I am a big fan of the moon. There is nothing better than witnessing the majesty of a bright full moon when you are in the quiet of the middle of nowhere. I wonder if you can relate? When my husband and I stumbled upon the house we now live in, on the property where my acupuncture studio is located, one of the first things I fell in love with were the many skylights. In my mind skylights are only good for one thing and that is looking up at the moon. On any given month the full moon lights up part of the house from one of these windows. It is one of my favourite things. I love the moon. When we built my acupuncture studio I knew that I would need one more skylight, because there is nothing better than acupuncture under the moon.
The word menstruation is related to the word moon. Menses is derived from the latin mensis which related to the greek mene (moon). Historically, women's menstrual cycles would sync with those they lived around (I'm sure we have all experienced this to some degree!). Without artificial lighting, they would also sync with the moon, typically ovulating around the full moon and menstruating around the new moon. Many women today also find this to be true of their cycles. Others may have a reverse cycle and bleed on the full moon, ovulating at the new moon. This cycle was referred to as a Red Moon Cycle and women with this cycle were thought to be more spiritually/creatively inclined. It is fairly common these days to see one's cycle flip between the two depending on what is going on in a person's life.
An underlying principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that the part is not separate from the whole, that human beings are a microcosm of a universal macrocosm. We can observe the menstrual cycle from this lense, ruled by the laws of nature, the ebb and flow of yin and yang, influenced by the moon. The moon ruling the flow of fluids both in the ocean and in our bodies and the menstrual cycle mimicking the waxing and waning of the lunar cycle.
I often suggest following the moon cycle to those experiencing irregular and difficult menstruation. For those interested in the relationship between menstruation and the lunar cycle here are a few tips and tricks for regulating your menstrual cycle with the moon.
1) Go on a DAYTIME walk! Since we don't all live in the bush with no electricity it is important to start with making sure the body knows daytime v.s. nightime. Bonus points if you can get yourself out into nature for this walk.
2) At NIGHTTIME avoid too many screens & dim the lights! Similar to suggestion #1, this is to get your body into the rhythm of knowing day from night.
3) Invest in BLACKOUT CURTAINS! Making your bedroom extra dark can help the body produce more melatonin and sleep better. If you are trying to shift your cycle to ovulate with the full moon you can turn on a night light beside your bed for a few days around the full moon.
4) Look at the MOON! Take time every night to look at the moon and notice what phase it is at. Are you approaching the full or new moon?
5) CHART your menstrual cycle! Becoming aware of your personal rhythms and cycles is so helpful. This is a way to become more in tune with your body and a useful way to track when you ovulate/menstruate and how this changes for you over time.
For more information on charting your menstrual cycle (for both fertility and menstrual regulation purposes) I would highly recommend reading the book"Taking Charge of your Fertility" by Toni Weschler.
Allen, Kevin (2007). The Reluctant Hypothesis: A History of Discourse Surrounding the Lunar Phase Method of Regulating Conception. Lacuna Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-9510974-2-7.
Brown, F.A., 1972. The clocks: Timing biological rhythms, American Scientist, vol. 60:756–66; Gauguelin, M., 1978. Wrangle continues of pseudoscientific nature of astrology, New Scientist, Feb. 25; Menaker, W., 1959. Lunar periodicity in human reproduction: A likely unit of biological time, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 77(4):904–14; Dewan, E.M., 1967. On the possibility of the perfect rhythm method of birth control by periodic light stimulation, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 99(7):1016–19.
Danilenko KV, Samoilova EA (2007) Stimulatory Effect of Morning Bright Light on Reproductive Hormones and Ovulation: Results of a Controlled Crossover Trial. PLOS Clin Trial 2(2): e7. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pctr.0020007
Weschler, T. (2015). Taking charge of your fertility: The definitive guide to natural birth control, pregnancy achievement, and reproductive health. New York: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Malakai Button is a Registered Acupuncturist in good standing with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia. Passionate about helping women struggling with hormonal and reproductive issues, she focuses on helping women achieve hormonal balance and healthy pregnancies. She offers her home based acupuncture studio in Victoria, BC as a place for you to cultivate wellness and reconnect with your body's innate healing capacity.