Many women struggle unnecessarily each month from dysmenorrhea, painful menstrual cramping, menorraghia, heavy menstrual bleeding or oligomenorrhea, or irregular or infrequent menstrual periods. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one out of five women of child-bearing age are missing out on regular activities or forced to take sick days from work. They can be laid up in bed for several days every month due to one or more of these menstrual maladies. The causes are varied, including increased stress, poor nutrition, eating disorders, significant weight gain or loss or over-exercise. Other factors such as smoking, drug use, excessive alcohol consumption or environmental toxins can be factors. PCOS, uterine fibroids, tumors, polyps and endometriosis, childbirth, breastfeeding and perimenopause are some of the most common reasons. Typical treatments can include pharmaceutical medication, birth control pills, hormone therapy and surgery in some instances, with little or no relief.
Your Role In Healing
There is an innate wisdom that lies within all that can restore the body to health. According to Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., every cell of your body is working to bring your body into balance by eliciting either a protection response or a growth response. Since your cells can only focus on one response at a time, multiple issues can affect your well-being. The most life-threatening need will engage the protection response; every other issue will have to wait for that to be brought back into balance first. “Almost every major illness that people acquire has been linked to chronic stress,” says Lipton.
Any physical suffering you may experience each month is simply a call from your higher self to get your attention. It is then up to you to get quiet; be mindful of what is present at that moment that needs your attention. Are you stressed, run down, getting adequate sleep and eating healthy? Are you addressing your overall physical, mental and emotional health?
There are actions you can take to assist your body with its own healing. It is essential that you allow the body to relax, quiet the mind, and reconnect to the wisdom within. Only from this place can you begin to heal and allow your body to restore balance to itself naturally.
This powerful ancient tradition, practiced regularly for thousands of years in many South American and Eastern countries, has been known to improve women’s uterine health. Yoni translates as “sacred space” or “source of all life” in Sanskrit. Seated over a pot of steaming water steeped with a special combination of fresh or dried organic herbs, wrapped in a warm cotton blanket, the moist heat draws fresh oxygenated blood to the surface of the skin and opens the pores. The water vapor carries the volatile oils and medicinal benefits of the plants to the vaginal area. The healing warmth softens, nourishes and cleanses the tissues and the internal membranes, loosening any material that accumulates in the cell walls from cycle to cycle. It is this material—which adheres to the walls and hardens—that can cause the pain each month as the muscles need to work harder to expel it. The steaming process can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes and can be accompanied by a healing meditation or soft, relaxing music to further allow the mind to settle and focus inward. Best practice is to continue to relax in warmth for a period of time to allow the herbal oils to work, the toxins to release and the mind and body to remain calm.
Incorporating a Reiki treatment after the steaming process boosts the bodies natural healing by removing toxins and blocks that collect at the physical, mental, emotional and cellular level. Reiki is a powerful, energy-based, ancient healing modality that has also been used for thousands of years. As these two modalities combine, the body is detoxifying itself in a peaceful and relaxed state, women report feeling relaxed, nourished, toned and cleansed. The cells recognize there is no longer an immediate danger to attend to, hence their energy is redirected toward healing the body naturally, at it’s own pace.
Herbs for Uterine Health
Oregano, which contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, is traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual cramps, urinary tract disorders, acne, bloating, headaches and fatigue.
Motherwort, a bitter-tasting herb, is said to promote and regulate menstruation, aid in expelling the afterbirth and strengthen and relax uterine muscles. It can help decrease muscle spasms, ease uterine cramping and improve fertility. Other reported benefits of Motherwort include anxiety reduction associated with childbirth, post-partum depression and menopause; hot flash relief; and cooling of the body.
Yarrow, another bitter-tasting herb, is said to contain antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and astringent qualities. It promotes clotting, helps slow heavy bleeding, and causes the body to sweat and release toxins.
Mugwort has been traditionally used for menstrual and menopausal complaints. It stimulates the production of hormones to maintain uterine health and protects the uterus from ulcers, tumors, fibroids and polyps.
These herbs can also be steeped in boiling water as a tea. For additional internal healing, add honey or another sweet herb to balance the taste. Start slowly and use in moderation; be mindful of the way your body feels throughout the day. Drinking the recommended 8-10 glasses of water daily also helps flush toxins from the body.
No one needs to suffer through painful or irregular menstrual cycles. Your body has the power to heal itself.
Note: Yoni steaming and the use of these herbs is not recommended during pregnancy. However, midwives have suggested this practice after a normal vaginal delivery to cleanse the uterine membrane. Consult your health care provider for guidance on this or any medical conditions.