The concept of a woman’s menstrual cycle aligning with the moon isn’t a particularly new one, in fact, it’s been around for as long as women have walked the Earth. And before you take an internal eye roll and mutter something along the lines of ‘hippy’ and ‘woo-woo’ just take a moment to riddle me this: if the moon and our menstrual cycles are indeed two disparate notions then how about their etymology? The words menstruation and menses were derived from the Latin mensis (month) which then relates to the Greek mene (moon) and then, finally, the English words month and moon. It’s not looking so unlikely now, right? In fact it could be something that’s been written on Mother Nature’s cards since day one.
Throw in the fact that our menstrual cycle has a tendency to last about 28 days, which is close to the length of the 29.5 day lunar phase, as well as the science that shows that the moon has the power to control our tides, our seasons and, some may say, our minds then it wouldn’t be too impossible to suggest that it could quite easily affect our bodies.
“I have clients who are now in sync with the moon – menstruating on the new moon and ovulating on the full moon.” Kate Callaghan, holistic nutritionist.
While the concept of menstruating in line with the lunar cycle may be an old one the term to describe it, lunaception, wasn’t derived until the late 60s when, the writer, Louise Lacey, was looking for a way to regulate her menstrual cycle after embracing that new frontier in 60s contraception – the Pill. When she stopped taking the Pill Lacey noticed her cycle became irregular and so began to investigate. She spotted a newspaper article reporting that John Rock, an obstetrician who had worked on the creation of the Pill, had found that women’s menstrual cycles regulated themselves by sleeping in complete darkness from days 1-13 with a night-light (mimicking the moon’s light) on days 14-17 then returning to sleeping in complete darkness until their period began. Lacey followed this sleeping pattern and found that her cycle did, in fact regulate, in turn making it easier to monitor and manage her fertility. She wrote the book Lunaception: A Feminine Odyssey into Fertility and Contraception to pass on the concept to others.
Someone who has used lunaception much more recently than the 60s is Kate Callaghan, a holistic nutritionist who runs a popular website as well as being a nutrition expert for Sarah Wilson’s popular I Quit Sugar program. Kate tried lunaception as part of a fertility and hormonal overhaul after struggling with infertility.
Kate first read about lunaception in Francesca Naish’s book Natural Fertility. “I had hypothalamic amenorrhea and my period was missing in action due to too much exercise, not eating enough and stressing too much,” she says. “We wanted to have a baby and so not only did I need to get my period back, ideally, I needed it to be regular so I could have the best chance at conception, which was where lunaception came in.”
While skeptical at first Kate figured she had nothing to lose and started to follow the lunaception cycle of sleeping in total darkness and then allowing a little light in for the days surrounding the full moon. “I just thought that the worst thing that would happen would be absolutely nothing,” she says. However, after four months her period had returned, after eight it had regulated and four months after her cycle became stable she discovered she was pregnant. “It was so helpful for me and it guided me into knowing when I was ovulating,” she says. “I also believe I conceived on a full moon, which is pretty awesome.”
Giving luncaception a try is something Kate now recommends to all her clients. “I have clients who are now in sync with the moon – menstruating on the new moon and ovulating on the full moon,” she says. “I would recommend it to any women who are looking for help regulating their cycle and conceiving, after all, what is there to lose?”
How to use lunaception:
1. Get familiar with the moon’s cycle by using an App or chart.
2. Sleep in complete darkness from day 1 of your cycle until day 13.
3. Days 14–16 let a little light in by opening your curtains or by sleeping with a low nightlight.
Written By Nikki Stefanoff.