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How to Balance the Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle to Get Pregnant: Advice from a Fertility Acupuncturist September 1, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Acupuncture, fertility, Healing, Health.
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Written by Heidi BrockMyer

Just like nature cycles through four seasons during the course of the year, your body cycles through four phases during each menstrual cycle. As you tune into the changing seasons of the year, you eat different foods and switch clothing to support your body as it adjusts to the environmental changes. 

These adjustments are intuitive. You instinctively know to eat in-season produce, drink warm teas during the winter, and eat refreshing watermelon to stay hydrated during hot summer months. However you may not be as in tune with the needs of your body during each phase of your menstrual cycle. Supporting each phase helps you to maintain a regular healthy menstrual cycle, balance your hormones and sustain the health of your eggs and uterine lining.

In our culture, we aren’t taught much about our reproductive systems, let alone about the phases of our menstrual cycle. Many women don’t know what fertile cervical mucus is until they start learning to chart their cycles.

Most of us don’t know that a healthier cycle is the prerequisite for improving fertility and creating a healthy pregnancy. I compare it to tilling the soils to prepare for an abundant harvest. By gaining insight into the rhythms of your cycle, you can influence the health of your cycle and your fertility, which is where the wisdom of Chinese medicine has so much to offer.

PHASE 1-MENSTRUATION

MOVE BLOOD

Each phase typically lasts about seven days if you maintain a regular 28 day cycle. The first phase of your cycle begins with the first day of your period. Although you may only have flow for one to three days, this first week is considered the first phase.

The primary goal during this phase is to completely shed your uterine lining. Energy needs to be flowing in the right direction, which is down and out of your body. This is a delicate phase.  A lot of movement is taking place and so your body should rest and be allowed to do it’s thing.

It takes energy for the body to release the lining. If energy flow is weakened or disrupted, you may not fully shed the lining. Old stagnant blood can stick around and cause clots.

Acupuncturist’s Tip: Stay hydrated and drink additional electrolytes. If you crave red meat, you likely need the iron. Otherwise avoid eating heavy and greasy foods.

During your period, avoid exercising. Gentle stretching and light walking are acceptable.

PHASE 2-FOLLICULAR PHASE

BUILD YIN AND BLOOD

Phase two begins around one week after your period starts and lasts until ovulation.

The primary goal during the second phase is to rebuild blood and nutrients to nourish a healthy uterine lining and support the maturation of a healthy egg for ovulation.  As soon as your flow stops, you can begin nourishing your body to build up blood and fluids again.  

This is considered the yin phase (versus yang) of your menstrual cycle. Yin is the substance and fluid material of your body, while yang is energy that fuels movement and function.

Although it’s important during all four phases of your cycle to get a good night’s sleep, your body especially needs it during this time. By missing out on quality sleep, you may not replenish your blood supply adequately, which can affect the health of your lining and eggs, especially if this is a chronic habit.

Acupuncturist’s Tip: : During this phase, eat plenty of nourishing foods, like soups and stews, iron-rich cooked vegetables and organic animal protein to rebuild your blood supply and mature an egg for ovulation.

Avoid excessively sweating and overly vigorous exercise during this time. Get plenty of sleep.

PHASE 3-OVULATION

PROMOTE YANG (WARMTH AND MOVEMENT)

Phase three begins with ovulation and lasts for one week following ovulation.  This phase begins when the “yin” (blood and fluids) comes to a climax and transforms into yang as the body signals that it’s ready for ovulation.  

The yang phase embodies warmth and movement. This is why your basal body temperature should rise immediately after ovulating. The hormones released during this phase of your cycle warm up the body to promote the release of the egg-containing follicle.

The warmth encourages dilation and blood flow so that the egg can be released from the follicle and travel unobstructed down the open fallopian tubes. Yangenergy catalyzes the follicular shell to transform into the corpus luteum.

 Acupuncturist’s Tip:During this phase, keep your feet, lower back and abdomen warm.  Stretching the hips, lower back, and pelvic area can help increase blood flow and movement in the reproductive organs while relieving congestion.

Avoid cold foods, raw vegetables, and phlegm producing foods, like sugar and dairy during this phase as these can cause congestion and fluid buildup in your tubes and uterus. Congestion makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the eggs and for an embryo to make the journey down the tubes.

PHASE 4-IMPLANTATION OR PRE-MENSTRUAL PHASE

REGULATE THE FLOW OF QI (PREMENSTRUAL PHASE) OR PROMOTE YANG (IMPLANTATION)

This phase begins about one week after ovulation and ends the day you get your period or a confirmed pregnancy with the first day of your late period.

This phase sustains the warmth and movement of energy or “qi”. Your temperatures should continue to stay high during this phase and typically drop off right before you begin your period. If implantation took place (usually between 7-10 days after ovulation), then warmth and blood flow will continue to be the main priority as you nourish a growing embryo.

If you are not pregnant, the yang energy gathers to a peak then transforms back into yin with the onset of your period. Your hormones adjust before you start shedding the uterine lining. When this energy bottlenecks, it may result in a variety of PMS symptoms like moodiness, bloating, and headaches.

Acupuncturist’s Tip: During this phase to minimize stress, as it disrupts the flow of qi and can worsen the symptoms. Caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided, while exercise and stretching helps regulate the flow ofqi.  

Your body performs infinite miracles every moment of every day in every cell. The better you understand your body, the better you can support it. The more in tune you are with your cycle, the more you can till the soils of your fertility.

To book your appointment contact us today at 604-235-8068 or email info@yaletownnaturopathic.com for more information on how we can help you on your path to wellness.

Article Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-balance-the-phases-of-your-menstrual-cycle-to_us

The Benefits of Registered Massage Therapy During Pregnancy May 9, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Healing, massage therapist, vancouver, vancouver rmt.
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Written By: Tessa Ridley, RMT

Becoming pregnant is a unique time in a woman’s life where she is being initiated into the powerful realm of creating, protecting and delivering another human being into the world. To witness the many physiological changes that the female body experiences over the course of approximately 42 weeks is astounding. It can also be confusing to some mothers that may not know what to expect of their body, especially if this is the first time being pregnant. In our society today, body consciousness is not a social norm. Most humans are unaware of how their body works, how to respond to their pain perception & how to nurture themselves.

Every body is different and every pregnancy progresses in vastly different ways, so it is important to know a few of the most common changes that new mothers experience and how Registered Massage Therapy can benefit both parents during this exciting time.

Linda Ludwig, a Canadian RMT & educator notes that: “Pregnancy is a state of WELLNESS associated with many interrelated changes that occur throughout the woman’s body as the fetus develops”.

This is an important statement, as pregnancy is often described as “difficult, tiring, stressful, scary”… but becoming informed and interested in the changes that are happening can eliminate so many of your fears as a new parent. I say parent, because the father of the pregnancy also undergoes a lot of changes during this time. (And massage can help him too!)

Arguably, the number one benefit of receiving massage therapy, is that it encourages the recipient to be introduced to their mind/body connection, sometimes for the first time ever.

Feeling many parts of the whole body and noticing different types of pains and emotions can assist in a more present pregnancy, while learning to relax and breathe and allow the body to welcome the new nervous system sensations is an integral part of the laboring and birthing part of pregnancy. It is very important for a new mother to learn to connect to herself, her baby and her body, in quiet, comforting moments, which is the genuine intent of the practitioner when providing Pregnancy Massage.

It is perfectly safe to be massaged during your entire pregnancy, but it is important to note that during the first trimester the mother’s body is very sensitive and is creating the optimal environment for the fetus to grow in, and it is suggested to avoid any deep, direct work to the abdomen or low back until this trimester has ended.

Some of the potential benefits of prenatal massage include:

  • Reduced muscle tension and cramping by increasing tissue oxygenation and realigning tissue fibers
  • Reduced headache occurrence and pain medication requirement
  • Reduced back pain caused by increased abdomen and breast size
  • Reduced joint pain caused by changes in pelvic and spinal alignments
  • Improved circulation and reduced swelling (edema) caused by an increase in the mother’s blood volume and compression of blood vessels by surrounding structures
  • Hormone regulation leading to improvement of sleep and reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue

Tessa Ridley, RMT has extensive experience with prenatal & postpartum massage and uses a side lying pillowing system to ensure you and your baby are safe, comfortable and fully supported during your treatment.

During the 4th trimester, or the postpartum stage of pregnancy, the body will be undergoing another series of changes, just as it did when the baby was in utero..

Hormones are surging through the system to support the mother’s energy requirements, milk production is underway, healing from delivery or surgery can be a fatiguing back ground conversation, all the while the mother, father/partner & child begin a new chapter, still together, but now as separate individuals.

It is often said that this is the most important time that a mother can reach out to her support system to help carry the body through the rapid changes of the postpartum season.

New fathers/partners are also encouraged to receive therapeutic massage postpartum to help them with the mental, emotional & physical changes they will experience during this incredible change in life.

It is rarely discussed, but approximately 1 in 10 new fathers experience postpartum depression, which is often overlooked/brushed off. New body tensions arise from carrying baby, the romantic relationship between bodies as lovers shifts & deep surges of emotions can arise. Having therapeutic massage in your life as a new father/HUMYN PARTNER can really help you feel connected and comforted within yourself as new life evolves.

THOUGHT QUESTIONS:

  • Do you need postpartum body rehab assistance?
  • Does your body feel weak?
  • Does your pelvis feel tight and uneven?
  • Are your neck & shoulder locked from breast feeding & baby wearing?
  • Do your abdominal muscles feel twisted and stuck?
  • Have you been diagnosed with Diastasis Recti?
  • Do you have troubles with incontinence & vaginal pain?

Massage & therapeutic exercise can help!

Tessa is a proud VIP member of Bellies, Inc. and has been certified as a Core Confidence Trainer and works with other allied women’s health care providers in Vancouver to help you feel confident in your body at any stage of your pregnancy.

See her Bellies, Inc. TRAINER profile here: http://www.belliesinc.com/directory/tessa-ridley-rmt/
Through Bellies, Inc. she has the continued education to help you reconnect to your whole body, including your Deep Core & Pelvic Floor muscles during your pregnancy & after baby arrives.

Tessa incorporates breath coaching, effective massage techniques, therapeutic exercise & self care education during customized treatments for the pregnant body. She also provides therapeutic breast massage for the changing, working breast & offers post surgical cesarean section scar mobilization & self care education to reduce scarring at home.

Some potential benefits of postpartum massage include:

  • Reduced breast discomfort caused by pectoral tension, milk engorgement, mastitis, weight gain, breast-feeding
  • Increased circulation and nervous system conduction post epidural
  • Increased mobility of tissues and faster healing times with post cesarean scar tissue care that can be introduced during the 4th week post-partum
  • Hormone regulation & the promotion of a healthy emotional connection with the postpartum body which can reduce postpartum depression

There are many more benefits that massage can have on a woman’s body and Tessa encourages every mother/father/HUMYN PARENT to be open to learning more about creating a pre and post natal support team with the practitioners at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic.

PREGNANCY IS ABOUT ACTIVELY CREATING A HEALTHY CONTAINER FOR NEW HUMAN LIFE! May we thrive in your pregnancy together!

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