linedanceWhen I was in my early years of college, I went to my first lesbian bar with a few lesbian friends. It didn’t seem much different from any other bar I’d been in. But, then the music started and a whole bunch of women rushed to the dance floor where they arranged themselves in neat rows and all followed the same exact dance moves, kicking up their heels and spinning and bobbing all in sync with one another. I was amazed and exclaimed, “Wow, lesbians are so organized when they dance!”

Later on, I discovered that what they were doing was something called “line dancing”–and evidently this was a type of dance step done by millions upon millions of people worldwide–not just lesbians–who love country music. I just happened to see it for the first time in this lesbian bar because it was coincidentally also the first time I’d ever been in a bar that played country music.

I want you to think of this story when you’re reading my Hormonology Tips. Sometimes, what you read here may sound new or unusual. And, because of that, you may be tempted to chalk it up to something that may belong in a blog about hormones and menstrual cycles–but, perhaps, may be a little too different for you to try or you assume not all people do it.

However, you may have these thoughts just because this is the first place you’ve heard about the tip I’m sharing. In many cases, though, these tips are already being practiced by millions of people–not just women with a special interest in learning about their menstrual cycle.

For instance, I’ve reported on how applying a heating pad to your pelvic region can help reduce menstrual cramp pain. Multiple studies (including this onethis one and this one) show it works by relaxing spasming uterine muscles and short-circuiting pain signals to your brain. Millions of women have used these patches, yet many gals still seem to prefer popping a pill (which comes with side effects and risks, such as stomach upset, stomach lining damage and liver damage) to simply putting on a heat patch that can be found in any drugstore and grocery and on Amazon (like the Thermacare Heat Wraps for Menstrual Cramp Relief) and works for up to eight hours. You can also find reusable heat wraps that warm up in the microwave, however, keep in mind the heat doesn’t last as long as ThermaCare wraps and they can be less convenient to use because they’re not as slim and they don’t have sticky pads that attach to your body.

I’ve also written about the many ways inhaling lavender can help you with cycle-related woes, such as reversing a bad premenstrual mood, reducing stress and anxiety, easing the pain of a migraine, and helping you get better sleep. This technique may sound new to you, but entire cultures have relied on this kind of aromatherapy for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Modern scientists are just now discovering why it’s so effective–and it comes down to certain compounds in essential oils (such as linalyl acetate and linalool) that make their way into your blood and brain when their scent is inhaled. Note: Whether you sniff lavender essential oil, a sachet or potpourri, make sure you’re breathing in real lavender–not a room spray or perfume with a chemical lavender smell-alike. That’s because genuine lavender contains the compounds that trigger changes in your brain and body that artificial lavender doesn’t have.

And, I’ve shared studies (such as this, this and this) about how regular exercise and practicing yoga can help reduce premenstrual moodiness, the blues, irritability and aches. Of course, millions of folks already exercise to boost their health, for instance, to protect their heart, improve bone strength and reduce their risk of type-2 diabetes. And millions more practice yoga for its benefits, such as increased flexibility and less stress. But, you may not have realized these health-boosting activities also bring premenstrual relief.

So, the next time you read a Hormonology Tip that may seem new or unusual, try to avoid the type of mistaken assumption I made with line dancing–that it must be a type of dance only lesbians do simply because I first saw it in a lesbian bar.

In many cases, the cycle-related remedies you’re reading about here have been studied by teams of researchers and are already practiced by millions of women of all types–not just those with a passion for learning more about their menstrual cycle.

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[Photo: c-lemon]

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