The next post in my Inspire series is about cyclical living. Living cyclically means living in harmony with our natural cycle and the cycles of the moon. Recently, I have discovered the huge benefits in cyclical living, along with abdominal massage therapy, in helping me to overcome some challenging menstrual cycle pain and to embrace the rhythm of my cycle.
About three years ago, I started experiencing very extreme pain at various times during my cycle. After numerous hospital scans and appointments with a specialist, it was suggested that it may be due to endometriosis but the only way to diagnose it was with key hole surgery, which I was not keen to have.
After two and a half years of battling with this, I came across Arvigo abdominal therapy for digestive and reproductive issues. I went along to see Danielle once a fortnight for three months and she not only carried out Arvigo Massage Therapy but she also taught me how to do it myself, so that I could take control of my healing, along with some other self-care practices to help alongside the massage. Arvigo massage therapy is not only about working through physical blocks and stagnant energy but it is also about clearing emotional clutter, which can often sit in that area. Four months on and I have only had one episode of the more intense pain and even this was 60% less than it was before I started the massage, and the pain levels throughout my cycle have dramatically decreased. I also feel much lighter emotionally too.
Not only did Danielle teach me the massage routine but she also explained how important it was to live in harmony with the rhythm of my menstrual cycle. She recommended the book ‘Wild Power’ by Alexandra Pope & Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer. It was an absolute revelation! It explains how your monthly menstrual cycle can be split into four stages – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. These stages also correlate with the cycles of the moon and you can follow the moon cycle if you do not experience periods. Click here to read my blog post about the moon cycle and phases.
Winter is the time when our period arrives, which is a time for deep rest, saying no and hibernating. Spring is the pre-ovulation time, when we are starting to emerge out of hibernation and feel a little more social but still need to pace ourselves. Summer is ovulation time when you may feel very social and want to be visible. Autumn is the pre-menstrual time (my husband refers to this as the danger zone!), when anything that is not right in our lives is magnified and rises to the surface, along with the appearance of our inner critic. It can also be a time of completing projects.
The book goes into lots of details about each stage of your cycle and how we can best support our bodies with self-care and activities for each season. By embracing each season, for example, by giving into rest when our body is crying out for it during Winter or being extra compassionate with yourself during Autumn, allows you to harness the power of each season. I have found that by giving myself permission to rest as much as I can during my period, it has meant I have much more energy in the other seasons of my cycle and it has really increased my productivity throughout the month because I am working in tune with my cycle.
The authors encourage tracking your cycle, which I have been doing for four months and it is now really clear when I’m heading into a different season. It has made such a difference being actively aware of which season I’m in and I have been pro-actively planning my work and life, as much as possible, to allow me to rest when I’m in Winter and plan in more social events and work during my Summer phase. The book acknowledges that we all have busy lives but explains that even making very small changes to enable us to live more in tune with our cycle can make a big difference.
I have been amazed at how much difference the massage therapy, self-care and cyclical living has made to my pain levels. I think the shift from almost fighting my cycle to becoming in harmony with it has also helped to heal my tummy area.
If you would like more information on Arvigo Therapy – head to Danielle’s website – www.daniellerickwood.com and check out ‘Wild Power’ for more information on cyclical living.
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