Menstruation and Ayurveda: Menstruation, a natural process of life has unfortunately been unfairly and unjustly tabooed since decades. However, recently an attempt to alleviate this taboo has been made even though the time when this natural cycle shall be seen as really natural and not something to hide may still be far away.
The human body is a wondrous work of balancing acts, something that the ancient science of Ayurveda understands. Ayurveda saw menstruation as not an obstruction, but an opportunity. It teaches to respect this monthly cycle and thus lead an easier and painless menstruation.
As technology advanced and physical workload decreased, many women experienced irregularities and even extreme pain undergoing menstruation. Delving into Ayurveda, one may find solutions for this inevitable pain.
Listed below are some tips that may make menstruation easier and more comfortable:
Taking adequate Rest
Even though several of our ancient traditions are ridiculed by many, some of these actually have a firm scientific basis. The age-old tradition of not watering your head during menstruation stems from the scientific fact that during this time, the body temperature naturally rises by one to two degrees and the conflicting temperature of the water and the body may result in discomfort and even mild fevers.
Ayurveda recognizes this time as more vulnerable since many women experience pain during menstruation. To combat this condition, the best solution is adequate rest. This is actually why in ancient times women on their periods were kept away from doing any physical work, which later, of course, took the discriminatory discourse that women must be secluded from the society during this time as they are ‘impure’.
Much like the traditions that have been twisted and turned according to the patriarch dogmatic society, so have these myths regarding menstruation. Ayurveda suggests adequate rest during this time and a lesser physical burden which would ease the pain making it a trifle easier.
It is the firm belief of many that certain food items should not be consumed by a menstruating woman and once again, many of these are based off science.
Blood is rich in iron, and thus it is advised to refrain from having iron-rich fruits such as banana etc. during menstruation as this can result in a heavier flow and thus stomach pain and cramps.
Ayurveda recommends a diet based on Vata, Pitta and Kapha. A well balanced, lighter diet for an easier menstrual cycle. Warm, liquid dishes with smooth texture such as soups and purees are recommended for a balanced vata which becomes the main factor for an easier flow. Some natural herbs, which also improve metabolism can also aid in this process. Spicy food is best avoided during this course.
Ayurveda recommends going to sleep at a reasonable hour after allowing the food to be digested properly. Many of the above-mentioned tips are useful even without menstruation as a light, a balanced diet will lead to an overall improvement in health and will naturally lead to an easier menstrual cycle.
Typical premenstrual syndromes such as irritation, anxiety, mood swings etc can be overcome with a peaceful mind. For this, Ayurveda recommends meditation and breathing exercises. Although this is also recommended otherwise, such kinds of exercises, especially during the monthly cycle, can help a person to feel calmer and reduce anxiety and stress.
A proper diet and sleep regime coupled with meditation can work wonders in relieving the pain that comes with the menstrual cycle. Ayurveda nurtures the heart or the Sadhaka Pitta which is helpful in dealing with emotional trauma.
Ayurveda is thus an act of self-care and the above-mentioned methods can considerably help with menstrual pain and irregularity of the cycle. Menstruation is a natural, life-giving process and women are not to be ostracized for this. It is indeed sad that even though technically we humans have advanced leaps in bounds when it comes to perfectly natural processes such as menstruation, our mentality predates even that of the Vedic era and sees it as an impurity.
Ayurveda instils balance into one’s life to help deal with the physical and mental toll that menstruation may take on some women. A synchronized amalgamation of diet, rest and relaxation work wonders for the human body. Apart from these, the application of hot water bags can also help relieve menstrual cramps considerably. Ayurveda also tells that eating two tablespoons of flax seeds during your period because of their hormone balancing lignans and phytoestrogens is helpful in combating menstrual pain.
These ayurvedic cures thus can help immensely with menstrual pain and also have no negative side effects, which is always a bonus.