The Cyclical Phases and Massage
THE MENSTRUAL, HORMONAL, LUNAR & EARTH CYCLES
AND HOW MASSAGE THERAPY CAN SERVE AS A SUPPORT
Described throughout this series are the four phases of the menstrual cycle, the hormones involved in each phase, the related energetics of the Moon and Earth cycles and the corresponding elemental wisdom. Please keep in mind that each body is unique and not all cycle phases will align with the specific Moon and Earth phases that are listed ~ and that is completely okay, whenever you bleed is perfect! To better understand the nature of your individual cycle, it's most important to take into consideration your own experience of the spiritual significance and archetypal symbolism of the Lunar and Earth phases rather than the specific space and time. I welcome and encourage you to practice curiosity and compassion when exploring this content and to bring awareness to the fluidity and variability that is our internal rhythms especially in regards to the menstrual cycle.
from my heart to yours...
BLOOMING, EMERGING, AWAKENING
"Within the language of our cycle we are given a map and compass by which to harmoniously grow into maturity, by which to have healthy relationships, by which to know ourselves. Your cycle is a language that is always communicating to you, whether you are in alignment with what your body needs or whether there are opportunities for shifts. Cravings, emotional turbulence, discomfort and pain are messages & symptoms that are drawing your awareness to ‘toxins’ in your life or what needs to change." ~ Isabella Wilde
Follicular / Pre-Ovulatory Phase
Waxing Moon | Air/Wood Element | Spring/Spring Equinox
Nearing the end of the menstrual phase, estrogen levels slowly begin to rise and there is a sense of awakening, we may feel more drawn to leave our menstrual 'cave' so to speak and return back into the world. Respect and follow this inclination while continuing to be gentle and care for yourself as you may need. The conclusion of our menstrual flow marks the beginning of the follicular or pre-ovulatory phase. During this time the hormonal conversation between the pituitary gland and the ovaries causes the ova (egg) to begin to mature, which in turn increases estrogen production which is responsible for restoring strength to the body. The uterus is beginning to build the endometrial lining (mucous membrane that lines the inside of the uterus) back up in preparation to support a fertilized ova, if there is one. Estrogen increases cervical fluid production, serotonin production and stimulates growth of the endometrial lining.
"While in this estrogen dominant phase of the cycle, we may be more easily accommodating and adaptive. We have more bandwidth to go with the flow and be out in the world. We might be able to bounce back emotionally. Usually there is a lot of physical energy at this time. Movement, embodiment and feeling ones strength and physicality feels good." ~ Marissa Correia
The follicular phase corresponds to the Waxing Moon and the season of Spring, the beginning of a new cycle of growth. Seeds have been planted and the momentum of new energy begins to nourish the seeds of new ideas, projects and goals that are now growing from the death and degeneration of menstruation. As our energy increases we may feel more open and expansive in our engagements with the world around us and feel called to explore new things, new connections and motivated to begin bringing our creative endeavours into form! This may be a good time to expand past our comfort zones. Grounding practices can help to utilize this surge of energy and power as this is one of two transition phases of the cycle, which can sometimes be the most challenging phases. There is an ascension towards the peak of ovulation, as our energy flows upwards and outwards, a culmination of biological and spiritual creation. The upward spiral of energy may feel quite destabilizing depending on the relationship you have with it, practice patience and pace yourself, trust what is coming into fruition.
Massage + Bodywork During The Follicular Phase
As this may feel like a time infused with increasing vitality and an urge for activity, lying still on a massage table for an hour or so may not feel like the most effective medicine but there are multiple forms of massage that may aid in a smooth transition towards the second half of the cycle ~ that being said, of course it is always best to listen to your own body's needs and cravings!
The increase of estrogen and energy during this phase following the hormonal flatline of the menstrual phase may create some feelings of unsteadiness, angst and overactivity in the mind as well as physical symptoms may be experienced in the form of headaches, anxiety, constipation and/or breast tenderness which can all be effectively addressed through bodywork. Massage therapy can be utilized as a tool to ground and stabilize the physical body and nervous system as it transitions to a more energetically and hormonally charged state which naturally mobilizes mental activity, therefore this can be a potent opportunity to feel into the physical body and its sensations. A more activated and stimulating massage is also a lovely option that can support the body's natural increase of energy and vitality during this phase.
Journal Prompts To Support Deeper Exploration
What is your theme for the month ahead?
What are your hopes, desires, dreams or goals for this next cycle?
What intentions do you have for work, relating and creativity?
How do you want to feel this month?
Is there something that you have been wanting to do?
How can you more evenly distribute your energy and sense of output?
What changes/alterations could be made to more optimally serve your intentions for the next cycle?