Maanee Chrystal was born in Byron Bay, Australia. She studied holistic psychopedagogy and is currently a teacher of Tantra in Koh Phangan, Thailand. An interesting life, but nothing too out of the ordinary… until you read on her website that after drinking her menstrual blood for several years, her relationship with her body has improved infinitely and her menstrual pains have diminished.
She knows that her message is a little out there: no gynecologist or medical specialist has spoken in support of the practice. Chrystal is in no doubt however: knowing your own body is a vital part of becoming more connected with yourself, your emotions and even your ailments. After dedicating several years of her life to studying Tantra and Hatha Yoga in Thailand, India and Bali, the last thing the Australian expected was to end up drinking her own menstrual blood each month.
1. ‘My periods have greatly reduced. I used to bleed for seven days: now I only bleed for two or three’
I no longer use tampons or sanitary towels, I like to be in contact with my own blood
An excessive loss of blood during menstruation can provoke anaemia, especially when nutrition is deficient. Normally, we are encouraged to increase our consumption of iron-rich foods during our period. But Chrystal claims that an easier and more effective way of recovering the vitamins, iron and minerals lost during menstruation is to drink your menstrual blood
‘Since I began drinking my menstrual blood,’ Chrystal says, ‘my periods have greatly reduced. I used to bleed for seven days: now I only bleed for two or three, and I don’t suffer any period pain.’
The tantric school to which Maanee belongs – Agama – claims that the quantity of blood that the uterus loses is anti-natural and is due to the domesticated lifestyle of Western women. ‘Therefore, the more blood we lose, the weaker we are’. In fact, there are a number of studies that show that women who live in natural, stress-free environments generally bleed for just one day – and in very small amounts. ‘It’s not logical,’ Maanee says, ‘for us to menstruate for five to seven days.’
2. ‘We have to communicate to our body that we don’t want to lose this much blood’
I found it a bit unpleasant at first, so I just sucked it from my finger.
To begin to have a relationship with our period we must take it slowly, step by step. First, Chrystal stopped using tampons and switched to a Mooncup. ‘This tantric, spiritual practice helps women to conserve and enhance their own energy. The period is inherent to women, it’s part of our femininity, and the way we have of relating to it says a lot about us.’
‘I no longer use tampons or sanitary towels. I like to be in contact with my own blood. It’s something sacred. My objective is to persuade women of this.’ For Chrystal, ‘the use of tampons and sanitary towels is harmful to women. This is especially true of non-organic products, and those that contain chemicals or “odorfresh” systems that can provoke more blood loss, and cause infections and irritations due to cellulose.’
The Mooncup or menstrual cup however – as well as being cheaper and better for the environment – allows you to know exactly how much blood you are losing, see its colour, and analyse how your period is evolving each month. ‘We have to reeducate our body and make it understand that we don’t want to lose so much blood,’ she says.
If you’d like to get started in the practice of drinking your own menstruation, Maanee suggests you follow her lead by doing so step by step. ‘I found it a bit unpleasant at first, so I just sucked it from my finger. Gradually, I came to understand that it was part of me, and that I shouldn’t be disgusted by it. This is your first contact and communication with your period: when you learn to accept it as something sacred and natural.’
After that first contact, Maanee decided to use the blood in her menstrual cup to prepare smoothies, diluting the taste with all kinds of fruit and vegetables. The amount of blood you use in your smoothie is up to you.
3. ‘When we eat red meat, we’re also consuming animal blood, so why shouldn’t we consume our own?’
The more blood we lose, the weaker we become
‘I drink smoothies with my own menstrual blood. When we eat red meat we are consuming animal blood, so why shouldn’t we consume our own?’ Now that Maanee is used to her period, she likes to drink the blood straight, without mixing it with other foods or liquids.
She is delighted with her practice and says she feels more alive than ever, and in harmony with her own being.
4. ‘The body is a temple and the period is sacred.’ .
My objective is to persuade women
My menstrual flow has greatly reduced and the connection I feel with my body is much more profound. I love drinking my blood. It makes me feel alive, and I’m healthier than ever. I’m proud that I’m ingesting the nutrients lost by my body. I believe that the body is a temple and the period sacred,’ she says.
For Maanee, everything is connected to education: ‘Every woman who wishes to do so should experience this from her own intimacy. I am a psychotherapist and I don’t do this out of some sort of morbidity.’ Some netizens who come across Chrystal’s website assume that her courses for women are all about sexuality and eroticism. But the workshops are also rituals and ceremonies that venerate and celebrate femininity. ‘I often meet with friends to celebrate our womanhood. That’s where we take the photos. It’s about learning to be more feminine by creating a collective energy that, sadly, we’ve lost in the West,’ she says.