Taking Your Cycle Back, Naturally
As sacred as our periods are, they are an actual, literal pain. For decades, women have been plying their bodies with ibuprofren and other pain killers to help us alleviate the symptoms of PMS, which works only to put a numbing barrier between our personal connections with our own femininity, rather than help us embrace the cycle as a beautiful part of the female life.
We came across LADYFLOW last summer at The Wellness Market and were immediately intrigued. With a slogan like “Feminine Essentials for the Creative Feminine” it seemed pretty aligned. Because nothing will dull your creativity more than being stuck in bed with debilitating period cramps right?
LADYFLOW is an artisanal line of natural menstrual care products that “empowers women to align with their cyclical rhythms”. The line includes pelvic oils, specially formulated teas and salt soaks that work with our bodies to balance and soothe our cycles naturally, rather than dull our bodies to them.
We spoke with Elaine Clark, Nutritionist, writer, women’s health pioneer, and founder of LADYFLOW to learn more about why she started the company, how our cycles are connected to our creativity and the moon and tips on how we can honour our periods instead of dreading them.
What made you start this company?
Over the past 10 years, I’ve been fully engaged in deep transpersonal work. I’ve spent countless hours healing deep wounds, working with nutritional medicine, managing my hormonal imbalances and training with qualified healers and practitioners. When I began partnering with my body and my health, everything changed for me. What I know for sure is that our health is one of the most important influences in our ability to create. LADYFLOW was born out of my passion to help women partner with their bodies and attune to their cyclical health so they can feel abundantly creative. I’m deeply passionate about supporting the modern, ambitious woman looking to leverage her health as the foundation to her creative journey.
How are our menstrual cycles aligned with our “creative potential”?
Women’s bodies are governed by hormonal wisdom that mirrors a kind of creative process. The monthly development of a follicle followed by pregnancy or the release of menstrual flow can be viewed like a creative process. I remember making this connection for the first time and thinking, “Wow! This makes so much sense.” Our cyclical wisdom is something to be partnered with, not combat. At the start of each new cycle, once we get past the achy first few days of our period, estrogen rises and boosts our energy and excites our brain. Estrogen makes us feel sharper, energetic, playful, and we actually enjoy tackling new creative projects. This is the best time to nurture our creativity. This is a time when we are most fertile (both physically) and energetically. Knowing when is best during our cycle (and when’s not) to produce high quality creative work allows us to partner with our bodies so we’re not living in stilted resistance. This has made such a difference in my life and I’ve seen it completely change how women flourish, creatively.
Can you break down the four phases of the menstrual cycle?
The length of a women’s cycle can vary from 21-35 days. The cycle length can change with hormonal imbalance, age, after giving birth or with oral contraceptive use. Although each women may have slight variations in the length of her cycle, the menstrual cycle can be divided into fourphases: Menstrual phase (Day 1 to 5), Follicular phase(Day 1 to 13), Ovulation phase (Day 14) and Luteal Phase (Day 14-28). Each phase of our cycle is influenced by fluctuating hormones such as luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, estrogen and progesterone.
Is there any connection between our cycles and the moon?
The lunar (moon) cycleand the average menstrual cycle are almost equal in length. A lunar month is 28-30 days and a menstrual cycle is roughly 21-35 days. There are historical and traditional associations that relate our menstrual cycle with the moon. More recently, a synchronous relationship between the moon and our cycles was confirmed with laboratory and clinical findings based on one study. When we hear about “synching with the moon” typically we’re talking about our menstruation occurring around the New Moon and ovulation occurring around the Full Moon. Some women might find they’re synched with the moon in this way while other women might experience the opposite, menstruation on the Full Moon and ovulation around the New Moon. Synching our cycles with the moon can be difficult for those of us living in big cities, since we rarely even see the moon.
How can we embrace and honour our cycles from a more spiritual perspective? I.e. rituals, practices, etc.
More and more research is revealing that we need to embrace healthy self-care practices to support healthy menstrual cycles. Stress can really screw up our cycles and cause them to become irregular. Spending more time in nature is a simple practice that reconnects us with Mother Nature. Getting into green spaces, away from bright/noisy environments, and restful sleep is extremely hormonally supportive. Adopting a mindfulness-based practice can help us down-regulate the stress response, which has sabotaging effects on so many hormonal players in our cycle. Anything therapeutic that makes us feel good, lighting candles, burning sage, dancing, singing, or engaging in some kind of creative work can be a kind of spiritual practice that is so good for our hormonal health.