Understanding the Menstral Cycle from the Chinese Medicine Perspective
Phase 1: Days 1-5 - Menstruation
- The uterine lining is released from the body.
- Cramping, dark clots, or pain this indicates stagnation of blood. Other symptoms of stagnation include hyper emotionality, anger, cramping, and breast tenderness before and during menstruation.
- In order to ensure that blood and qi are smoothly flowing herbs that are warming and strongly move the blood can be used once bleeding has begun:
- Cramp relief Chai: cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, clove, nutmeg, orange peel, black pepper, cinnamon
- Acupoints Liver 3 and points on the Spleen channel (4, 6, 8, & 10) can be pressed at this time to help reduce stagnation. Often tender points are the parts of the body at could be benefited by acupressure. You can palate along the channel to see which points are most in need of stimulation.
PHASE 2: Days 6 -13 Follicular maturation
- At this time one follicle will begin to mature and the uterine lining begins to thicken.
- After the days of bleeding are done, we must begin to nourish blood with blood building herbs and foods. Stews with red meat or bone broths, red beans, and greens with added angelica root to building blood can be ideal.
- Points to build blood and can benefit from acupressure at this time are Liver 8 and Spleen 4 & 6
Phase 3: Day 12-15 – Ovulation
- This is the time to begin doing the treatment protocol for moxibustion for fertility. The egg has been released and could be fertilized, leading to implantation in the uterine lining.
Phase 4: Days 15-28 – Pregnancy begins or the uterus prepares to shed it’s lining
- If implantation has occurred, the body needs to be supported and more nourishment with blood building foods can continue. Moxibustion of the fertility points is ideal to do once a day.
- If pregnancy has not happened, around day 21 is a good time to begin with herbs to move the qi again so that the menstruation can come easily and be pain free.
- Freshly ground turmeric and ginger root steeped in hot water, with lemon and honey is a lovely way to prevent stagnation.
- Avoiding foods that cause stagnation can increase fertility and support a healthy cycle. These foods are mostly sweet or cold in nature, and sticky – such as banana, mango, alcohol, refined sugars, dairy, (ice cream, fruit smoothies, pastries)
- Acupuncture points to encourage movement of qi and blood can also begin (Liver 3 and points on the Spleen channel (4, 6, 8, & 10)