Love your menstrual cycle

Veronica Tift advocates for women to love their menstrual cycle and explains how reflexology can ease the moody blues.

The menstrual cycle temper tantrum of 2022 will go down in our house as the big one. It was a day, like any other, except this day my kids used my yoga matt in their fort and while they had cleaned up, they had neglected to put my mat away. My Rottweiler had the audacity to casually walk on the matt, her nail nicking a little hole into my beautiful matt.

Well, this set me off and it spiralled, it was no longer about the tiny tear in my matt, it was about the kids not packing away, my husband for not fixing that thing, the expired tin of baked beans. Nothing was off limits.

My husband stood by and watch this scene unfold; 18 years together has given him extra special PMS sensors and he slowly picked up his keys and headed out the door.

Later that day when I got home, a new yoga matt was waiting in our room, I immediately burst into tears. The next day I started my period and my melt down suddenly made sense, PMS had struck again.

What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

PMS is a somatic (bodily or physical) and psychological (mental and emotional) collection of symptoms (hence my emotional meltdown) that occurs late in the post-ovulatory phase. This is usually a week or two before the start of menstruation, the luteal phase.

Signs and symptoms can include oedema, breast swelling or tenderness, abdominal distension, backache, joint pain, constipation, aggression, skin breakouts, food binges, fatigue, anxiety and irritability, mood swings, food cravings, headaches, sex drive changes and even clumsiness.

According to Christiane Northrup’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, the high consumption of certain dairy products, excessive caffeine consumption, rapidly elevated insulin levels, changing hormone levels, hormonal imbalance and the associated cellular inflammation, excessive body weight, a deficiency in the diet, lack of exercise, emotional stressors and unresolved trauma are all contributing factors that she has seen in her practice.

The reason there isn’t a one-time magic solution for PMS is because the causes are so varied from person to person. We can dive into the science of PMS, looking at the biological changes that happen in the body. However, it doesn’t give us the whole picture. Looking back, the days before my PMS emotional explosion, I can see how I had been neglecting myself and what my body was trying to communicate with me. Plus, I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

Creating balance 

Medication that balances hormones can help some women with PMS. There are also solutions for managing the emotional roller coaster that for some women can become extreme. Never ignore these symptoms and find a doctor or healthcare provider you trust and can communicate openly with about how you are feeling.

A nutrient-rich whole food diet can add in the balancing of insulin and glucagon, why is that important? Dr Katharine Dalton’s work on PMS treatment showed that poor-eating habits can cause PMS symptoms and that when blood glucose levels were stabilised, it not only helped with PMS, but also with fertility. This is because when your blood glucose levels zoom up and down chaotically, it can have an effect on your hormones and spark off sugar cravings, creating a vicious circle of bingeing habits and weight gain.

Stress has an effect on your menstrual cycle and PMS symptoms. Deep relaxation like meditation and breathwork have been shown to help reduce PMS within three months of regular practice.

Learning your cycle and loving it

We all have cycles, ebbing and flowing in our bodies and in nature, night and day, breathing in and out, our heartbeats. Being conscious of these cycles can help you better adapt to the changes they bring, seasonal or hormonal.

If you can find a way to welcome and appreciate your menstrual cycle, then the transition into phases like menopause could be much easier. When you start to use encouraging language around your cycle, positivity can be injected into these changes and make this inner guidance system part of your life, you can then start to heal both emotionally and hormonally.

See each phase as a gift

If you break down your menstrual cycle, you can see each phase as a gift. The luteal phase happens in the second part of your menstrual cycle. It begins around day 15 of a 28-day cycle and ends when you get your period. The luteal phase prepares your uterus for pregnancy by thickening your uterine lining.

 This phase is when you can use the opportunity to be in tune with your inner knowing and use this time to witness what is working and isn’t working in your life.

Studies have shown that women even experience more frequent and vivid dreams during this phase. So, you have access to parts of your unconscious during this time of the month and this can then aid in your ability to recognise and transform the more painful and difficult areas.

While you might feel more emotional in this stage of your cycle, I think that what you feel more emotional about is usually something that has more meaning in your life and this increased sensitivity can be a gift of insight. Taking a look at what you might need for full personal development.

According to American author, Louise L. Hay, emotionally you can heal your life. PMS is a result of emotionally allowing confusion to reign and giving power to outside influences or the rejection of the feminine process. Part of her new thought pattern affirmation is I am a powerful, dynamic woman! Yes, you should be saying this all the time to yourself and loving how your body functions, falling in love with its wonderful cycle.

Respect your body

How you feel about your body matters and the level of respect you pay to your menstrual cycle; honour your body’s needs. Things like rest, nutrition and replenishing when feeling PMS taking hold.

In my case, slowing down, taking a deep breath and making a cup of tea would have been a much wiser choice in that moment, possibly a good breakfast.

PMS is not just medical and is related to other areas of a woman’s life. If you are able to learn how to tune into the languages of your body, you can make decisions that are informed, listening to the wisdom of your body.


According to author Frankie Avalon Wolfe, PMS is one of the most studied uses of reflexology and the results have been positive. How does reflexology help for such a host of symptoms?

One way is the promotion of endorphin production that can relieve pain and can help with relaxation. Reflexology can help the hormones, encouraging them back into balance, and the swelling and bloating symptoms can be helped when working on the lymph system reflex. The reflexes that a reflexologist would work to aid in PMS would be the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes working on relaxing the whole pelvic area. Not only the reproduction reflexes are worked and looking at the body as the beautiful connected being it is, the solar plexus reflexes, relaxation techniques and the brain reflex are worked to aid the whole nervous system. The process of addressing the emotional and psychological stresses can directly result in biochemical changes to the body.

A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of reflexology on premenstrual syndrome was conducted; in the results, 6 to 10 sessions of reflexology could decrease the severity of PMS. Reflexology had a significant impact on the severity of PMS.

Reflexology could also significantly affect somatic and psychological symptoms arising from PMS. The study also concluded that with each session the efficiency of the reflexology also increased.

No more temper tantrums

I can report that there has not been another PMS tantrum as fierce as the one of 2022. However, I can honestly say that I haven’t been free from all symptoms and this was clear when my husband hysterically laughed at my mentioning that I thought my PMS wasn’t that bad this month. It’s all about balance and some months are better than others in the busyness of life.

However, paying attention to these moments always brings me back to the importance of taking the time to ask; what are my emotional needs right now and do some inner work. I encourage you to do the same, you might be very surprised at the answer.


Ruth Hull the complete guide to reflexology second edition Lotus publishing.

The complete idiots guide to Reflexology – Frankie Avalon Wolfe, Ph.D., Alpha books

Woman’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating physical and emotional health and healing – Christine Northrup M.D 5th edition Hay House

Natural solutions to Infertility, how to increase your chances of conceiving and preventing miscarriages – Marilyn Glenville PhD published in the UK in 2000 by Judy Piakus (Publishers) limited

You can heal your life – Louise L. Hay – Hay House Inc

Veronica Tift is a therapeutic reflexologist, registered with the AHPCSA, based in Benoni. She continues to grow her knowledge through attending international and local courses on various subjects related to reflexology. Veronica has a special interest in working with couples struggling with infertility.


Veronica Tift is a therapeutic reflexologist, registered with the AHPCSA, based in Benoni. She continues to grow her knowledge through attending international and local courses on various subjects related to reflexology. Veronica has a special interest in working with couples struggling with infertility.

Header image by Adobe Stock