cold or damp environments.
  • Refrain from sex. Besides being additional physical exertion, sex during menstruation can disrupt the flow of Qi (life energy) and Blood in the Uterus, contributing to many long-term problems related to menstrual function and fertility.
  • Allow this time to be one of more quiet and rest. Be kind to and care for yourself.

Copyright © 2002 Michael C. Gaeta. All rights reserved.