Get To Know the 4 Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle
Learning and understanding the four phases of your menstrual cycle allows you to live in harmony with your cycle, instead of fighting it. Identifying which phase you are in allows a better insight into your energy levels, exercise routine, moods and even libido.
Menstrual Phase (Day 1-5)
This phase is known as the Foundation or new beginning of your cycle. Day 1 is the first day you experience bleeding (spotting doesn’t count!).
Taking things slow and relaxed during this time helps to prepare for the upcoming stages of your cycle.
In this stage the focus is on the free flow of your blood and qi. Paying attention to the colour, quantity and thickness of your menstrual blood gives lots of clues to your overall health.
Lifestyle: During this phase energy is typically at its lowest. Performing self-care tasks like taking baths, reading and relaxing can all be beneficial. Using acupressure during this phase can help to build a foundation of hormone regulation, relaxation and pain relief. Making time to take care of yourself in this first stage sets you up for a healthy cycle. Using castor oil packs during this time can help to stimulate the free flow of blood and qi, while also giving you some pain relief and relaxation.
Exercise: Take it slow and don’t push yourself here. Gentle exercise like yoga and walks in nature will suffice and give your body what it needs.
Follicular Phase (Day 6-13)
This phase is known as the Building phase. Your estrogen increases as your body prepares for ovulation. The re-building of your endometrium begins and your body gets ready for the release of a follicle at ovulation.
Your pituitary gland releases follicle stimulating hormones which stimulate the ovary to produce follicles and also triggers the lining of your uterus to thicken and become hospitable for a possible pregnancy.
This is the Yin phase of your cycle, you want to replenish and nourish your blood and tonify your Kidneys to help with the building of follicles and your endometrium.
Lifestyle: During this phase your energy is high. Your estrogen and testosterone rise and start to peak, causing uplifting moods, creativity. energy and increased libido. This is a great time to hold meetings, socialize and make important decisions.
Exercise: High intensity workouts are great during this phase. With your increased energy and higher mood, you will likely get more out of your workout and feel great afterwards.
Ovulatory Phase (Day 13-17)
This phase is known as the Transition stage.
During this stage our Yin turns into Yang (estrogen → progesterone). Our focus shifts to warming, while also continuing to tonify the Kidneys.
Energy Levels: Your energy is still riding high in this phase. You’ll feel more social and your libido is at its peak here. It’s a great time to have a date night with your significant other, as well as socialize with friends.
Exercise: Since your energy is still at its peak, continue on with higher intensity workouts and ride that high! Even though you may be feeling more energetic, it’s still important to take some time each day to relax and centre yourself. Continuing to use acupressure during this time can be helpful to prepare for your next phase, as well as create a relaxing and nourishing habit.
Luteal Phase (Day 18- Menstruation)
This phase is know as the Supporting stage
In this phase your estrogen declines and your body starts producing more progesterone. This phase proves difficult for some women who struggle with PMS symptoms. You may experience food cravings, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches and mood changes. Using acupressure during this phase can be beneficial for relaxation, pain relief and hormone regulation to decrease the possibility of these PMS symptoms during your upcoming cycles.
It is important to stimulate the free flow of blood and qi during this phase by warming the uterus to ensure a pain-free menstrual phase.
Lifestyle: Keep up your self-care practices. Support your body through this phase by keeping a calm and quiet calendar. Make sure to get lot’s of sleep (8 hours minimum) and remember to keep your body warm by wearing socks, eating mostly warm foods and avoiding any cold drafts on the lower back or neck. This time is great for some quiet meditation and gentle breathwork.
Exercise: Slow down during this phase with some calm and restorative exercise. Go for a nice yoga class or walks out in nature, making sure not to push yourself too hard.
Honour Your Body
Now that you know what your body is doing during each phase of your cycle, make sure to put what you’ve learned into practice. The average woman has roughly 450 periods in her lifetime, so it’s important to learn to create healthy habits surrounding your cycle so you can live in synchronicity with your cycle. If you would like to learn more about the best practices to use during your cycle, as well as dietary suggestions and guided acupressure meditations to work with your cycle please check out our acupressure program.