Cycle Syncing Guide Part 1: Your Menstrual Phase - Decode Your Menstrual Cycle and Enhance Your Fertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine


Welcome to Part 1 of our 4-part series: Decode Your Menstrual Cycle and Enhance Your Fertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. This series is going to give you everything you need to understand your menstrual cycle and its phases, and how to support your body through it all! Be sure to check out Part 2: Follicular Phase, Part 3: Ovulation Phase, and Part 4: Luteal Phase of the series for the ultimate guide to your cycle!

What You Need to Know

Let’s talk about days 1-4 of your cycle, or, the menstrual phase. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) this is known as the “inner winter”. In a healthy cycle this should look like filling a sanitary product:

  • every 4 hours

  • for 4 days

  • occurring every 4 weeks (28 days)

We call this the rule of 4’s. A lot of women think a very light period, or no period is a good thing; after all, it can be more convenient for sure. However, a sufficient bleed is INCREDIBLY important when looking at overall reproductive health. Menstrual blood contains uterine lining, old blood, dead endometrial cells, and hormones - all of which were not utilized when a pregnancy did not occur, and therefore not needed. Without sufficient bleeding these things are not cleared out efficiently, leading them to build up and circulate in the system. This leads to imbalances, especially when looking at the efficacy in the rest of the cycle. Just like lighter periods aren’t ideal, heavier periods aren’t ideal either. Losing a significant amount of blood during the period is very depleting and can lead to other related imbalances in the body. AKA, when it comes to the menstrual cycle, we’re looking for balance!

Other than too little or too much bleeding, other signs of dysregulation in this phase include: 

  • painful cramping

  • emotional imbalances

  • headaches

  • dizziness

  • fatigue

  • low back pain

  • insomnia

A lot of these symptoms are deemed “normal”, and are pretty common to experience. However, although these symptoms may be common, they definitely shouldn’t be normalized. Your body is constantly communicating with you, and if any of these things are coming up for you, it is a signal from your body that things aren’t functioning optimally. 

How to Support Your Body

Acupuncture is a great way to treat the root imbalances associated with menstrual irregularities by identifying which organ systems need support and guiding them into functioning efficiently and optimally. It’s benefits include:

  1. Reducing pain and inflammation for any period related pain such as headaches, cramping, low back pain or joint pain.

  2. Regulating sleep and energy for any insomnia, other sleep disturbances, night sweating and low energy.

  3. Regulating the nervous system for any mood imbalances, irritability, anxiety, depression and mood swings.

Other than acupuncture, what else can we do to support the body during this time? 


The whole idea behind ‘cycle syncing’ is to identify the naturally occurring ebbs and flows with our hormonal system, and learn to work WITH it. Our hormonal system affects everything in our body from energy levels, digestion, immune system, to mitochondrial functions, etc. It's important to know where to support the body based on where hormones are at.

During the menstrual phase, estrogen, progesterone, LH, and FSH are at their lowest. This means, energy will naturally be lower, and prioritizing rest and sleep will benefit you best. In terms of exercise, opting for lower intensity movement like walking, stretching, yin yoga, and pilates is a great way to still move your body while also honoring energy levels. Pushing your body too hard with high intensity workouts will not serve your body the best during this time and probably leave you feeling depleted and fatigued. You won't be getting everything you can out of these workouts as your muscular system, respiratory system, and on a cellular level - your body, require a lot more energy and resources than it has to give during this time. 

Nutritionally, focusing on blood replenishing foods (nutrient dense, high in protein, iron, B vitamins, etc.) and anti-inflammatory foods (high in omega-3, healthy fats, etc.) are what you're going to want to opt for. 

  • Blood replenishing foods: dark leafy greens, red meats, beets, eggs, hearty soups and stews, root veggies, goji berries, fish 

  • Anti-inflammatory foods: avocado, salmon, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, berries, olive oil

Some herbs to incorporate during this time would be blood nourishing, liver supporting and anti-inflammatory.

  • Red raspberry leaf - rich in antioxidants and minerals, nourishes the blood, uterine tonic for any cramping and pain

  • Nettle - great to support liver —> healthy detoxification of hormones, high in iron and other minerals to replenish the blood

  • Chaga mushroom - high in iron to replenish the blood, supports immunity, regulates energy, support cleansing/proper bleeding

  • Turmeric - powerful anti-inflammatory for any cramping, pain or inflamation

  • Ginger - anti-inflammatory, digestion supporting, pain relieving

Interested in getting to the bottom of your cyclical symptoms? Want to stop dreading your period? Want to learn how to use acupressure for period relief? Looking for no-BS strategies to balance hormones? Check out our on demand masterclass: How to Understand & Align With Your Menstrual Cycle

If you’re local to the Milwaukee area and you want 1-1 support, schedule a complimentary consultation at our clinic in Franklin and meet with one of our expert acupuncturists!

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