The regularity and quality of the menstrual cycle is a very good indicator of a woman’s overall health. As mentioned in our previous articles, stress impacts strongly on Liver physiology. The main functions of the Liver energy are to harmonise the circulation of Qi throughout the body as well as to store and regulate the movement of Blood.
We have a saying in Oriental Medicine ‘The Qi moves the Blood and the Blood nourishes the Qi’. When the function of the Liver is impaired, the free movement of Qi is obstructed and the Blood does not flow well. If the Blood is not flowing well it cannot nourish the uterus and ovaries. Consequently, this can lead to various menstrual issues. Therefore stress plays a direct role in Liver Qi & Blood stagnation.
Signs and symptoms of Liver stagnation in the female reproductive system can be:
• Menstrual irregularities
• Dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation)
• Menorrhagia (heavy bleeding)
• Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
• Premenstrual Syndrome
By harmonising the Liver energy and limiting the negative effects of excess stress on the movement of Qi, we can ameliorate the quality of the menstrual cycle. Besides acupuncture and herbal treatment, stagnant Liver Qi responds well to movement and relaxation techniques.
Some simple things we can do to improve the flow include:
Promotion of free flow in movement through regular physical activities, especially restoring movements as they are offered in Yoga, Pilates, walking, Qi Gong and Taiji. The emphasis thereby lies on light exercise.
Hard training regimes like boot camp, cross fit etc. can cause more physical tension and hinder the re-establishing of energy balance. Finding a balance between stronger dynamic exercises and more free-flowing ones will help to create a good balance for the unhindered flow of Qi and Blood.
Have a look at this video, which will take you through a number of simple stretches that might help with menstrual discomfort (don’t be too shocked by the first images, you don’t have to do this pose!)
Acupressure is a form of touch therapy that utilises the principles of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In acupressure, the same points on the body are used as in acupuncture, but are stimulated with finger/ thumb pressure instead of with the insertion of needles. Acupressure can be used to relieve a variety of symptoms and pain.
Acupressure can be a great tool to use when experiencing menstrual discomfort and irregularities. It is an effective form of stimulation to help relax the muscles, especially on the sacrum, lower back, feet and legs to relieve pain and discomfort during menstruation and to also encourage a regular cycle.
Deep abdominal breathing assists in a number of ways.
It is astounding to see how many people breathe shallowly into their chest without ever reaching their abdomen while inhaling.
To get a feel for the movement it is best to put your hands on the belly and observe the rise and fall of the abdomen when you breath in and out.
Deep breathing helps to clear and relax the mind by keeping you in the present moment, releasing worrying and stressful thoughts and improvingBlood circulation to the abdominal organs including uterus and ovaries.