Medicine Woman Crush: Marcia Lopez of Women's True Healing

Marcia Lopez of Women’s True Healing in Redondo Beach

Marcia Lopez of Women’s True Healing in Redondo Beach

Marcia laid her hands upon my womb, incanting “Our blood comes from our ancestors, and all their prayers are there. We take that blood and make it ours.”

We spent the next hour working through the noxious knots that a life of accumulated traumas have wound deep within my womb, choking me from the inside out.

After the death of my mother, I found myself waking up in a hot sweat a few nights a week clutching my womb in crippling pain. Even though I spend the bulk of my days wildly eschewing all heteronormative notions of ‘geriatric pregnancy’ (literally the medical term for pregnancy in women over 34) whilst talking baby-making atop the ruins of a toppling patriarchy with my radically non-normative cabal of patients, mine is a lineage of womb struggle, and occasionally I am gripped by fears of the creeping maladies that haunt many of us gals of ‘advanced reproductive age’ (can we get some new terminology, S'il vous plaît?!). 

My mother had her ovaries irradiated in the 1960’s as part of an experimental radiation treatment for fibroid tumors and dermoid cysts (side note- didn’t work! V dangerous! Would not recommend, negative 5 stars). Not only was the procedure unsuccessful in treating her tumors, it left her with only one functional ovary, and after having me at 38 she had a full hysterectomy shortly thereafter. As I approach 38, in a cosmic partnership with a radical man who dreams of raising our future brood of anarcha-taoists, I wrestle with fears that their tiny dissident souls won’t find repose in my strangled womb. These fears are visceral, they wind themselves in cats cradles through my pelvis, spinning webs of rebar and shrapnel around my organs, choking my womb of all its vital qi. One of my teacher plants alerted me to a massive, throbbing knot in my pelvis during a medicine ceremony this spring, at which point a multi-armed Kali Ma emerged from my pelvic bowl, and wandered naked through the charnel lands vomiting up rainbows of patriarchal sludge whilst trying to castrate every man in the room with a rusted shank (these things happen to a Botanarchist from time to time). The knot grew more gnarled and angry by the minute. The knot has become a ball, the ball a fist, the fist a giant mass of impenetrable tissue that won’t breakdown despite my best efforts. Old tricks ain’t working. 

I met Marcia - a bodywork therapist specializing in Mayan abdominal massage - nearly ten years ago through a radical collective of women called the Deusas brought together by our mutual friend @zipstump. As unferal women safely nestled in the styrofoam bosom of modernity, most of us don’t have much idea of our fertility resources beyond our yearly PAP and the odd convo with a typically terse & nonchalant OBGYN about how birth control is our lord and savior (you don’t take it?! Mon dieu!) that solves every problem from irregular menstruation to melting polar ice caps. If you didn’t know where to look, few sanctioned therapies appear to exist for ‘idiopathic pelvic pain,’ irregular menstruation, and their bothersome ilk. However, The medicine-tenders of indigenous cultures knew a thing or two about how to support fertility beyond the pharmaceutical interventions that are the hallmark of western culture. Mayan abdominal therapy can support more regular periods, confidence conceiving, empowered pregnancy, optimized gynecological and pelvic health, stronger post-baby recovery and a smoother menopause. The technique decongests and realigns vital organs to help resolve digestive, gynecological and pelvic health concerns and it can dramatically enhance fertility. 

Marcia is a goddess-shepherd of this powerful medicine, and through her work I have come to find softening where there was hardness, renewed ease in my cycle, and confidence in conception. Today I bow to her, my dear medicine woman, as I gaze upon the results of my textbook perfect abdominal ultrasound in awe. Big love, sister.

Herbal Allies: Bai Shao / / White Peony

PCOS

Let’s talk about ovulation. 


Be it the ubiquity of endocrine disrupters in our post-koyaanisqatsi, hyper-industrialized cosmos, or a food pyramid dominated by behemoth agribusinesses pushing processed foods over ancestral diets, or perhaps even the unrelenting pressure heaped upon women by themselves and society, many of us are hard pressed for a good old fashioned regular ovulation. 
White Peony Root, also known as Bai Shao, has a bona fide plethora of clinical research backing up its ability to treat ovulatory disorders and PCOS, making it an herbal ally bar none for those seeking to regulate their cycle. White Peony Root improves aromatase activity in the ovaries, which promotes the conversion of testosterone (which is often elevated in PCOS patients) into estrogen, thus lowering those pesky testosterone levels. Clinically, it also demonstrates a significant improvement in the ratio of Luteinizing Hormone to Follicle Stimulating Hormone, two hormones that work together to encourage ovulation whose balanced ratio is paramount in producing a period. White Peony Root also significantly decreases Prolactin levels, which can be considerably raised in PCOS patients, resulting in irregular periods, breast tenderness, low sex drive, painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, acne, and excessive facial hair growth. If you’re looking to whip your menstrual cycle into submission (gently, and with a clearly defined ‘safe word’, of course), find yourself a clinical herbalist who can work White Peony into your hormonal treatment plan.