A guest blog this week from my friend and fertility expert, Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac.
Just like nature cycles through 4 seasons during the course of the year, your body cycles through 4 phases during each menstrual cycle.
As you tune into the changing seasons of the year, you eat different foods and switch clothing to support your body as it adjusts to the environmental changes.
These adjustments are intuitive. You instinctively know to eat in-season produce, drink warm teas during the winter, and eat refreshing watermelon to stay hydrated during hot summer months.
In our modern Western society, however, you may not be as in tune with the needs of your body during each phase of your menstrual cycle. Supporting each phase helps you to maintain a regular healthy menstrual cycle, balance your hormones and sustain the health of your eggs and lining.
In the West, we aren’t taught much about our reproductive systems at all, let alone about the 4 phases of our menstrual cycle. Most of my patients don’t even know what fertile cervical mucus is until they start reading up on how to increase fertility and chart their cycles.
A healthier cycle is the prerequisite for improving fertility and a healthy pregnancy. It's like tilling the soils to prepare for an abundant harvest. By gaining insight into the rhythms of your cycle, you can influence the health of your cycle, which is why it's so important for me to teach you the wisdom Chinese medicine has to offer on the subject.
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Move Blood
Each phase typically lasts about 7 days if you maintain a regular 28 day cycle. The first phase of your cycle begins with the first day of your period. Although you may only have flow for 1-3 days, this first week is considered the first phase.
The primary goal during this phase is to properly shed your uterine lining. Energy needs to be flowing in the right direction, which is down and out of your body. This is a delicate phase. A lot of movement is taking place and so your body should rest and be allowed to do it’s thing.
It takes energy for the body to release the lining. If it’s disrupted, you may not properly shed the lining and old stagnant blood can stick around, causing clots. It’s important to stay hydrated and you may need additional electrolytes. If you crave red meat, you likely need the iron. Otherwise avoid eating heavy and greasy foods.
During your period, avoid exercising. Gentle stretching and light walking are acceptable.
Phase 2-Follicular Phase
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Build Yin and Blood
Phase two begins around 1 week after your period starts and lasts until ovulation.
The primary goal during the second phase is to rebuild blood and substance to nourish a healthy uterine lining and support the maturation of a healthy egg for ovulation. As soon as your flow stops, it’s a good idea to begin nourishing your body and building up blood and fluids again.
This is considered the yin phase (versus yang) of your mentrual cyle. Yin is the substance and fluid material of your body, while yang is energy that fuels movement and function.
Although it’s important during all 4 phases of your cycle to get a good night’s sleep, your body especially needs it during this time. In fact, it’s best to be in bed before 11:00 PM each night. According to the Chinese medicine circadian clock, it's at this time that your body starts replenishing it’s blood supply and healing the tissues of your body while you sleep. By missing out on quality sleep or getting to bed too late, you may not replenish your blood supply adequately, which can affect the health of your lining and eggs, especially if this is a chronic habit.
I also recommend eating plenty of nourishing foods, like soups and stews, iron-rich vegetables and lots of organic animal protein to give your body the support it needs to rebuild your blood supply and mature an egg for ovulation.
Avoid excessively sweating and overly rigorous exercise during this time. You may find that your joints are stiffer, you’re more prone to headaches and fatigue.
Self-acupressure is also a very effective tool for supporting your body during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle.
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine: Promote Yang (Warmth and Movement)
Phase 3 begins with ovulation and lasts for one week following ovulation. This phase begins when the “yin” (blood and fluids) have built to a climax and then the energy transforms into yang as the body signals that it's ready for ovulation.
The yang phase is about warmth and movement. This is why your basal body temperature should rise immediately after having ovulated. The hormones released during this phase of your cycle warm up the body to promote the release of the egg-containing follicle. The warmth encourages dilation and blood flow so that the egg can be released from the follicle and travel unobstructed down the open fallopian tubes.
During this phase, it’s important to keep your feet, low back and abdomen warm. Stretching the hips, low back, and pelvic area can help increase blood flow and movement in the reproductive organs while relieving congestion.
Avoid cold foods, raw vegetables, and phlegm producing foods, like sugar and dairy as these can cause congestion and fluid build up in your tubes and uterus. Congestion makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the eggs and for an embryo to make the journey down the tubes.
Phase 4-Implantation or Pre-Menstrual Phase
Primary Goal in Chinese Medicine-Regulate the Flow of Qi (Pre-Menstrual Phase) or Promote Yang (Implantation)
This phase begins about 1 week after ovulation and ends the day get your period or confirm pregnancy with the first day of your late period.
Your temperatures should continue to stay high during this phase and typically drop off right before you being your period. This phase continues to be about warmth and the movement of energy or “qi”. If implantation took place (usually between 7-10 days after ovulation), then warmth and blood flow will continue to be the main priority.
Self-acupressure to promote implantation using a study-proven series of specific points is an effective tool for encouraging your fertilized embryo to successfully implant.
If you are not pregnant, then your body is gathering energy to shed the uterine lining and adjusting hormones. Sometimes this energy gets bottlenecked or doesn’t flow smoothly, resulting in a variety of PMS symptoms like moodiness, bloating, and headaches.
It’s important during this phase to minimize stress, as stress disrupts the flow of qi and can make the symptoms worse. Caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided. Exercise and stretching helps regulate the flow of qi. Peppermint tea helps to relieve PMS symptoms and improve the flow of qi.
Your body performs infinite miracles every moment of every day in every cell. The better you understand your body, the better you can support it. The more in tune you are with your cycle, the more you can till the soils of your fertility.
Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac is Fertility Expert and Experienced Acupuncturist. She practices out of her San Diego clinic using acupuncture, shamanic healing and other holistic medicines to improve the well-being of her clients, including those struggling with specific health complaints, and women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are in postpartum recovery. Heidi has continued to develop more programs to help women all over the world take control of their fertility health through online courses and products. Heidi also run a mentorship program to help other acupuncturists achieve the same global reach, so that together we can create a worldwide health paradigm shift. Get Heidi’s Free Library of Resources Here.
Hey, are you...
Have no fear, Enlighten Herbal Elixir is now available at
Indigo Healing Acupuncture!
What is it?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir is a hot beverage containing eight Chinese herbs. The herbs work together to help relieve:
What does it taste like?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir tastes good. It has a golden color and smooth consistency that feels great on the throat.
Still have doubts an Elixir made out of Chinese herbs can taste good?
Over the past month, Enlighten Herbal Elixir has been extensively taste-tested and approved by one of my most discriminating patients… my two-year old daughter! She loves it and serves it up at her tea parties!
How do I know it will work?
This Chinese formula has been used for over 900 years. Western science has conducted clinical studies on its ability to treat the conditions listed above. For a list of clinical studies, contact Michelle and she’ll email it to you so you can see the evidence yourself.
Why is it so hard to find?
Enlighten Herbal Elixir is currently farm-direct to only 150 clinics in the US. Indigo Healing Acupuncture is blessed to be one of those clinics! The Sichuan farm produces herbs in a sustainable manner, therefore quantities are very limited. All raw herbs are stored in humidity and temperature-controlled warehouses and the dried herbs are free from sulfur and sulfites. Thin Liquid Chromatography qualitative analysis and High Performance Liquid Chromatography qualitative/quantitative analysis are conducted on the raw and dried herbs to ensure the highest level of active constituents of the herbs are preserved. There is further testing to check for pesticide residue and heavy metals. In short, the eight herbs in this elixir meet strict European Union standards for quality and potency.
Contact Michelle to find out if Enlighten Herbal Elixir is right for you!
Congratulations! You’ve just had an amazing acupuncture treatment that has left you feeling completely relaxed and high on life.
You’re probably thinking, “Wow! I wish I always felt like this! How can I get this feeling to last?”
The truth is, despite how good it feels, only about 20% of acupuncture’s healing power happens while the needles are in. About 80% of the healing effect occurs in the 24 hours following the treatment.
To sustain the healing effect, you must avoid three things 24 hours after the needles come out:
Cold is the #1 arch enemy in Chinese Medicine:
All of these cold things can all counteract the benefits of acupuncture by contracting the flow of qi and slowing down the healing process.
2. Alcohol and recreational drugs
After an acupuncture treatment, your body works hard to transfer the energetics of the needles into acute healing and homeostasis (balance). Alcohol is warming to the body, yet can significantly alter the 24 hour cycle of qi. Alcohol and recreational drugs disrupt the healing process (and in the case of getting drunk, can completely cancel out any treatment benefits).
Consuming alcohol or getting high after a treatment is effectively wasting your time and money.
Sex is considered an activity that promotes the free flow of qi. However, after an acupuncture treatment, sex can demand too much qi and inhibit healing. It is best to wait until the day after acupuncture to get your qi moving between the sheets.
So, now that you know what to avoid, what should you do during the 24 hours after an acupuncture treatment?
The best thing you can do is rest your body and relax your mind:
Allow the natural high to sink in for 24 hours while your body-mind-spirit take the time needed for healing.
I’ve always had “problem” skin. Red, painful cystic pustule acne plagued me until my late 20s. After years of anti-acne face washes, toners, topical antibiotics and astringent creams, I had it under control enough to hide my problem areas with just a little concealer.
When I was in my early 30’s, my acne changed from cystic to a plethora of small red papules on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. My dermatologist prescribed retinols and steroidal creams to reduce the inflammation. They worked a little, but my skin was still red, irritated, and bumpy. The texture of it made me very self-conscious as there’s no way to hide bumps with everyday makeup!
At the same time, in my early 30’s, I started waking up in the middle of the night like clockwork. It was always 1am when severe abdominal cramps roused me from sleep. Dripping with sweat, I would sit in the bathroom not pooping or passing gas, but just breathing and waiting for the pain to pass. The cramping would usually stop within 20 minutes.
After a few weeks, I made an appointment with my primary care physician. She ordered a CT scan of my pelvis, which revealed nothing. She recommended taking an osmotic laxative once a day to ensure the cramping wasn’t caused by constipation (full disclosure: it wasn't).
Flash forward another two years, and I was in my first year of graduate school for Chinese Medicine. I was receiving almost daily acupuncture treatments from my teachers and classmates. My chief complaint was chronic acne.
One of my teachers observed out loud in class that the redness and papules on my face provided a visual map of the Stomach meridian. That’s when a light bulb went on in my brain that illuminated everything… food was the cause of it!
I quickly purchased a copy of Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet and devoured it in one day. The next day, I purged all processed foods and gluten from our family’s kitchen and started the Paleo lifestyle. As Robb recommended, I ate Paleo for 30 days. A few amazing things happened:
If you’ve read this far, then it’s time to acknowledge the biggest mistake I made about my health...
My biggest mistake was not listening to my body, when it was very clearly telling what was wrong!
If I had listened, I would have saved myself years of unnecessary pain, sleepless nights, worry, stress, and embarrassment about my appearance. And money. I would have saved a LOT of money by not trying every acne treatment program I could find.
My so-called healthy vegetarian diet was making me sick. Really sick. I had completely ignored all of my body’s warning signs. Even worse, I hadn’t realized the root of the problem… gluten-intolerance. I had eaten gluten all of my life, so why was there suddenly a problem now?
But the truth was, there were signs all along, I just chose to ignore them or call them something else.
Like mistaking a face rash for acne.
Side note: If I eat gluten now (always by accident), I'll wake up in the middle of the night with those terrible abdominal cramps and wear a face rash for 3-5 days.
The biggest takeaway from my story is that the human body is smart. Smarter than we typically give it credit for. If something is wrong, physically or emotionally, it’s going to show up as what Western medicine calls a sign or symptom.
Be observant because the longer a sign or symptom is ignored, the louder(!) your body will demand your attention.
So, is your body trying to tell you something? Sometimes we all need an outside perspective to uncover the truth, the root of our health problems. Let’s work together to get to the root of solving your health mysteries.
A new shipment of Enlighten Herbal Elixir just arrived at Indigo!
This ultra high-grade Chinese medicinal herbal elixir is farm-direct to only 150 clinics in the US.
Tastes amazing and makes Qi flow smoothly, diminishing pain and stress!
Improves sleep too!
One package is enough for a month of daily sips.
Only 20 packages remain today, they are selling fast!
Order now by contacting Michelle!
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.