Saeng-Fah Graham leads De Lune's community education initiatives. She is a Menstrual Doula with a passion for empowering humans through knowledge of their menstrual cycles.
Bri Braggs is the founder of Fertile Alchemy, who's mission is to offer products and content which are carefully curated with the intent of inspiring a new narrative around fertility and women’s health.
SF: Bri, you have trained as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, what drew you to hone in on fertility, and thus menstrual cycles in your work?
BB: Just months after I got married I began studying to become a Holistic Health Coach and family planning became a big theme in my life. I researched preconception planning and at the time there just wasn’t much out there. I decided to share what I was leaning and how I was applying it to my life and everything just bloomed from there.
SF: You approach fertility through pre-emptive care of the whole body. From skincare routines, supplement support and recipes to syncing special baths with ones cycles. Could you break down for us, why this method supports our bodies so well?
BB: Women are cyclical beings, we operate on a 28 day cycle (on average) and within that cycle there are four phases we experience. When we make lifestyle choices (i.e. food, exercise, work, social interactions) based on the phase we are currently in, it not only supports our hormonal balance but also allows use to live a more harmonious and balanced life.
For example during menstruation - heavy weight lifting, intense cardio, and a diet full of fatty fried foods will likely cause some discomfort and energetic drain. Instead if you slow down, do some restorative yoga, eat some soup, and rest - your body will thank you for it.
SF: Even if someone doesn’t want to get pregnant, is it important to consider lifestyle choices that are geared around fertility for sexual system health?
BB: Absolutely! Even if you never want children, your fertility is still incredibly important. Fertility is often an indication of a healthy body (not to say if you’re struggling with infertility you aren’t healthy) but a healthy cycle and balanced hormones should be the goal for every menstruating woman.
SF: What is the most common period complaint that you see shifted with your clients?
BB: Cramping is a big one. Every single client has told me they didn’t know they could have a cramp free period but it is totally possible.
SF: Food plays a huge part in your healing practice, could you share with us the top three food practices that support the reproductive system?
BB: Of course.
- Eat a nutrient dense diet.
- Avoid raw and cold foods especially during menstruation.
- Eat a cycle-synced diet.
SF: Smell is also a big part of your work, how does scent and breath support the body for fertility and reproductive health?
BB: When you inhale for example an essential oil, tiny molecules attach to the little hairs in your nose called Cilia. They are then absorbed into the mucus lining of your nose which triggers cells to send a message to your brains "smell center" known as the Olfactory bulb.
From there, your smell center can perceive the aroma and transmit a code (which is determined by a particular micro-region of your smell center) to your limbic system which is connected to the parts of your brain that control blood pressure, heart rate, memory, breathing, hormonal balance, and stress levels.
Breath is life. Most of us are not breathing deeply nearly enough. The respiratory system is the only system of the autonomic nervous system (which regulates our stress response) that we can actually consciously control. This means that through our breath, we can help our body regulate its response to stress. Managing cortisol levels and keeping your body in rest and digest allows for optimal body function and fertility.
SF: You draw upon Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic concepts as well as Western biomedical models to offer your network support. What’s your favorite part of having the scope of different medical systems?
BB: I think it’s really important to combine what works for you and apply it to your life. A little of this, a bit of that. Whatever works for you. When it comes to fertility and reproductive health, I draw from the expertise of all of my colleagues/friends and I love to hear the differences and similarities.
SF: What is the future for Fertile Alchemy?
BB: In the immediate future I am taking the process I’ve used to help my clients and myself, and getting it in the hands of as many women as possible. I think the best way to do that is to finally sit down and write the highly requested book. Fertile Alchemy. will also be launching some new products next year, and will be available in more stores. As far as further in the future - a brick & mortar store, is definitely in our future and it’s probably closer than I think.
SF: What are your thoughts on the #periodpositive movement happening right now, and what does period positivity really mean to you?
BB: I absolutely LOVE it and I think it’s about time. Period positivity to me is having a healthy relationship with menstruation. Understanding that it’s not gross or nasty, but instead a pretty cool thing when you think about it scientifically and spiritually and there is so much positivity in that.
Period Positivity also means not having to pay a luxury tax for tampons or pads, and I’m glad to see some states and cities are finally recognizing that.
SF: What is one way that those who don’t menstruate can support those who do?
BB: I think awareness is so powerful. Being aware of the issues that people who menstruate often face and not being ashamed to speak up about them. I think we will see a big change in how society views menstruation when people, especially men take the time to educate themselves on what’s actually happening.