3 Practices for Painful Periods and Menstruation

Your period is not meant to be uncomfortable or painful. It is also not meant to make you feel extremely fatigued, irritable or like an emotional wreck. 

Your menstrual cycle, particularly when you bled, is there to help clean your body, process out emotions,  and provide intentional days of rest and reflection.

In the video and post below, I provide three practices that will help you to manage menstruation and painful periods. These are considered practices because they take time to integrate, while we become familiar and comfortable with their benefits. Once we are familiar, we can use these practices for our best interest and to bring more ease, honor, and balance to our body and life. 

These are practices I have used for quite sometime and will always lean on them.

Click the video below to watch or continue reading.

#1 Rest and Why it's necessary

During menstruation, your body is at its most yin time of the month. Yin is symbolic in rest, non-activity, feminine, and in the darkest time of the night. When women bleed, our body is asking us to embody yin. To be in a state of mental, and physical state rest and relaxation. 

When we soak into yin, we honor our body and what it was built to do. 

During menstruation, I recommend avoiding extreme activities, major to do lists, vacations, and parties. All those prior activities are yang. They require more intense action and attention from the physical and mental form. Attending events for others is not your priority while menstruating. (I doubt you really want to do them anyway). However, doing things that honor you and your body are priority. Yes, sometime we do need to push through, but not always.

Instead of pushing through, schedule those tasks and events that you can control during another time of your cycle. For my moms of young children, explain to your child that “momma needs quiet time and rest today.” They will understand. They will feel your feelings and know that you need downtime. 

While menstruating you may feel more drawn to spending time in solitude doing yin activities like gentle cleaning the home, organizing, yin or hatha yoga, walks, naps, small but frequent meals, creative projects, journaling, or reading.

You may also want to consider taking time off work around your cycle. One day or a half day off can do wonders for your body and mind. This intentional rest will allow your body to sink deeper into its natural shedding process. If  you’ve had a series of uncomfortable months, consider scheduling time off ahead of schedule. 

I can usually tell the week before my menstrual cycle if I am going to need extra rest. When this is the case, I schedule time off. I’ll then plan to honor my body by doing activities that supports me on that day. I’m not perfect, but when my intention is to slow down, I can figure out exactly what I need from there.   

#2 Move your body slowly

Movement is an important part of being a mammal. We are asked to move everyday. Some days we move more quickly than others with planned workouts, walks, and life activities. This is all well and good, but when we are menstruating, we want to slow down our movement. During this time of the month, we want to focus more on  gentle (yin) movement and exercise.

In Chinese Medicine there is a famous statement, “Where there is pain, there is stagnation.”

I like to elaborate on that and say, “Where there is stagnation, movement is necessary.”

Your high intensity workouts, marathons, long runs, hot vinyasa classes, and heavy lifting are going deplete your body when you do them during your period. They are going against your body’s natural yin state. These types of exercises will tax you mentally and physically increasing your recovery time while also leaving you feeling more tired, and angsty. 

Slow movement is the best for our body’s when we are menstruating. It opens the body gently and free’s it of pain. Honor your yin time with yin exercises like slow paced walks, gentle yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. 

Move with intention. Intend to do movement that will alleviate cramps, bloating and breast tenderness. 

#3 Ditch tampons and menstrual cups

Tampons and menstrual cups clog the exit. They put a dam in the pathway and keep the blood from moving completely out of the body. 

Think about a traffic accident. When an accident occurs, the cars come to a complete stop and jam up the road. An accident doesn’t stop people from trying to go around or find a way out. Your menstrual blood is the same way. It too is going to find a way around and out of the body. This is when we see spotting with a tampon or cup. 

It’s not until EMS and the tow truck come can the accident be cleaned up and the cars can move again. This means that your body can’t completely clean itself until the tampon or menstrual cup is out of the way.

The use of tampons and menstrual cups are like an accident in your vaginal canal. They jam it up, keep the menstrual debris in causing further stagnation, discomfort, and absorption of potentially harmful bacteria.

Instead of the use of tampons and menstrual cups, use pads. This allows for the blood to completely flow from the beginning of the pathway (uterus) to the end (completely out of the body). When using pads, you’ll feel cleaner, more refreshed and more spacious. If you’re not comfortable yet using pads for your whole period, at the least, use them on your heaviest day(s).   

Lean on the use tampons and cups when you have too. Like when out for a long day, car ride or while swimming. 

No matter what you are using, pads, tampons or cups, please only use those with organic materials. We do not need to put harmful toxins or plastics into or near our body.

As always, I hope that you found the information in this post useful, but most importantly that it encourages you to try these practices. 

Until next time, stay curious,

Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.