Menstruation (Days ~1-6) - Time to conserve and maintain energy
A time where progesterone and estrogen have suddenly dropped causing the lining to shed – starts your cycle
In TCM this phase is like the winter phase in your body and the water element, with an overall goal of is to lean into rest as your hormones are naturally lower, and resting to support the gentle circulation and discharge of blood and emotions . In this phase we want to move Qi and Blood.
TCM: pain free period, low PMS symptoms, blood and yin are being lost-getting acupuncture during the is phase is directed at movement of blood in the uterus to reduce pain and treat other symptoms. During this time there is a lot of transformation, you want to make sure we support the spleen. Some people can experience a buildup of fluids, important not to give into cravings of sugary, ice cream and dairy prior to menses.
Avoid cold in the uterus – extreme menstrual pain – eat warm foods, apply heat to the uterus and dress warm to help the smooth flow of blood
Avoid emotional stress as much as you can before and during the cycle as it can cause Qi to stagnate.
Activity - prioritizing rest and gentle movement
Refrain from excessive physical activity in the first few days and the move to a slow-paced activities like yin yoga, meditation, walking and napping – just listen to your body
Diet – warm, nutrient dense and easily digestible foods, nothing too heavy, blood boosting foods
Slow cookers are your BFF, leftovers are king, more proteins and fats
Soups, stews, broths
Veggies: Kale, beets, mushrooms, sea veggies – dulse, kombu, kelp, seaweed, collard and hearty greens, sweet potatoes, root veggies
Fruit: dark colored berries – cran, black, blue, concord grapes, watermelon
Grain: buckwheat and wild rice
Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, flax, chestnuts, peanuts
Protein: kidney beans, adzuki beans, duck, pork, shellfish, sardines, grass-fed red meat and liver
Herbs: red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, turmeric
Extras: miso, himalayan salt, tamari/liquid aminos, trace minerals, drink extra water, iron rich foods, b-vitamin rich foods, omega 3 fatty acids, warm decaf teas and liquids
Avoid sugary, heavy, greasy, dairy, cold and raw foods at this time as they can impede the circulation of fluids and blood
Rest, reflect and evaluate, journal, create intentions, trust instincts
Lavender, rose, chamomile, jasmine
Interest in sex may be low, focus on self-care and quality alone time