The first time the words “flow” and “instinctive” landed in my ear, I was “working” on my computer in a café (while listening candidly the conversation at the table next to me) and I said to myself ,“What is this hippie thing, typical greeny with esoteric inclination?”
Then I heard things like: holding blood, no need to wear protection and uterine contraction. It took no time for me to sweep away my prejudices and spark my curiosity.
True to myself, like a Chinese buffet, you probably have an eclectic feast of questions that spreads in your mind like: What does it eat in winter? Why would a woman swallow something like that? How does it work? Is this the miracle recipe? And, when do I start?
To satisfy your gluttony of knowledge, here are the answers to all these questions that are burning your ears.
WHAT DOES IT EAT IN THE WINTER, THE INSTINCTIVE FLOW?
The instinctive flow is a way of experiencing menstruation without hygiene protection, simply by listening to your body. It’s about retaining your menstrual flow and releasing it in the toilet at very specific times.
* Note: Not to be confused with “free bleeding” which consists of letting your menstrual blood flow without protection throughout the cycle.
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
The exact origin is a tad mysterious. Although it is suspected that women were already using this technique in medieval times, the movement officially started in the United States, but it truly took flight in France in 2015. . Thanks to the www, the word has quickly gone from menstruator to menstruator throughout the world in several forms: video, YouTube, blogs and forums.
WHY PRACTICE FREE INSTINCTIVE FLOW?
There are a number of reasons why women practice this method.
Instinctive flow allows you to:
- Menstruate without leaving an environmental impact
- Have an alternative if can’t tolerate tampons or pads due to pain and sensitivity
- Accommodate those who experience heavy flowswhereregular protectionisn’t enough
- Cope with irregular menstruation: listening to your cycle avoids surprises!
- Shorten your cycle as the flow occurs in a more condensed way rather than extending over several days
- Avoid putting your health at risk, unlike other methods like using tampons and continuously taking the pill
- Minimize menstrual pain
- Be more connected with your body and live in harmony with it
- Free yourself from a consumer good and rely on your own skills
- Save money ondisposable pads, the menstrual cup, washable pads, etc.
How does it work?
Several times during our menstrual cycle, the uterus contracts so that the endometrium(aka menstrual blood can detach). Contrary to what we might believe, it is not a constant flow throughout the week.
The idea behind this method is to stay attentive to our body and to feel the contractions because they signal that the body is ready to evacuate the menstrual fluid. Once the blood has finished flowing, the perineum contracts to hold the blood until the next contraction.
HOW CAN WE TRAIN OUR BODY?
Step 1: Create a safe environment!
For your first attempt, spend some quite time at home, close to a bathroom, because once you feel your uterus contract you won’t be able to retain the tsunami for an extended period of time.
(Basically, let go: he decides when it happens, much like the contractions of a childbirth!)
Step 2: Practice light activities and listen to your body.
Throughout this first day, be attentive to your feelings, and practice gentle and simple activities such as reading, yoga or light household chores that don’t require your full attention, because accordingto midwife Gabrielle Dallaire, the contractions are very subtle.
Step 3: Go “commando”!
During training, it will be important not to wear sanitary pads or underwear. It’s even better to wear loose, old pants so that the body understands that you’re not wearing any protection. This plays an essential role mentally and physiologically and tends to retain blood.
The challenge, you will see, is to learn to trust your body and its abilities.
Step 4: Contract that perineum that you can’t see!
When your period’s first flow is complete, contract your perineum to retain your flow until you feel the next uterine contraction.
* Perineum (a.k.a. pelvic floor) for Dummies: grouping of muscles/tissues/ligaments that cover the region of the pelvis: between the pubic bone and coccyx. Its role is to support organs, to contract the vagina and to ensure the continence of fluids (and solids).
Here is an exercise to reinforce this one: Contract the perineum for 5 seconds/pause 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and do the series 3 times. The perineum is contracted in the same way as when you are not urinating.
Step 5: Be patient!
Rome wasn’t built in a day! Allow yourself several cycles to master the technique.
Step 6: Mme L’Ovary will be there for leaks if you practice outside your home!
When you are well trained, you can use the Mme L’Ovary washable menstrual panties, in case of light and less light leaks.
IS FREE INSTINCTIVE FLOW A MIRACLE RECIPE?
No, because nothing is perfect. First of all, you may experience slight leaks. In addition, having access to toilets at all times can be difficult to orchestrate for some. Finally, it is very difficult (if not impossible) for women who have just given birth to practice this technique.
IS THERE A HEALTH HAZARD?
La Dre Obstetrician-gynecologist Laurence Simard-Émond has ruled: this practice is in no way dangerous to health! The blood retained in the vagina when practicing instinctive flow is not abundant enough and does not stagnate long enough to cause a risk, with the exception of women who have vaginal lesions.
I DON’T BELIEVE IT, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!
False! We all thought it unlikely that Trump would be elected President and yet … a beautiful open-minded lesson from a man who closed his own. Well! To all the vagina-sceptics, know that thousands of women around the world practice this technique and have shared it for many years!
Despite the challenge that free instinctive flow represents, when mastered, the benefits to your health, your wallet and the environment are many!
WHEN DO I START?
As soon as possible! You have in hand all the ingredients you need to begin this ultra-sensorial journey inside your body that will create a large degree of freedom in your life!