If I talk a lot about the way that essential oils support the body’s innate capacity for sustainable balance, then today’s topic is no exception.
This blog is about the female body and its intimate relationship with the balance of cycles. And about how essential oils are so suited to supporting women’s health because they are made up of molecules that can help to balance our biological patterns and our mental and emotional wellbeing.
When we talk about ‘women’s health’ and specifically the menstrual cycle many people still tend to approach it as an inconvenient detail. In a fact sheet published by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, one US survey is quoted to show that as many as 77% of women view their periods as something they simply have to put up with. And some 99% of female OB/GYNs surveyed by Gallup considered it safe to suppress menstruation through contraceptive pills (because the bleeding is not a true period with the pill).
The idea of the monthly bleeding cycle as a crucial part of female wellness is not widely entertained. But that is not to say it shouldn’t be.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. was a practicing physician in US obstetrics and gynecology for over 25 years before she became a prominent voice in women’s health and wellness, advocating a holistic approach for mainstream female healthcare. Northrup encourages women to create health on all levels by tuning into their inner wisdom, which includes being more in tune with the nature of their menstrual cycle.
Dr. Northrup talks about moon cycles and the ebb and flow of female process that nourishes creativity, insight and a wisdom connection with the natural world.
The fact that Northrup’s deeper appreciation of menstrual process comes from such a solid medical background in conventional women’s health is reassuring. Though there is little conscious concession to the cyclic nature of our body balance in everyday life, most women are still very aware of how much their equilibrium changes at different times in their cycle. Here is validation from within the science community that supports us to really listen to our own transitions and nurture a more healthful and fulfilling balance.
There is a wisdom to the rhythm of our monthly cycle that comes from understanding the energy of each different stage
What Dr. Northrup talks about is, of course, not entirely new. In other cultures there is centuries old ritual around menses that have always honored the feminine connection with creation rhythm. And there is a growing movement in Western culture that is dedicated to reversing the negative and shameful concepts of the past to empower women (and daughters) with meaningful ritual (see here and here).
Instead of resigning oneself to the idea of crazy mood swings as a precursor to monthly inconvenience, we can begin to understand the whole cycle and how that nurtures life more fully.
Here is a brief outline of Dr. Northrup’s insight into the menstrual phases:
The start of a new cycle (starting from the end of the last period) – Physically a new egg is ripening, so our whole dynamic is creative. Our energy and sense of purpose is high, peaking at mid-cycle and ovulation.
Post ovulation – Energy diminishes as the body prepares for cleansing and release. This is a more reflective time where we can evaluate and assess our choices with calm and insight.
Pre Menstruation and menstruation –Subconscious processing from deep within is most active here. Real issues and emotions need to be processed for a deeper connection with personal truth and integrity. The body cleansing brings also flow for emotional and mental cleansing.
The role that therapeutic plant oils can play in supporting our awareness towards more balanced healthful cycles
As women start to get in tune with themselves and reduce the stress of operating against their natural energies, there is good reason to believe that their sense of wellbeing and vitality for life will increase. Women’s health could encompass a whole new vision for wellbeing. As Dr. Northrup says: “I dedicated the first half of my life studying all that can go wrong with the female body—and learning how to fix it. I'm devoting the second half of my life to illuminating all that can go right.”
Pure Essential oils can be used to accompany this pathway to well-woman wholeness because they too work with the existing patterns in the body to support a healthful natural outcome. Certain essential oils have phytoestrogens, which are basically plant hormones similar to the hormones in the human body. Once absorbed by the body, these plant hormones can influence endocrine related functions in a beneficial way. For example, when estrogen is out of balance, they can remarkably cause the body to produce either more, or less estrogen, depending on which way the balance is tipped.
In addition to this, essential oils have molecular properties that influence the part of the brain that controls heartbeat, breathing, nervous system responses and emotions. So, if we are in tune with our cycle we can work with it to improve balance and enhance the quality of each stage in the process.
And of course Primrose Oil has its own fame for assisting with hormone balance and healthy circulation through fatty acids that are converted by the body.
Working on the premise that we need to tune in to our own rhythms to better manage our own wellness, we can use safe natural products in a self-managed routine.
Well woman care with therapeutic enhancement
Deep conditioning Chamomile German: 3% in Jojoba as a gently balancing base (massage a teaspoon measure to small of back at bedtime)…
Beginning of the cycle
Enhance with 3 drops Lemon essential oil to enhance energy and complement a positive dynamic.
Past mid cycle
Enhance with 1-2 drops each of Lavender and/or Cypress essential oils to encourage a calm, clear process (Cypress is also beneficial for fluid retention).
Pre-menstrual and menstrual phases
Blend with 25 drops Evening Primrose Oil: Virgin. Add a further 5 drops Woman Support (alternatively, 10 drops Lemon, 10 drops Lavender, and 5 drops Cypress in 10ml of your German Chamomile in Jojoba base) for extra support.
In addition, you can use Feminine Balance - a clinical blend of organic essential oils - for diffusion into your living/sleeping space, for therapeutic bath or massage, and for wet or dry hot compress on the back area.
Very important of course is to support the body with only pure natural ingredients. Buy your products from a reputable natural health products outlet. All the above products can be found here – or click direct on the product names for more information and shopping choices.
Medicinal-grade essential oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with a maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at: Absolute Essential's Website