By Dr. Alexandra Cope
Illustration by Marta Pucci
This society, once colonized, was built around men’s needs by men. The wellness industry is consistently researching the next best exercise and diet, using studies mostly on men, discounting the unique femme monthly cycle.
If you are female bodied, or transitioning, you have an infradian rhythm. This is our macrocosm time keeper in relation to our circadian rhythm (our 24 hour time clock). Medicine and research has totally discounted our unique rhythm based on our menstrual cycles and sexual tendencies.
An infradian rhythm is not unique to femme-bodied humans, other mammals follow infradian rhythms for survival behavior such as migration, mating, shedding, and hibernation. Yet, the medical industrial complex has totally discounted hormonal shifts and patterns that occur during a woman’s menstrual cycle and treated women as if we have the same 24-hour hormonal clock as men. This can explain why we have had an explosion of applied treatments in the wellness industry on biohacking, yet women’s autoimmune and chronic disease illness is increasing rather than declining.
Biases in Medicine and Wellness Industry
I love to look at the macro and microcosms. One of our greatest stems of disease is the fact that we forget to relate to the moon, stars, sun, plants and the rest of the natural world. If you look back to wisdom medicine of native cultures that lived in relationship with nature, women and femme bodied folk were nourished during certain phases of their cycle.
It was never a showy chic and trendy thing to do, it just simply was. As women had their first moon or menses, their grandmothers and mothers would simply feed them certain foods that time of the month.
Know that medicine is extremely biased, and if you have experienced any hormone related health issues such as PMS, heavy periods, or PCOS-like symptoms, you are often dismissed and simply put on hormonal contraception instead of being listened to. I love reading Maya Dusenberry’s work when I believe that I am becoming too biased of a champion for women’s health.
How do I apply this Information?
We have five parts to our infradian rhythm, our menstrual cycle, the microcosm of the five seasons. This is because we women are an embodiment of Earth. As my clients begin to follow their unique infradian rhythm (in relation to the moon and their cycle), they not only find fitness and energy easier to obtain, they generally become pregnant within the first three months of trying to conceive.
Menstrual Phase/ Winter: rest, nourishing foods. Your metabolism is higher, but not at its peak. Gentle stretching, walks and yoga. Meditation, going within to hibernate as you let go of what is no longer serving you.
Follicular Phase/ Spring: Spring forward. Fertile grounds of new life, take with you what you want to birth, begin building projects. Your metabolism is slower and stress levels (cortisol) are not as high. Keep building to the ovulation, which when in sync with the moon is representative of the full moon. Your Cortisol is lower at this time, as well as your metabolism. As your Estrogen builds healthy follicules in your ovaries, it is a great time to eat healthy fats, yet consume less calories. At this time, you can also lift heavier, do more HIIT and run faster/further. As this is when you see more gains from your workouts. This is also when you see more gains for your personal projects. IE - meditate more to see with clarity what you are working for in life.
Ovulatory Phase/Flowering Summer: Whoa, go get 'em. Your metabolism is slower, you need less rest, and you can continue on with your fire. Work out harder, have your presentations and meetings scheduled. Note - if you are trying to get pregnant, you want to be having sex every other day for 5 days leading up to your ovulation. Having sperm waiting for the egg to drop is the best method. As the egg’s lifespan is 24 hours while sperm can live in the vaginal canal for five days.
Luteal Phase/Earth: Harvest the fruits of what you learned this month. Take what is serving you and preserve it to take down to the fertile void of menstruation or else this is during the implantation phase of a fertilized egg.
Luteal Phase/ Metal: second half of luteal phase. This is when you are realizing that something isn’t working. Rather it’s a nutrient deficiency and you’re exhausted or you have premenstrual rage and frustration because of hormone imbalances or unmet social/emotional needs. This is when you have your luteal list to put things off until your menstrual phase and what you want to bring into your daily habits for the next phase.
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DR. ALEXANDRA COPE
Boketto’s in-house Naturopath, Dr. Cope, is a trauma-trained physician with a professional background, including a 5 year Medical Degree and Naturopath License from The National University of Natural Medicine, 2 years of clinicals with an ENT Naturopath, 2 years of clinicals in Transgender Medicine, a homeopathic certification from the New England School of Homeopathy, as well as Food Sovereignty Training. Dr. Cope strives to inspire empowerment on all levels, focusing on womxn’s health, libido, fertility, and contraceptive options. She specializes in fasting, digestive health, microbiome restoration, and the fertility journey before and after motherhood. Her line Copesthetic Health Biphasic Collection was designed to help support hormone health.