Image Artwork by Martin Clark Bridge
In ancient times, periods were considered to be a sacred time of healing and regeneration. Women were revered during this time of the month and were celebrated.
Today however, the monthly period is almost a reminder to a women that they are living in a largely masculine dominated world.
Up to 85% of women experience physical or emotional symptoms between the time they ovulate and the first days of their menstrual period.
When premenstrual symptoms interfere with relationships or responsibilities, they are called premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
On a deeper level, PMS is likely to bring up issues to do with our relationship to femininity and and how we feel about being a women.
The Spiritual Meaning of PMS
From an metaphysical perspective, through menstruation, each month we internally die and are reborn.
The uterus sheds its lining as the snake sheds its skin and we are released from the past and set free into the future.
During this phase of death and rebirth we all experience premenstrual days, some of us more than others. It is a time when deeply repressed and ignored emotions from the past month are bought to the surface and into consciousness so we can acknowledge, express and let them go.
Throughout the months, if we are constantly disregarding or ignoring feelings of anger, sadness or simply not giving ourselves enough time to switch off and reconnect, our hormonal activity can be affected and premenstrual symptoms are likely to be heightened as these deep rooted feelings bubble up to the surface.
Sometimes PMS may resemble grief, this is because the emotions that come to the surface are ready to pass on, to release us from their tension and this can be a confronting time.
Whilst this can be a painful process of letting go, it enables us start new and afresh and this is why during menstruation it is important to take time off to reflect and take time out to rest and be kind to ourselves.
Females are granted the gift of menstruation each month to not only physically shed through bleeding but to release and express feelings that have been imbedded deep within the body and psyche. We become more intuitive and therefore more sensitive during menstruation.
If you are struggling with PMS, here are 10 natural remedies that may help-
Breathing exercises, meditation, aromatherapy, and yoga are some natural ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many women feel more assertive and attuned to their needs in the weeks before menses. This can be used constructively by allowing personal time to relax, expressing emotions, and giving priority to your needs and what nourishes you.
Recording your feeling and symptoms in a journal is a great way to track emotional patterns around menstruation. Writing also helps you investigate possible reasons governing the severity of premenstrual tension and creates a space for you to get to know your body better. It may help to ask yourself questions that correspond to your relationship with your femininity, such as Would you rather not have a period? What are your deepest feelings about womanhood? Would you rather be a man?
A vital nutrient which is often deficient in women with PMS. The mineral magnesium appears to benefit women with cramps, mood swings, depression, fatigue, breast tenderness, and water retention. Magnesium deficiency interestingly has also been associated with cravings for chocolate.
Vitamin B6 has been indicated in the treatment of PMS in many studies, but is more effective when combined with magnesium. Vitamin B6 also is required for magnesium to enter cells.
5. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose oil (EPO) is often recommended for headache, cramping, bloating, breast pain, depression, and irritability. EPO contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is involved in the metabolism of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that regulate pain and inflammation in the body.
Beneficial for women with premenstrual cramps and moodiness. In one 3-month research study comparing calcium supplements to a placebo, women taking calcium supplements experienced fewer premenstrual symptoms in the second and third months of usage. Ratings of mood, water retention, food cravings, and pain were significantly decreased.
7.Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-Castus)
Chaste tree, one of the most popular herbs for premenstrual syndrome, is recommended for breast pain and tenderness, infrequent menstrual periods and ovarian cysts.
Acupuncture has been shown as an effective treatment for PMS. In traditional Asian medicine, the liver is the organ that is most affected by stress, anger, and frustration. Stagnation of liver energy and blood by emotions, alcohol, and spicy and fatty foods can lead to breast tenderness and abdominal bloating and cramping.
Regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling reduces anxiety, pain and water retention and improves concentration and mood.
- Reduce sugar and salt intake to manage bloating, breast tenderness & dizziness.
- Increase foods rich in potassium such as fish, beans, and broccoli.
- Eat small, frequent meals to help stabilize blood sugar.
- Eliminate caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness.
- Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fish.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Decrease intake of fatty foods and red meat.