3 Practices for Painful Periods and Menstruation

Work with your period

Your period is not meant to condemn you. It is not meant to make you feel miserable, disassembled, nor make you feel like an emotional wreck. Instead, it is there to help clean your body, process emotions,  and provide a period 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 we need to become familiar with their application. Once we are familiar, we will 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. 

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 listed prior are yang activities. They require action and attention from the physical and mental form. Doing things and 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. 

Personally, sometimes I’ll take half a day or full day off work when I am menstruating. I can usually tell the week before my menstrual cycle if I am going to need extra rest. When I rest, I do my best to do what supports me. 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 intentionally than others with planned work outs, walks, and exercise routines. When we are menstruating, we want to slow down our movement. We want to use movement in a gentle way to keep the whole body active and to alleviate painful periods.

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 to against your body’s natural yin state. These types of exercises will tax you mentally and physically leaving you feeling more tired, angsty, and will increasing your recovery time.

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 or 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. Neither doer your menstrual blood. It too is going to find a way around and out of the body. In regards to the accident, 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, is to use pads. This allows for the blood to completely flow from the beginning of the pathway to the end, which is out of your 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 or 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 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.