Free-bleeding. Ever heard of this? It’s a whole new way for most people. I know I certainly didn’t begin my menstrual journey in this way and sometimes I still feel sad about that.
I recently wrote a few posts about the menstrual cycle and I felt like I had to follow up with free-bleeding. I’m going to give a peak into my journey, illuminate the purpose & gifts of this practice, and give you a few resources if you want to look into it.
My journey started with standard bleached pads and tampons, for years. Once I learned about materials / quality and impact on the vaginal tissue (a very receptive space in the body), I felt really sad for my body and the quality of material that had been there every month for years.
How tampons impact our body
During my pelvic floor training with Tami Kent, we touched on how tampons produce an inflammatory response in the tissue each time they are used. I couldn’t even try to count the amount of tampons I’ve used, but I know that was a lot of inflammation and again, I felt sad and confused. I know that this is political, advertising and the amount of money companies make off women’s bodily needs is just insane, but that’s not what this post is about.
Alternative options for your menstrual cycle
Years later, I started to look into alternative way to manage my bleeding time. My first look outside of tampons / regular pads was the menstrual cup. There are many versions available now. This did really well for me for years. I felt much better about the material (even though it was rubber and now I’m not a fan), I knew I wasn’t producing the same kind response in my tissue, and I could feel a difference in what it actually felt like to bleed instead of “plugging” it.
Eventually, my cervix told me that it was not right to have a cup pressed up against this space while I was supposed to be releasing everything out. It was really uncomfortable for me to remove and the brand of the cup didn’t mention that if you tug on the cup without removing the suction, it can actually be pretty challenging for the cervix to feel that. Again, this made a lot of sense to me. It felt like pressure. It was uncomfortable. It felt crampy.
I’d heard about sea sponges but felt concerned about leaking. I had an awkward period of time where I was using homemade pads but they shifted positions easily, were hard to keep in place, and I ended up leaking onto clothes a few times. That’s when I found out about period underwear and my relationship to this bleed time got completely flipped upside down!
That was years ago and honestly I cannot imagine going back to having ANYthing up in my body while I am in this natural release phase. In fact, I realized the other day that it’s been years since anything besides a human body or a stone has been inside of me. No cups. No tampons. No nothing except human flesh and something that comes from the earth. I know that’s a little extreme, that’s just my way, I know that there are a lot of considerations that come in here when it comes to how to take care of our bleeding time so I have no judgment. My hope is to give you permission about exploring this for yourself.
Free-bleeding is the practice of simply letting the blood come out in its own natural way.
Onto underwear. Onto the earth (can be challenging to orchestrate but is a powerful experience in itself). Into plants (yes, houseplants LOVE menstrual blood! Try it, it’s great medicine for them). Into water. Into the toilet.
Free-bleeding is a different experience than the plug method.
And, it’s really healthy for the vaginal canal. Menstrual blood is packed with the nutrients that is necessary to make life. Letting that blood wash through the vaginal canal is a powerful healing tool that is available to us each month!
Even if free-bleeding is not right for you all the time (like if you want to go swimming, or have a particularly long day where you can’t afford to change your underwear mid-day, or you want to wear a certain outfit that can’t accommodate), I want to encourage you to practice free-bleeding when you can and bring curiosity. Perhaps at night and in the morning when you first wake before the day gets going. Perhaps one day when you’re at home all day. At this point, I find menstrual blood beautiful and it always makes me feel awe. Every single time.
Really, menstruation time is a time of meditation and deep internal states. I try to take a lot of time off for my bleeding time (I go into this in my other blog post on the cycle: https://yourinnerpower.org/
Thinxx Underwear for Free-Bleeding
What I personally do now is I have two sets of the Thinxx underwear (so I know I have enough and don’t have to do emergency laundry). If you have fibroids I know it can be challenging for the body to sit on blood for long periods of time, so you may want to consider how to work with that. Now that it’s been years, I can feel when my body really needs to release the blood and I just make sure I have access to a toilet every hour or so on the heavier bleeding days.
Questions? Need help? Write to me!
With love, Alicia