Women's Health & Healing
By: Vicki Aldridge
Women’s health has been quite neglected in the modern world and ‘science’ has made no real advancements female healthcare over the last few decades beyond the use of the oral contraceptive pill, HRT, and surgery such as D&C (dilations and curettage) and hysterotomy. Luckily women are very good at just getting on with whatever they have to! I felt it would be good to re-heart some self-care to support all our amazing divine feminine beings.
Like all healthcare there are many ways to help oneself. It might be useful to first look at the naturopathic triangle approach;
· Structure; physical health particularly posture and exercise;
· Emotional; emotional balance/ stability and self-love/worth;
· Biochemical; heathy balanced hormones, diet, reduced and neutralise all ‘chemical’ contact, use of additional nutritional supplements if needed.
A large part of women’s health is about supporting the flow, particularly the change of hormones during our cycle of change. In other words, to help rebalance and restabilise ourselves and our hormones. These hormones have been nicknamed as the ‘happy hormones’ by Nicki Williams. They are oestrogen, cortisol, insulin and thyroid. Each of these play a massive role in balancing our endocrine/hormonal system.
One of the biggest issues of the modern day, let alone the modern woman, is stress. I think of stress as excessive drive. Primarily leading to chronic excessive hormonal imbalance and confusion particularly it increases cortisol levels which in turn affects the thyroid function, therefore balancing our metabolism. It also affects our digestive system and insulin function, affecting food consumption choices and energy production. As well as the balance of our reproductive hormones like oestrogen and progesterone (you aren’t meant to conceive if you are in an unhealthy stressful environment). It’s worth noting you don’t have to be a headless chicken to be stressed. Many women are like a swan. Calm and serene on the outside but swimming like mad on the inside.
Unfortunately, this has become the normal state for many. Even without children the modern-day middle-aged woman is still ‘full on’. Trying to make the most of our productive years and do our best for everyone. However, we need to try and keep perspective. How much does working flat out actually achieve for you and the whole/family. Some acute/short term stress, like intense exercise, can be good for you and even healthy, however the stressor should peak and dissipate, not be prolonged and recycled.
It’s interesting to note that female stress often leads to trying to hold everything together. It the feminine stress response is to hold tighter and tighter trying to control your environment, which we know we cannot control! Whereas male stress usually expresses itself as flight and flight. It is therefore important for women to let go and trust, and allow men to express themselves. Instead, it is important for woman to take time slow down and work on your perspective of stress thereby living in dignity, truth and grace, and encouraging other to do the same; lead by example.
This is particularly important for modern day mums that are expected to be superwomen by working, managing the house and raising/nurturing the kids. I have been threatening to write a blog for years titled you are a mum not a martyr. It is important to remind parents that children learn by following your example more than your words. They observe and follow, more than listen and agree. If a mum, and/ or dad, doesn’t look after him or herself then that is what your child will feel is normal.
We need to embody a new paradigm. Chronic stress doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be part of our lives, we need to use adrenalin but not let it drive us unconditionally. It’s is now even more important to embody the ethos of the divine feminine. Remember your breathing practice, mediation, exercise either calming like yoga/Pilates/walking etc, or driving/ stress burning exercise like running, HITT, boxing and/or weights. Other practices like warm lemon tea in the morning, relaxing bath with Epsom salts and lavender, a good night’s sleep (10pm until 6am), power nap midday if tired for 15-20minutes if required. Supplements such ashwagandha, L-theanine, magnesium(aspartate), melatonin, Rhodiola, lemon balm and valerian can help short term. Other things like the use of suki mats or gravity blankets are all helpful in manage of acute stress.
Oestrogen and progesterone are the primary hormones of our menstrual cycle and need to maintain balanced flow for fertility and a healthy menstrual cycle. Modern society has over stimulated our oestrogen supply due to oestrogenic compounds in disinfects, crop sprays, plastic (particularly in food storage), hormone induced meat production and even artificial hormones from OCP and HRT in our recycled water supply. This can cause oestrogen over stimulation and eventually ovarian fatigue which affects our bodies balance and control. It can be worth rebalancing and supporting your system with natural phyto- oestrogens, particularly around the menopausal age. These can include growing and eating sprouted seed, flax seed/ linseed, sesame seeds. Other supplements such as agnus castus, casteberry, black cohosh, st. John's wort, dong quai, maca, red clover, sage and milk thistle can also be useful.
Other foods to support our hormonal system including garlic, dried fruit such as apricots, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, collagen such as marine collagen or meat or fish bone broth, Increasing good fats like omega 3, oily fish, vitamin B especially B12.
For Thyroid support it’s important to have an adequate supply of iodine. One suggestion is Lugolds iodine and/or regular seaweed consumption.
For Insulin support it’s important to avoid processed foods high carbohydrates diets particularly with equal high sugar/fat content, and avoid eating in excess when tired or stressed. It is generally recommended that a paleo-keto type diet (low carbohydrates, high fat, protein and vegetables) is a good focused diet with support of pre and probiotics.
It’s also worth noting some support for male, particularly prostate support, can include saw palmetto, pumpkin seed, cruciferous vegetables, berries, fish and cooked tomatoes.
Please note all these supplements are just suggestions and possibilities, you don’t have to take them all! We would like to encourage you to learn to ask and trust your body, higher self and guides what is suitable and most appropriate for you in any moment.
Other suggestions include to;
· Avoid chemical excessive stressors drugs (prescription or recreational), caffeine, alcohol and high salt diets.
· Avoid chemical in toiletries, shampoo, deodorant, makeup etc, particularly perfumes, fluoride in toothpaste, aluminium in deodorants and sulphates in shampoos.
· Avoid Chemical cleaners - try and use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda
· Avoid hormone replacements especially the pill, HRT
· Manage stress particularly around changes in cycles such as menstrual cycle and menopause.
· Knowing your fertility cycle can be the best form of birth control, particularly with a stable partner.
· Avoid Tampons and perfumed sanitary wear, try washable sanitary pads such Earthwise girls, cups
· Make sure you exercise regularly, whether it’s relaxing/balancing, coordination, mobility, strength exercise.
· Maintain good posture as reflection of your inner self and allowing for your body to flow the best it can in form.
Of course, most importantly love yourself and everyone unconditionally, with self-love practices, mindfulness, spiritual awakening and contact/embodying your higher self so you are a expressing your true nature as uncomfortable love ❤️