Categories for Period Empowerment

Herstory of Period Practices: Past and Present

We’ve been bleeding for as long as we’ve been in these human bodies. This much we know. But how has the natural process of menstruation been taken care of or viewed throughout the ages?

 

Between menstrual cups, tampons, pads, and period panties, we’ve got plenty of options these days. But what did perioding people do before industrialization and online shopping?

 

A good thing to remember when reading through this, is that most of our historical information has been recorded and passed down through men. So while we may be able to get an idea of what sort of practices were employed, it still may not be totally reflective of the women at that time. 

 

Also worth mentioning, for many women throughout time they would have many babies back to back from their teen years on. This means their cycle would be mostly suppressed for much of their fertile years.

 

Given that, it’s fun to wonder what sort of resourceful, radical, or downright cruel things have we done throughout herstory to maintain our feminine hygiene and honor our cycles. Let’s take a peek! 

 

Starting in ancient Egypt, it seems that menstruation was revered much more than in many other places throughout time. Period blood was seen as a tool to use in sorcery. That means that people would utilize it for casting spells, this included drinking it at times. This is also the first place we see something that remotely resembles a tampon. These original tampons were made from papyrus, and soaked in the Nile to soften before insertion. 

 

Onto the next tampon invention…ancient Greece. Supposedly they used pieces of wood wrapped in lint. Youch, did anyone else clench after reading this one? It’s also said that the Greeks utilized period blood for gardening. Mixing it with wine and sprinkling it on their crops to increase fertility…of the crops that is. Some people *cough* us here *cough* still do this. Check out our blog on Moon Time Magic: Making Use of Your Menses https://www.mahinacup.com/moon-time-magic-making-use-of-your-menses/ to hear our take on watering your plant babies with your period.

 

Yet another mention of tampons in herstory, was Roman women making wool tampons to use during their moon time. 

 

There’s the use of the term “on the rag”, which comes from, you guessed it- the use of rags. With modern laundry machines and an abundance of fabric, this seems pretty practical. However in the Victorian times which this phrase references, it was not always that straightforward. The amount of fabric available and resources with which to clean said rags, could be indicative of social status. In times when the human body was shushed, and normal functions and desires were condemned, many were not able to simply hang their rags up to dry. Makes you sure grateful for the freedom we have to even be discussing our periods, let alone have access to feminine hygiene products.

 

The first american patent for menstrual products was in 1854- a belt with steel springs to hold a pad. I’m getting some interesting visuals here.

 

During World War I, French nurses cleverly realized that the cellucotton they were using for bandages could also be used as pads. If it could stop a bullet wound from bleeding, it could hold their period blood.

 

The first modern tampon was invented in 1929…by a dude. In 1929 Dr Earle Haas developed a plug of cotton using two cardboard tubes as the insertion “applicator”. He patented his ‘catamenal device’, which he trademarked Tampax. We see where this is heading. Then in 1969 stayfree strip technology for pads became accessible, now we’re getting somewhere.

 

How about religion? Even these days, I have heard of and been to Hindu temples in Indonesia and Buddhist ones in China where women are not allowed in during their periods, or outright not at all- another conversation, for another day.

 

Today, Nepal is under scrutiny for the practice of Chhaupadi. Where women and girls are exiled to huts during menstruation. These huts are often cow sheds, and other places in unsanitary conditions. In other places, women are forced to sleep unprotected in caves or jungles. This has proven fatal in some cases, causing an uproar from human rights groups.

 

In the Torah, the time of Niddah, aka menstruation, is yet again- considered a time of impurity. Orthodox rules prohibit sexual intercourse, or any lustful or affectionate behavior during this time. Along with other practices contributing to the ideas of impurity.

 

The deeper aspect of keeping women out of certain places during times of menstruation, is the deep shame that’s fostered. Being forced out during their times of sacred portals, leads to programming of being impure and less than. Deeply embedded into the consciousness of the people. Taking it much further than sneakily hiding a tampon in your sleeve before heading to your high school bathroom to change it.

 

How can we have respect and understanding for these beautiful traditions, while doing the same for the natural processes of our bodies?

 

Many of the options we have today are still medieval in the sense that they are toxic for our bodies. Prioritizing concealing your period, versus the health and the safety of the product and the people that use it. This is one of the motivations behind Mahina Cup. 

 

It’s easy to take it for granted that most of use are able to have quality, safe period products within a matter of hours or days simply with the click of a button. Or that we can simply walk to the corner store, or take a quick drive to the grocery store and have the supplies we need. It’s also worth mentioning, that if we do happen to bleed through, we have a closet full of clothes, stain remover, and laundry machines. 

 

This is not the reality for many inhabitants of the world today. Many women, and people with uteruses do not have access to menstrual hygiene products, or drawers full of extra clothes to change into when they inevitably bleed into their clothes. Not to mention clean water with which to clean their menstrual products. Many are forced to miss large amounts of work and school, every time they get their period.

 

This is the driving force behind the Global Sisterhood Project. Our project to help send Mahina Menstrual Cups to menstruating people in need, all over the world. Feminine hygiene should be a basic human right, and we are so proud to be making a difference in this, one cup at a time. 

Moon Time Magic: Making Use of Your Menses

Part of the process of reclaiming our femininity, is honoring and respecting all parts of ourselves. In a culture where menstruation has been hidden, demonized, and shamed, it as an act of revolution to change your relationship with your period.

 

One of the many benefits of using a menstrual cup, is that dissolves the disconnection that comes with many conventional feminine hygiene products. Instead of hastily taking out your tampon, or ripping your pad out and burying it in the trash, you connect with the beauty of your body.

 

Cleaning and emptying your Mahina Cup can become not only a necessary part of your period, but a ritual to embrace. An incredible way to create these rituals, is to look beyond the toilet for emptying your cup. Understanding that the sacred fluid that seeps from your body during your cycle is also high in proteins, phosphate, iron, calcium, and more! 

 

So instead of immediately disposing of your mystical menses, consider some of these as a way to utilize the magic your body creates. 

 

Feeling inspired? Go ahead and get in there! This your body, it’s nothing to be scared of. Embrace the beauty that is you and your menstruation. 

 

Get Artsy With It:

 

Embrace your artistic nature and utilize the medium that nature gave you, by using your period blood during your next art session. 

 

Break out the Canvas, or your favorite (durable) multi-medium sketchbook, and let it flow! Use your hands for some finger painting action, designate a paint brush for fine details, mix it with acrylic medium or other texturizers to create a variety of effects. Decorate a mandala-rific coloring book, make a self portrait, let them juices flow!

 

Here’s one that got me jazzed at the mere thought of it…body painting! Adorn and anoint your vessel with your own self made body paint. Create intricate circles, sacred symbols, and beautiful blessings on your being. Follow up with a nakey dance party. Get wild in the markings of your own moon. 

 

Write on:

 

On the topic of artistic expression, use your blood as a medium to let your heart pour out through words. Use a fine tipped paintbrush to create poetry with your own ink. Share your manifestations, let it all come to the surface, and speak it into existence with your own magic paintbrush. Your words may bleed together (pun intended tehehe), but the intention is what matters. Release yourself from your self imposed restrictions, and let your expression roar.

 

Beauty and Bathing:

 

With such a high nutritional content, your moon is the perfect substance to use in your home spa time. Lovingly apply to your face for a potently packed mask. Lavish your body in your loving flow by massaging your menses into your body with a mix of coconut oil. Dump into your bathtime to create a mystical, moon experience. There are few things more powerful than floating in the magic that your own body created (this may require some extra clean up).  

 

For other home spa tips, check out our blog post on DIY Spa Tips and Tricks.

 

Nourish Your Garden:

 

A trend that’s been floating around the internet for a while, is the practice of using your menses to feed your plants. Don’t just pass this one off as another internet trend! Your potent power is concentrated in your moon, use it to nourish your plant babies. This practice allows you to connect deeper with our foliaged friends. Giving back to them, after all they do for us in this symbiotic cycle of reciprocity. No need to spend money on expensive plant food, use what your mama gave you and give it back to Mama Earth!

 

Sensual Spells:

 

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re into the magical. The mystical. Things that may be considered a little taboo- they work to fuel you. 

 

Using your moon as part of your ceremonies and spells is a way to pay reverence to the magic of your body, and use it to create more magic in your life. 

 

Set up your candles, incense, crystals, Tarot Cards, pull out all the stops. Pour your moon juice into a glowing glass, place it on your altar, and move through your normal rituals or whatever is calling to you. 

 

Red-y?

 

Take these recommendations one at a time, or all at once (supplies permitting). Pay honor to your period. To the amazing creation that is the female body, and all that comes out and through it!

 

Mess Free Menstruation: Cleaning your Cup in a Public Bathroom

Menstrual cups have endless benefits. From saving money, to cutting back on waste, to allowing more freedom during your period, and minimizing leakage. 

 

But with new practices, comes new questions. Especially when said practices revolve around the health of your yoni. 

 

One of the most common questions I get about menstrual cups is “How do I clean it when I’m out and about?”.

 

The thought of having to clean a menstrual cup in public, is enough to make many people blush. But there’s no need to stress. Cleaning your menstrual cup is as easy to clean at home, as it is at the bathroom of your local Yoga studio.

 

Mahina Cups are designed to last up to 12 hours without needing to be cleaned out. Which means you can run all your errands, go for a hike, and get brunch, without having to worry.

 

Try to clean your cup before leaving home. But if you do find yourself needing to clean your cup while on the go, there’s no need to be intimidated. Cleaning your Mahina Cup can be done in 5 easy steps.

 

  1. Start off with clean, sanitized hands. 
  2. Pour the contents of your cup into the toilet. 
  3. Wipe your cup with toilet paper to clean off excess menses. If you choose to wipe your cup with wet wipes, make sure they won’t irritate your delicate vaginal skin.
  4. Rinse off residual period blood with water. If you want to avoid using the sink, you can use simply use the water in your reusable bottle to rinse it in the stall. No one will suspect a thing.
  5. Make sure there are no pieces of toilet paper stuck to your cup, then simply reinsert. Voilá!

 

If you don’t have access to clean water, do what you can to wipe your cup down as much as possible. Then as soon as you get a chance, make sure to clean thoroughly with cool water (hot water may stain the cup).

 

Avoid using soap to clean, as it can throw off the delicate balance of your vagina’s pH levels.

 

All clean!

 

If someone does see you cleaning your Mahina Cup, awesome! Chances are, the other people in that bathroom currently menstruate, or did at one point in their lives. Periods are nothing to be ashamed of, they are to be celebrated.

 

This gives you a chance to strike up a conversation. Talk to your sink buddy about how using a Mahina Cup has simplified your period, and squash any concerns about making the switch. Bonus points for converting people to Mahina Cups, and even more if you make a new friend!

 

Like anything new, navigating using your menstrual cup takes practice. But before you know it, you’ll be a Mahina Cup pro. Telling all your friends just how easy they are to use.

 

Happy Menstruating!

 

8 Ways To Prevent A Leaky Menstrual Cup

Our goal is for you to have an epic experience with Mahina Menstrual Cup. We desire for you to have confidence to do all that you love, even during your period. We know what it’s like to feel frantic about stains and leaks. We also know what it’s like to wear Mahina Cup properly and period like a bad-ass ninja!

 

So here is the 8 most common reasons for a leaky menstrual cup and how to fix it.

1.Correct Cup Size

Mahina Menstrual Cup comes in 3 sizes. Our New Moon, size 0, is best for your first 10 years of bleeding (teens to mid-20s), light to medium flow and if you’re a virgin. Our Full Moon, size 1, is great for a sexually active sister who has a medium flow, has not given birth or has done vaginal toning exercises post childbirth. If you are having trouble with a small size getting the proper suction, thus leaking, it may mean that you need to go up a size. All Mahina Menstrual Cups have a soft, luxury silicone that will all offer you the same superior comfort once inside. Our Super Moon, size 2,  is best for a heavy bleeder or mama who has given birth vaginally. Journey here for a detailed size guide

 

2. Rotate after Insertion

This is the key to getting the confident protection we all seek and enjoy. After inserting your Mahina Menstrual Cup, with your thumb and first finger at the base of your cup gently twist downward. This will allow Mahina Cup to suction into your vaginal canal. You may also want to trace the rim of your cup with your first finger to be sure it opened fully. By taking the extra moment and using this 2 check guide, you will ensure your Mahina Menstrual Cup is situated snuggly in your vaginal canal, ready to do her job like a boss.

 

3. Empty Frequently

If you are having a heavy bleeding cycle and your Mahina Menstrual Cup is leaking due to an overflow, then you simply need to empty it more frequently until your blood flow lightens. After consistent use, you will notice that on certain days you can go longer, up to 12 hours, between changes and on other days it may need to be emptied every 3-4 hours.

 

4. Clean Air Holes

It’s important for the effectiveness of your Mahina Menstrual Cup that all the air holes are cleaned thoroughly. This will help your cup create the suction it needs to work optimally. Be sure to give your Mahina Cup a good rinse when emptying and check that the air holes are clear. Also, for a deep clean in-between cycles, it’s best to boil your cup for a few minutes.

 

5. Engage Pelvic Floor

If your vaginal muscles are week, it could prevent your Mahina Menstrual Cup from getting an effective suction. We recommend implementing a Jade Yoni Egg or Yoni Steam practice that will help to tighten, tone and lubricate your vaginal canal. There are other pelvic floor strengthening exercises you can do, and this is mainly relevant after vaginal childbirth.

 

6. Change When You Poo

If you are bearing down when you are pooping, you may be moving your Mahina Menstrual Cup down and out of place, or just loosening the suction. If this is happening, it may be best to change out your Mahina Cup when you go #2.

 

7. Locate your Cervix

Here’s an invitation to get to know your body more intimately. With clean hands, and your longest finger, reach up and back into the vaginal canal. Your cervix will either feel firm like the tip of your nose of soft and plush like your lips, depending on where you are in your cycle. Depending on the length and position of your cervix, you may need to alter  the way you position your Mahina Menstrual Cup. If your cervix is low, it’s important that your Mahina Cup sits below your cervix so it’s in an optimal position to catch blood flow. If your cervix is tilted, you may need to tilt your cup’s position upon insertion rather then insert it straight back.

 

8. Squat

It can be kind of awkward standing over the toilet trying to get your Mahina Menstrual Cup inserted properly. It’s best to step away from the toilet; the shower is the best place to practice. Get in a deep low squat and insert your Mahina Cup fully into your vaginal canal. When standing, it’s much harder to get your Mahina Cup all the way up and back into its optimal position. Squatting is a simple solution to ensuring your Mahina Cup is fully inside you.

 

Be Confident.
Be Bold.

I love you beautiful,

xx. Alila Grace Founder Mahina Menstrual Cup 

What’s Hiding in Your Tampons?

You deserve to know the truth, the whole truth. It’s important that we all make conscious consumer decisions to protect our bodies and our planet. I get it; it’s easy to lean into convenience and grab the easiest and cheapest thing you can for your monthly flow. So, that’s why it’s important you have all the facts to make the best decision possible. And so you don’t cheap out on your vagina, your grand central station!

 

During your period, your vaginal walls become extremely porous; this means open and vulnerable to everything going inside. The harmful chemicals laced in modern tampons travel directly to your bloodstream and affect your whole body.

 

Here’s the troublemakers to be on the lookout for:

 

1.Rayon

Rayon is a highly absorbent synthetic ingredient commonly associated with the increase of potential TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).

 

2.Dioxin

Dioxin is the chemical result of chlorine processing. It’s associated with disrupting your hormones and can negatively affect your immune system. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), “there is no safe level of exposure to dioxin.”

 

3.Chlorine

Chlorine is used in the bleaching processes and also leaves behind trace amounts of dioxins in the process.

 

4.BPA

Hormone-disrupting, BPA chemicals comes from producing plastic. It has been directly linked to cancer.

 

5.Fragrance

The umbrella term “fragrance” is not regulated or enforced to disclose all the chemicals that goes in it. Fragrance can be referred to as “chemical stew” and is very invasive to the body.

 

6.Non-Organic Cotton

Whether your tampons are organic or non-organic they will leave behind tiny micro fibers of cotton and potentially, chemicals that can lodge in the vaginal canal and cause a vast range of disruption. Genetically engineered cotton is laced with pesticides and herbicides which are harmful to the delicate body system.

 

Your rockstar alternative:

Mahina Menstrual Cup is 100% class IV health-grade silicone, sand and stone blasted together at high temperatures. That’s it. It’s completely pH neutral, non-porous, and safe for your body.

Give your vagina the best care she deserves, because you’re worth it. You will end up saving tons of cash, make a positive environmental impact and have 12 hours of freedom with zero worries of looming TSS. Win-win!

 

Cheers to a Healthier, Happier Period,

xx Alila Grace, Founder Mahina Cup

 

Period Hacks: 9 Ways to Ditch the Cramps and Liberate your Cycle

Your period can actually be a time of rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, deep internal wisdom and pleasure (yes I said PLEASURE)! You have the choice to spend your energy avoiding and resenting your period or to honor and celebrate it. The way we approach anything in life, is how it will be mirrored back to us.

Give yourself the greatest gift, enjoy your monthly flow!

1. Exercise – Get the blood and lymph moving and break a sweat! Don’t just lay in bed with your feet up taking pain pills and feeling sorry for yourself. Get your comfy pants on and get your body moving, dancing, expressing and undulating. I’m not suggesting you run a marathon, however exercise will keep your energy circulating and is the best way to alleviate cramping. Exercise also releases dopamine, the ‘feel good’ hormone.

2. Fresh Air – Take deep and long breaths in the the fresh outside air; the more nature time the better! Turn off your phone and go for a walk (barefoot if possible). Let your mind wander, find gratitude for the all the elements. Let your pace be slow and take time to smell the flowers. I also love to make nature altars out of leaves, flowers, acorns, ferns;whatever I can find.

3. Release Gravity – Go for a swim, in the ocean is the best if you have access, as it will also balance negative ions. A hot epsom salt bath with your favorite oils, candles and tunes is a perfect alternative.

4. Eat Light – This can feel somewhat counterintuitive, however it will make a huge difference in how you feel.  If you can avoid chocolate, caffeine and heavy foods (high fats and carbs) it will actually be a huge help in alleviating bloating, water retention, gas and excess bleeding. The cleaner your internal landscape is, the more easeful your shed will be.

5. Gratitude – I invite you to spend 5 minutes writing a list of ‘gratitude’ for your achy and amazing miracle of a uterus. Grab a pen and paper, set a timer and continue writing. Infusing gratitude into our life is one of the best things we can do, especially to alchemize everything back into Love.

6. Earth Belly Breathing – Go outside, find a sweet grassy or sandy spot and lay your belly on the earth. Imagine your whole body sinking into the embrace of the Mother Earth beneath you. Breath long and deep into your belly. Continue to invite your breath down, from your chest and into the center of your belly. On your inhales imagine yourself breathing in all the qualities you desire to embody: for example beauty, wisdom, grounded, powerful, radiant, creative, etc. On your exhales, release any stuck emotions or physical sensations, release any old patterns, lovers and habits. The Earth Mother is able to transmute and compost our waste into reusable, loving energy.

8. Yoni Steams – Regular Yoni Steaming can greatly affect your period. It can alter how much you bleed as well as relieve bloating, cramping, and PMS symptoms. Discover your Pain-free Period with the Ancient Art of Yoni Steaming.

9. Herbal Allies – Using plant medicine is a great way to assist in relieving painful period cramps. Ginger is my favorite herb for cramps. One study demonstrated that giving ginger capsules four times a day, starting 3 days before the period, works just as effectively as ibuprofen to treat menstrual pain. Cinnamon capsules taken 3 times a day for the first 3 days of your cycle can reduce pain, nausea and vomiting. This is also an excellent herb for heavy or excessive bleeding. Anti-spasmodic herbs are also amazing allies. These are herbs known for their ability to decrease muscle ‘spasms’ and alleviate pain. Crampbark is my go-to and is specifically known to help relieve uterine muscle spasms.

Download your complementary and detailed guide on 10 Ways to a Luxurious and Pain-free Period.

 

Enjoy your Liberation,

xx Alila Grace, Founder Mahina Menstrual Cup 

Pain-free Period with the Ancient Art of Yoni Steaming

 

Yoni or Vaginal Steaming is a practice that was regularly used by our ancestors across most cultures. Yoni steaming uses the power of herbs and vital heat to restore balance to our feminine cycles in all life stages. Sisters would gather monthly and sit over steamy herbal brews in song and prayer. Yoni steams have been revered for their almost magically successful and natural ability to heal a wide range of gynecological disturbances. UTI’s, bacterial infection, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis and retroverted uterus are all diagnoses that have been cured and expelled from implementing a regular yoni steam practice. Yoni steams are also well known for their ability to repair the vaginal canal and lift the uterus in the postpartum period, after childbirth.

Yoni steaming is like a whole body reset, comparable  to rebooting your computer. It can cleanse out your uterus and specific herbs are used as medicine to target specific intentions and alignments.

So how does the ancient art of yoni steaming affect your monthly flow?

There are generally 3 reasons you may experience a painful period.

 

  1. Low circulation
  2. Built up residue in the uterine wall
  3. Inflammation

 

Stabbing pain on your period is usually related to low blood circulation and a cold environment in the belly. Imagine putting room temperature water into a pot to boil. As it heats up, the water goes from still to bubbling. Yoni steaming has a similar effect on your circulation, the increase in warmth via the steam increases the circulation of the blood vessels and veins. When the circulation is healthy and moving, the uterus can relax and thus the pain eases and subsides. Steaming while blood is flowing is contraindicated, so it’s best to implement a routine before and after your divine flow. Another tip is to drink lots of warm tea and eat warming foods to keep the belly warm during your period.

If there are excess toxins or waste stuck to the uterine wall, the uterus can begin contracting, which is another form of cramping and pain during moontime. A yoni steam treatment will actually massage the uterine wall, loosening anything that’s hanging on. You will notice an immediate increase in mucus released followed by only healthy fertile cervical mucus. Or if there is old blood stuck to the walls, it will be released during the next period as brown/black blood and clots. The following period, with regular yoni steam treatments, will be pain free and rich in red fresh blood flow.

To assist with inflammation, you can use certain combinations of anti-inflammatory herbs that will soothe the uterus and assist in greater, long-term healing. My favorite herbal allies are yarrow, chamomile, plantain and comfrey.

Journey here to learn how to set up your own yoni steam spa and how this potent practice will change your life.  

 

Sister, you deserve a pain-free period.

We are honored to support you finding the freedom that is your birthright.

Reach out with any specific questions and for assistance creating your personal protocol.

In gratitude, Alila Rose Grace

Founder Mahina Menstrual Cup