Menstruation is a natural consequence of having a relative excess of blood. We start puberty when the body deems its growing needs to be met; the timing a combination of the constitutional factors, and the state of nutritional and emotional stability. This is altered if we buy into thinness rather than wellness concepts, and sometimes this whole life cycle is overridden by dieting and bingeing cycles.
Women are governed by seven-year cycles. The natural time for menstruation to begin is 7 x 2 = 14. These days, girls often have started periods by 11 years of age. This is due to the enriched diet on one hand (relative to societies where food gathering is precarious), and the emotional pressures, combined with the toxic effects of the less nutritious aspects of food chosen, and the heating and yin depleting consequences of current living.
This may sound very different to the medical version – we are all told that periods and the associated symptoms are hormonally determined. Acupuncture theory takes into account the energy that sets our physical and physiological markers – going beyond the ‘hormonal’ explanations, to how these messages are relayed and waylaid. With this shift in focus, we may make a different sense of a vast array of supposedly disconnected events, and how their apparent randomness is actually explainable, preventable and remediable.
Here, the words ‘energy’ and ‘blood’ have much wider meaning than in standard English. The term “blood” covers more than the red stuff that leaks out, if we are incautious.
THE MOST CRUCIAL ASPECT OF A WOMAN’S HEALTH – THE QUALITY AND AMOUNT OF BLOOD ENERGY.
Heather’s Owner’s Manual for your body
Blood energy nourishes our spirit, called Shen in Chinese medical thought. The state of our Shen and its degree of calmness or agitation is determined by constitutional factors, and the amount of blood energy that is available to nourish it. If we have had heavy bleeding – often just one episode is enough to wreck havoc on the system, if it was accompanied by emotional upheaval. Think back to your first experience of childbirth, or of your possible history of flooding and overbleeding. Women’s blood seems to be treated in a very cavalier fashion by health professionals.
The ability to sleep deeply and freely is determined almost solely on the state of Shen nourishment from the blood energy. The ability to handle our lives calmly and sanely is also governed by this. This makes more sense now, to those who know that they have not been the same since one child was born (and a massive haemorrhage occurred) or after they experienced heavy and continual bleeding, often for years, they were very run down, and the body seemed to go mad, and periods became very heavy, and they felt/were wornout.
Blood also nourishes the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and helps us feel comfortable in our bodies. Thus, if we are in some way lacking, or deficient in blood or blood flow, we will experience a varying degree of pain and tension or rigidity throughout part, or all of the musculo — skeletal system. This may lead to constant aching, and often headaches, as the blood, energy and nerve supply to areas served by the affected part is lacking. If we have had previous accidents, or overuse injuries, it is likely that these areas will be the ones first affected.
The real problem we face as women, is that we also disrespect our cycles, and treat our bodies in an off hand way. As no one seems too concerned about the state of bleeding, we are inclined to just get on with it — the “it” being our lives of overachieving, and picking up the slack from all quarters, in an attempt to do the best for all around us. We fail to honour our bleeding, acting as though we were invincible, and that the monthly changes do not impact upon anything other than our toileting routines.
We, as women, are graced with stronger systems than men, as it is our being that imparts the constitutional vigour to the next generation, and it is us that must ultimately support these offspring, breast feeding and spending our lives being their mothers.
WE NEED TO REGAIN OUR SENSE OF WORTH / RE-EVALUATE OUR CONTRIBUTION
We are lead to believe that it is crucial that we ensure others are well looked after, and consequently often forget that we can only achieve this if we also give to ourselves. After birth, the woman is expected to bounce back, and be as productive as she was, Amazonian in her ability to charge on regardless. Taking on the mantle of a worker as she was without babies, breezing through the feeding and child-care schedules, often doing a full days’ externally paid work, in addition to listening to the inner hum of the innate maternal music.
The male often looking as though the task of rearing the children, in addition to the house chores, is done by the good fairies, whilst Mum is off manifesting an income, and lifestyle, in order to support them. This is especially noticeable in the state of Family Law, where the mother’s pregnancy and post natal contribution, in real health and lost income and career opportunities is ignored, as we allow them to be. The acts of ‘love’ that we have performed apparently holding no innate worth.
Why have we bought into the idea that if we are not coping, we need to try harder? Who does that suit? Everyone is used to Mum /any woman being ‘trained”/manipulated into being the backstop/background support. Because we let it happen.
How ‘pissed off’ we get is more an indication of how ‘nice’ we have been trained to be.
The state of inner agitation experienced either rising and falling with the menstrual cycle or with the degree of external harassment, to a large extent is determined by the availability of our blood energy. and how this has led us to a full cup – overflowing with resentment. Whose job to wash/clean up – ours. Whose life is it anyway?
If our life flow is affected, we no longer are fully functional units, and we start to experience ‘problems’, usually menstrual. We get tied up in knots, literally, if we do not express what we feel. We lose the ability to ‘be reasonable’ as our state of blood energy is compromised. Worrying, all by itself can lead to mal-absorption of nutrients. Inappropriate eating at this time also assists the process of distress. As we become less grounded in our ‘reasoning’, others look to the psychological frameworks. If we proceed down the path of tranquillisers and sleeping medication, the whole focus is shifted to symptom management.
The emotional and hence sleeping disturbances (rather than the problem — the lack of blood energy circulating to nourish, and hence balance the person’s Shen) are medicated. Usually however, it is the state of non-expression, of putting self on hold, (often for years, having bought the concept that being ‘selfish’ is bad, and sacrificing – especially to family – is ‘good’) that needs remedying.
We are excellent at masking who we really are. The game of “ I’m OK “ reaches into all aspects of life. The search for meaning beyond the gloss seems to hit as a “ mid life crisis “ — the trappings of supposed success may be there — but what about the inner sense of peace? “Is this all there is?”
The states of agitation and irritability experienced in relation to the menstrual cycle are due to the changing relationships of energy and blood throughout the month. There should be, in a healthy cycle, no symptoms. The period should arrive unheralded by physical and emotional swings. If this sounds like a fairy story to you, please take some time to consider the factors that govern our lives.
Whether the blood can be made and circulated is dependent upon the state of emotional health, which itself is dependent upon the state of blood quality and quantity. If a young child experiences life as less than harmonious, and even threatening in some way, the anger at needs on some level not being met results in a number of energy disturbances, which when linked to the ebb and flow of actual blood in the menstruating body, cause havoc. How many girls are sexually molested, and whether they tell someone, or not —how can they possibly expect to experience a healthy menstrual life with that degree of distress and rage boiling away inside?
All symptoms of PMT, crankiness, and loss of energy are a direct result of our liver energy not being able to perform its primary energy function of allowing the free movement of everything, on every level.
The easy answer to all of this is to slow down, and to totally re-evaluate who you are, and if indeed you actually WANT to be who you have made yourself into. –
Is ageing a disease process?
Who benefits from this industry?
Just as a menstrual period is a report card of the previous month’s effects on the system, the ease or distress of the menopausal time is a report card of your life to date. Unfortunately, it seems to be a recent medical notion that menopause is a disease, and we need to medicate ourselves to lessen its toil on us.
The primary reason for menopausal symptoms is our inner state of imbalance.
A consequence of not looking after ourselves,
the way we ensured all others in our care were.
In our 20’s and 30’s, when we were/are totally distracted making babies and money and husbands happy, we forgot to look after ourselves. How this impacts upon us in our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s is dependent upon the strength we inherited from our parents, and the care we were raised with initially. We are all different. And we all live vastly faster, and apparently enriched lives than our female forebears, so their menstrual histories may have little bearing on our own stories.
Although we have not been through the Depression, the Wars, rationing and the basic survival game of having to live in a rotten marriage with no Social Security safety net or other options, we have our own stresses. The insecurity in the rapidity of change in all aspects of life – our mothers could not imagine how to prepare us for the ‘now’ we live in. We have had access to contraception and safe child bearing. It is likely that all children we birth will live. We have choice over how we live our lives, and yet, we seem unable to live for ourselves.
Menopause gives us the excuse to look at where we have come from — it is an inevitable marker in our lives. We can not hang onto the illusion of youth — we are heading towards wise woman status. Well, we would be if we lived in a more civilised culture. What is before us ? What we make for ourselves.
Our partners are usually a few years older than we are. They tend not to age well. They tend not to seek help for themselves. They often see the answer to their problems in the swapping of models. Old for new.
Or, by this stage of our lives, we have changed, and possibly no longer buy into the idea that all in the family have more right to our time than we do. Our parents may begin to experience real life and death issues. Ageing may bring a new dependency – theirs upon us.
The children may be exerting what they regard as their rights. On top of all of this, or because of this (remember the role of the liver energy to allow everything to freely flow), we experience the rage, long ago converted into what acupuncturist’s call Liver Qi (energy). Stuck. Pissed off, aggravated, and full of bodily symptoms. Migraines, neck and shoulder tension, digestive problems, irritable bowel, maybe colitis or Krohn’s disease, sleeping and emotional hassles — maybe palpitations and anxiety attacks, (if there is blood deficiency).
Possibly experiencing breast or uterine abnormalities/growths/cancers, as they are the tissues that the liver lines of energy run through in the body. Are we angry with ourselves, our spouses, our children, and our lives? So, in holding onto all the anger, all the experiences that less than delighted us, all the hurts from long ago, and all the irritations that appear to be there just to irk us. Cancer, arthritis, gall stones, strokes, and most inflammatory and degenerative diseases are waiting, lurking, in the form of our bottled up rage/anger (slight frustration and disappointment, if we want to be pretend still to be ‘nice’ and polite).
And they all seem to come and get us in
“They” have been triggered into action by the changes in the flow and quantity/quality of our blood energy, and the relative adjustments we undergo as the system recallibrates itself to the new cycle of self maintenance/ maturity involved in the post cyclic bleeding state.
WHAT TO DO?
If we have lead a life of less than diligent self care, of experiencing shocks/traumas and over worrying, and of riding the dieting roller coaster, it is likely that there may some repair work to be undertaken.
One of my teachers, an old Chinese herbalist, observed though his decades of work, that there were four stages of life where we could vastly affect our lives — far more than at any other time
Onset of sexuality
At each stage, we have the possibility of massively enhancing our state of being, by supporting the regular stability of our foundation qi (jing), or of weakening ourselves dramatically, by paying scant regard or respect for the fundamental alterations to our being that happens at these times. Any intensive self care programme is likely to have vastly more effect at one of these times, than others. Any sudden and shocking event that coincidentally intersects with these pivotal times is likely to impact upon us far more than at any other.
Read the owner’s manual “Living as Energy”.
If you were in charge of a horrendously expensive machine, or animal, you would take the time to discover how to maintain it. Why do we pay such disrespect to that which has to be carried around with us, that we can only be here within? We are given various versions of partial living instructions. Explore a different perspective – that of the energy that allows our physical to be.
Start living your life as though there was just one week left.
In a quiet, contented and peaceful way, drop off all activities that you do not look forward to doing. Forget about the effect on others – start seeing your life as yours. Learn that the world will not grind to a halt without you rescuing and over functioning. Everyone who relies upon you to cover the gaps in their lives will either sort him or herself out, or find someone else to do what you seem to have thought was your duty.
Next step — if you have an overbleeding situation — stop it.
Whatever it takes. With a constant blood drain, no other therapy will be effective. If this means having a hysterectomy, this is a quality of life saver. However, investigate how natural therapies may assist first, or to enhance your healing after the event.
Synthetic hormones are not necessarily ‘good’ for you — the physical liver has to detoxify them, thus if you are stuck with them, having no ovaries – take at least extra Vit C ( 4/5 grams through out the day to assist this process ). Ageing is NOT a disease. If you experienced discomfort in “the change”, it is likely the imbalances that lead to these are still present, and need correction. Consult a good natural therapist, who is proficient at assisting the normal template to reassert itself.
Start respecting yourself.
Learn to say “no”.
See the natural order of things, that the cycle of life turns, and that in the post children years we have finally control over what we do with our resources – if we cut free from the ties that held us in service to all the others. Finally, a time of re-evaluating, of going after ones’ own dreams, of following ones’ own bliss, as one stops seeking the approval of the others – especially all those who have a vested interest in us staying in the box of helping them. If not now when?
See ageing as a natural part of life, and enjoy being you.
Our culture seems slow at valuing the wisdom gained through experience.
Allow this process to be reversed in your sphere, and grow into becoming a wise, rather than a reactive, woman.