Menstruation Taboo

The Cultures of Menstruation

By July 3, 2017 No Comments

Menstruation of the past

The girls all gathered together excitedly at the front of the village. It was still early, so they attempted to keep the noise of their excited chatter down. For some of the girls, this was their first time going to “the hut”, for others, they had been doing this for years. For some of the more mature mothers, they were leaving important home tasks and children behind. But they didn’t mind— the home would be adequately cared for by others in their absence.

This was important. This was a highly sacred and spiritual time that only came around once a month.

Even the men understood its importance.

For the next few days there would be nothing more to do than rest, weave, eat healthy, well prepared food, and to connect on a deeper level as women. These women weren’t afraid of time lost, or tasks left uncompleted at home.  For these excited women, this was a time for honouring the sacred female body, and for assisting the body during its’ monthly cleansing process.

This was the time for renewal on a physical and spiritual level.

A modern view of menstruation

Jasmine sat at her desk, the glow of the computer screen the only light in the room. It was late, again. She looked at her watch, 10:30pm. She should pack up and head home. She had been there since 5′ in the morning. The days were getting longer and the work just kept mounting. If only she could just get through these next few reports.  She reached over her stained coffee mug for the block of chocolate she’d been munching all afternoon. “So much for my healthy week”, she thought. “I was going to get to the gym today too.  Well, this is important, I need to get this work done, the team is depending on me.”

A dull familiar ache began to spread across the pit of Jasmine’s belly. What? No, already!

It can’t have been a month already!

She reached for her calendar and flicked through the dates— yep, guess so. “Crap! So that’s why I’ve been so cranky lately.”  She quickly ran through her events for the next few days.

“I’ve got that presentation tomorrow, and it’s out of the office. Going to be a long day too. Wonder when I’ll get a loo break? Guess I can’t wear that skirt I wanted to wear— it will be too snug around the middle. Damn, I will have to change my whole outfit”.

Oh, and bugger— drinks and dancing with the girls on Friday night, I get so crampy I probably won’t even feel like it.

“Oh, why does it have to be this week”?!!

Jasmine knew she should go home and get some rest. Instead she had a quick toilet break, came back to her desk and knocked out another couple of hours on the report before making her way home.

The next day she suffered extreme cramping and nausea— nothing out of the usual for her, just a massive inconvenience given her hectic week ahead.

Why so much suffering during menstruation?

The many symptoms that women experience either before, or during their period is a relatively new problem amongst modern women in western countries (Clennell, B. 2007).  Endometriosis, cysts, fibroids, PMS, and infertility are just some of the modern day gynaecological diseases that doctors are scratching their heads over.

But what if the answers lie within the women of ancient cultures that have always celebrated and honoured the menstruation process?

There is very little evidence to suggest these women suffered problems or even extreme discomfort during their cycles, and yet there is plenty of evidence demonstrating how rest, and relaxation techniques can help immensely in managing even the most severe period cramps and physiological discomfort (Swami Muktananda, 2009, Rani et al. 2011, Nag, U., Dip, P., & Kodali, M. 2013).

Women today of the modern world typically live fast paced & hectic lifestyles. 

Often, the common response when I ask my girlfriends how they are is;  “I’ve been so busy”, “things have been hectic at work”, “I’m exhausted”!

Unknowingly, we tend drive ourselves exceptionally hard. I believe this to be for two reasons. We as women compete with each other, but we also strive to gain the same respect and acknowledgement as men.  And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t receive the same pay, job positions, acknowledgment as men.

However, as women we need to be smart about how we work!

We are different to men. We have a completely different hormonal and biological system, there is no denying that (see my blog ‘Woman Ain’t No Man’).  It’s time we acknowledge and accept this, and start using it to our advantage.

There is another way!

There is another way in which to still work hard, and yet not deny our womanly qualities.  This is something our sisters of other ancient cultures have been aware of for centuries. So what happened to us here in the west then?

  • Sadly, women today have forgotten how to tap into the important and powerful energy systems that govern the body, and no longer acknowledge the natural changes that occur in our womanly bodies.
  • Many women now despise or even dread these certain phases in the body, including menstruation.
  • Young women on the pill will deliberately skip certain pills to ensure they miss a period. Those women that do allow the menstruation process to occur, will often do so with an attitude of negativity.
  • In modern society, a women’s period is viewed as taboo, shameful, and surrounded in secrecy. Many women even feel unclean or dirty during this natural cleansing process (Amazzone 2012, Sridhar 2016).

The body is listening!

It responds to these messages!! 

If you despise, ignore, dread, or refuse to rest during your period, your body begins to treat it as though it is an awful thing in the body.  It sees it as a negative thing to experience. So, you will experience it negatively!

Period pain and complications are not imaginary, they are very real and debilitating for some woman. 

Having suffered endometriosis for well over 15 years, I know how very real the pain can be. However, as I learnt to heal my body naturally, I began to realise the negative messages I’d been subconsciously telling myself all these years. I also became aware of the emotions and stress I was carrying deep within my body.

In fact, practitioners of natural medicines suspect that gynaecological problems are often associated with negative emotions regarding your sexuality, sexual feelings or activities in the past (Swami Muktananda 2009).  Studies are now finding that emotions are stored in the body, and may begin to manifest as more serious physical conditions when not addressed or released.

The first step in healing the body naturally is to identify the emotional source of the pain.

There is always good news!

The good news, is there are natural ways to start learning to love, respect and honour your womanly body.  In doing so you will start to see physical changes, including a reduction in your menstruation symptoms.

There are ways to learn how to work smart as a woman. Rather than ignoring the natural changes that occur in the body as a result of the woman’s cycle, we learn to harness them so you become more powerful, productive and creative in your day.

Trust me, you will only become more efficient as you do so.

If you’re interested to learn how to do this, sign up to the my FREE women’s health course where I will teach you such skills.