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Uterine and Vaginal Health | Nicole Kruck

Nicole Kruck is a licensed massage therapist and practices Oriental medicine. She works with women to improve health, especially in the uterus and vagina. This interview details how women can make lifestyle changes and pursue alternative treatments to improve uterine health.

What we Discuss:

  • How she learned from traditional Maya healers

  • Abdominal therapy and uterine massage

  • How women can get and stay well

  • Practical tips to bring attention and healing to your abdominal region and uterus

  • Visualizations and better understanding for each stage of your cycle

  • How you can tell if your uterus is out of place


Georgie Kovacs 01:45
Yes. Today it is all things uterus. Start with your background and why it is you know so much about the woman's uterus.

Nicole Kruck 01:57

I started this journey professionally about 23 years ago, I'm a licensed massage therapist and Oriental medicine practitioner. I started getting involved in this work due to my own issues. I had a tipped uterus that I found out about when I was 20. And when I asked my doctor what that meant, what I could do about it, she said, "Well, basically you could have issues with your periods. You could have painful periods.. You could have issues with fertility down the road, painful intercourse." And when I heard her, I was floored because I had no idea and I said, "What could I do about it?" She said I could either have a hysterectomy or ride it out through menopause. That started my journey into women's health. I knew that there had to be something that could help me and probably many other women. When I was a kid, I had a big fall off of a slide on my back. I had been in many car accidents, just a lot of injuries to my lower body. I found out later on that that's what led to my uterus probably being tipped.

Nicole Kruck 03:23

It's usually something that happens to us when we're really young. We're very active, we do sports, we have falls, we're into skiing, skating, that type of thing. And so because it's not addressed when we're younger in the United States, because we don't have uterine care, like other third world countries, it gets relatively worse and so our symptoms get worse and that's what happened to me.

Nicole Kruck 03:47

When I heard this diagnosis, I just knew that there was something out there for me.

Nicole Kruck 03:52

In massage school, one of my friends said that she had gone to Belize, she had stayed in a resort run by Dr. Rosita Arvigo. And that she just saw me while working with this woman and these traditional Maya healers and walking on the earth path and I was like, sure. She brought me back a book called Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer. It was a bunch of case studies of Dr. Arvigo's work with a traditional Maya healer named Don Elijio Panti, whom she started working with in his 80s. He had been a traditional shaman or healer for his village since he was 17. He learned it in the chicle working in the chicle fields with a shaman there. In areas like that, they don't have a lot of medical care. They are working with traditional healers, midwives and Auntie's for their medicine. So fast forward. I started reading Sastun. In the book, one of the case studies was about a woman who had all the same symptoms that I had. She had had painful periods. She was trying to get pregnant. She had a tipped uterus. As soon as I read that, I knew that there was something there for me.

Nicole Kruck 04:35

I knew at that point I had to teach other women how to do that, that this. This information had to get out in the world because it was so important, and it had been so lost. People that had come to the United States did not bring a lot of this information with them. They knew someone in the village back in the Caribbean or Iranian Africa that did this work, but they personally didn't know how to use it and they weren't using it. That's been my mission for the last 23 years - is to really help women understand their bodies better, definitely understand their uteruses, and to feel better to get some kind of help.

Nicole Kruck 05:03

I tracked down Dr. Arvigo. She was living in Belize, but she was doing herbal conferences in the States. So myself and several other women just migrated to this conference and found her and said, "You have to teach us this work. You have to teach us this uterine massage." Now it's Arvigo techniques of Maya abdominal therapy. I learned the massage, and I started doing a self care massage that I teach all of my patients. That's part of our protocol. This little five minute massage transformed my life within three months. Wow, it was the first time in my life, that I didn't have painful periods, that I didn't have painful intercourse, that I wasn't having painful back pain. I was floored.

Georgie Kovacs 06:59
I have my own Belize story. I had booked a trip to Belize and then learned about her work. I found this place where they taught it to me and what I loved about it is that it wasn't, "Here come spend all this money and now you have to come back every week." The whole philosophy is teaching other women, which used to be how the world worked, and we've just gotten away from that. I have found the Maya abdominal massage to be extremely beneficial for me. Anytime I feel bloated. constipated, I just do that. I now do it on my son. His gastroenterologist has a different format for him.

Nicole Kruck 08:29

In traditional medicine, it's all about, keeping you well. Your body is supposed to run like a machine or a clock. Everything's supposed to work very efficiently. When it doesn't, something has gone very wrong. That's when you start to feel things like constipated or you're getting painful periods, or acid reflux. All these things that go on in the abdomen. Many times, what I'll do is focus with women who are having issues with reproduction, but it's a whole abdominal massage. The blood flow that goes through the abdomen to get down to the pelvis comes from above the diaphragm, where your heart is. Things get very tight in the upper abdomen. Now we're spending hours on computers hunched over, or we're not exercising. The holes were the major artery and vein and the soft esophagus come through get very tight. Those vessels that are coming through also get restricted. It's like somebody stepped on a hose and not all the water's coming through. That's what happens and then the symptoms come up such as constipation or acid reflux, gas and uterine problems.

Georgie Kovacs 10:10
I know there's videos on YouTube that talk about it. Please provide guidance on how someone can figure out how to do this, but then also when to do it. I know within the cycle, there are certain times that you should absolutely not be doing the massage.

Nicole Kruck 10:30

We ask that you actually see a certified practitioner or someone who really has an understanding of anatomy in the body and what's going on. One of the most important things about the massage is the breathing, because that's what's happening. Most of us are not breathing into the abdominal area. We're all like breathing up in our chest, just barely, you know, catching breath.

Nicole Kruck 10:53

Taking really deep breaths into the abdomen, maybe one hand in the upper abdomen, one in the pelvis, and just take slow breaths, almost feeling like as you breathe in, your hands are expanding off of your belly like you're blowing like air is going into a balloon. As you're deflating, that air is coming out and that's going to move stuff all through the abdomen. We think sometimes with massage that we're working very deeply into the muscles. It's not so much about deep, although it can be in certain instances, but it's really more about getting that circulation going to all those organs.

Nicole Kruck 11:32

Our abdomen is our most vulnerable area. It has all our major organs in it - your spleen, liver, stomach, pelvic organs. So we're not used to being exposed to that area. We tend to really close that area down by being forward so much on our computers or whatever we're doing. The massage is really getting that breath into the area to move things through the body. I would just start with that one hand in your upper abdomen, one in your pelvis, just even see what the temperature feels like a lot of us are really cold.

Nicole Kruck 12:13

One of the phrases that an acupuncturist might use is, "Oh, your uterus is very cold." It's just that the circulation isn't getting all the way down. Sometimes even putting your hand there that brings warmth to the area and breathing into that area is also going to get the circulation going. That's going to move on the nutrition and hormones into the area and help move stuff through the lymphatic system. It seems really simple, but it's a huge benefit to the body.

Nicole Kruck 13:13

Imagine that you're on your couch. You're so cozy there. You've got your blanket and nobody's gonna move you for the next couple of hours. Breathe and let your hands, as you exhale, drop down into those tissues. Then you can sweep in towards the navel a little bit. That's also stretching the holes in the diaphragm. That's going to open up for those vessels to get that optimal flow down to the pelvis.

Nicole Kruck 13:50

You can do the whole massage in the upper abdomen and around the navel in the pelvis. However, if you're trying to conceive that month, then you're going to not do any kind of massage in the pelvis. You're just going to do warm hands and breathing into that area because you really want the uterus to tuck in there. You don't want to be moving the uterus around.

Nicole Kruck 14:19

Many times I was talking about the uterus shifting. That's because the ligaments have become over-stretched in the pelvis and the uterus just falls wherever that happens to fall. The massage is actually bringing blood flow to the area as you're lifting the uterus up. It's also like doing little bicep curls for those ligaments to help strengthen them to bring the uterus back into place so that it's getting really good circulation. It's the same thing of you stepping on a hose, and not all the water's coming out. When your uterus is shifted, and it's sitting either on your bladder or your intestines or your ovaries, your fallopian tubes, it's also sitting on all these vessels that are trying to bring it nutrition and keep everything healthy.

Georgie Kovacs 15:01
So even during bleed as long as you're not trying to conceive, you can do the massage.

Nicole Kruck 15:05

You can do the whole thing. Usually when you're bleeding unless you're cramping, which is very helpful. During your heaviest flow probably just lay off to warm hands in that area because things are already moving. But if you're getting cramps, it's a wonderful thing to do. It's amazing how quickly just getting some blood flow to that area will help calm down the discomfort.

Georgie Kovacs 15:31
Let's talk about the tilted uterus. I've heard differing opinions about whether or not the tilted uterus impacts fertility, and I'd love to get your thoughts on this because I've heard, "No." I know that we don't have a clinical trial on it, and I know that your thoughts won't have the specific data behind it. Based on your own experience, it'd be great to get your perspective on what a tilted uterus would do and how it might impact one's fertility.

Nicole Kruck 16:04

As far as fertility, it depends on what's going on. I can't say also that that's not why you're getting pregnant. However, when the uterus is in place, and it's getting that proper nutrition, things are moving. It's not sitting on your fallopian tubes or your ovaries. You have a much higher chance I would believe to get pregnant than then if it was out of place and seriously obstructing some of the structures in the area. I find that a lot of times when women do the massage and get their uterus back into place, or even just get the blood moving to that area, it gets a little bit more circulation. Over time, the uterus will get into place, but I think that it just really, in my experience has upped their fertility ability.

Georgie Kovacs 16:56
I wouldn't want to limit it to fertility so maybe a better question would have been, "Are there any negative impacts to a tilted uterus outside of what you were saying around "the uterus should be in a good position" and you want to optimize it by doing this massage. Are there any other potential impacts that women should be aware of?

Nicole Kruck 17:15

When the uterus is out of place, it's sitting on the other organs, so it's harder to get pregnant. It's definitely harder for the uterus to empty out because that's why women will have painful periods - a lot of times the uterus is out of position.

Nicole Kruck 17:34

When the uterus is in place, the cervix should point down towards the ground. Most women should get some slight cramping or maybe a little bit of spotting, just to let them know what's coming. Then you should get a full flow. It should be cherry, pinky red for a couple of days. No clotting. Maybe a light day of spotting at the end. If that's not happening, that's not a normal cycle, even though we're led to believe that that's how it's supposed to be and we can get through life like that.

Nicole Kruck 18:15

However, that's going to set up a lot of problems. When the uterus tips in any way, like if you're getting brown blood at the beginning, it can be like the last period or so not cleaning out. But if you get it at the end, it can be from a long time of that period not getting cleaned out. The inside of the uterus starts to get a little indurated, it almost starts to get a little crusty, because it's just not getting enough oxygen and circulation. Your uterus' job is to get you pregnant every month. So if that doesn't happen, then she really wants to get that out, and that's why you're cramping. The uterus is a muscle so it's just trying to get that lining out so it's ready for that night next cycle to get you pregnant. That's the difference between when your uterus is in place and it's not. Sometimes, you can have a retroverted uterus. It can be sitting back on your intestines. You may or may not be having some intestinal problems, a little constipation. It could be sitting forward anteverted on your uterus. You could feel like, "Oh, I have to pee a lot more than other people," or "I have the sensation that I have to pee more, but nothing's coming out." When the uterus is put back into place, those seem to go away.

Georgie Kovacs 19:35
I like that you're giving such concrete examples. One guest had said that if you have go to your OB GYN and your pap smear's painful, that's not normal. We posted the podcast and people on our private Facebook group said they had no idea that it's not supposed to hurt. The more we talk about examples of what women shouldn't be feeling, it allows us to start monitoring what's happening.
Georgie Kovacs 20:09
Next, let's discuss vaginal steaming. Before I tried it, I had never had a lot of issues with yeast infections. And then I started getting a lot of them, and I had no idea what was going on. After I tried vaginal steaming, I have not had one since. Let's cover what it is and how it helps women. I recognize vaginal steaming may be controversial. Douching apparently is a big, big no-no, even though it sits on the shelves at your local supermarket or drugstore. Why is vaginal steaming OK?

Nicole Kruck 21:33

If you go to the island of Cozumel, in the center of the island, there is a temple called San Gervasio. It is the island of for us it's the Ixchel, the goddess of healing and fertility and moon cycles. Women in the area would come in pilgrimages to this temple every year to find out about their moon cycles and learn how to take care of themselves, especially if someone was trying to get pregnant. They would learn what they needed to do from the other women. The men were not allowed on this island, but they would take the women from the mainland. They knew the patterns of how to get out there, but they were not allowed there. If you go now, you see the stones where they actually did the vaginal steam. This has been around for a very long time - in Central America and Asia. The Koreans may have gone to a Korean spire and had one done.

Nicole Kruck 22:58

If you go to a drugstore and you get Massengill douches or one of those chemically mixed products, yes, that will definitely throw off your pH, especially if you're using it on a regular basis.

Nicole Kruck 23:14

Vaginal steams use herbs and they can be used for healing and have been for many years. So with the steams, I usually do a blend for someone depending on what's going on. If they're having more yeast infections or clotty periods with pain, or a lot of scent or irritation in that area, I'll make up a mix of things to use, but one of the most common is mugwort. That's what they'll use in a Korean spa. It's really good for the uterus as it's a real uterine herb. It's really warming, it's soothing.

Nicole Kruck 24:03

I just make a big pot of tea and let it steep, just like you'd make a cup. You can even drink some if you want. That steam goes up into the vaginal canal and into the cervix. That's how it really delivers the essential oils from those plants, but you never want to use essential oils. They're way too strong. But you can use dried or fresh herbs. Basil is really good as are any of your Italian herbs. One of the best companies ever is Mountain Rose Herbs. They're in Oregon, and they have quality herbs. Many of them are wildcrafted organic and very inexpensive. You can get a large bag and share them with your girlfriends.

Nicole Kruck 25:18

Most people are afraid to get burned. You want to be really careful. I run my hand over the pot just to make sure it's not too hot or cold. I do it in my toilet, I clean my toilet out really well. I'll find a like a mixing bowl that goes just over the waterline so that the water doesn't go in. And I'll pour my tea water into that. Because I'm putting the toilet seat down, it might heat up a little bit. Then you just tent yourself up like in the old days when you did a pot for a facial. We're used to having that very hot, continuous steam. This is so beautiful. It's very nice and rolling and warming. You want to have something on your feet.

Nicole Kruck 26:10

If you want to do another one you can but I feel like that's just enough. A lot of women feel more lubricated.

Nicole Kruck 26:10

I wanted to talk about those old wives tales of "don't go out in the wet grass with no shoes on." That cold is going to hurt your uterus, so you always want to keep that area warm. Nice shoes on or a rug under your feet. You'll want to put something around your waist like a sweatshirt. It's a wonderful thing to do at night before you go to bed because you're all cozy and warm. You can have your low glass of wine or tea. It usually lasts about 10 minutes and then the steam dies down. I

Nicole Kruck 27:00

You can do it before a period, especially if you're one of those women that gets really crappy periods, I would almost start about five days out unless you're trying to get pregnant. If you're trying to get pregnant, I wouldn't be doing the steams, unless you end up getting a period and then at the start of the period or at the end.

Georgie Kovacs 27:28
I've tried some of these things and how self caring they are. When I do my abdominal massage, it's right before bed. I get massage oil, make sure it's got lavender in it, I turn out the lights and I just massage my abdomen and then I go to bed. It is a great way to go to bed, especially in this age where we are worn out, and now, especially with COVID.
Georgie Kovacs 27:54
Why does vaginal steaming help yeast infections?

Nicole Kruck 28:16

I wouldn't do it because of a raging yeast infection. If there's any infection, cancer, or if you have an IUD or are pregnant, you don't want to be doing this. Otherwise they're gentle. It's really the power of the herbs.

Nicole Kruck 28:41

When women have fibroids, endometriosis, yeast infections, it's because they things aren't draining well. People that do Arvigo find that a lot of women that have HPV get freaked out because something's wrong down there.

Nicole Kruck 29:05

Basically, what's happening is the cervix isn't in place. The bottom of the uterus is your cervix, so when the uterus shifts, the cervix is going to shift. When that cervix is out of place and when things aren't draining down towards the ground with gravity, it tends to back up. The cervical crypts that are at the base of the cervix are not draining well. When those back up in the canal, they start to create inflammation. And where there's inflammation, that's when you're gonna have cells that are kind of out of control. I can't give you the scientific reason, but I know that a lot of women that have had yeast infections find it's been so helpful.

Nicole Kruck 29:56

With douching, I use green clay, which is dirt basically. It's when you get a facial, and it's drawing out impurities. It can draw 10 times its weight. At Mountain Rose Herbs, you can get a bag of bentonite clay. The grounds are a little bit bigger, whereas the cosmetic green clay is more fine. That is one of the best things to do for douching. And that's great for yeast infections. I would use like a tablespoon of that, mix it up in an eight ounce glass of warm water, let it settle. You want the clay to kind of go to the bottom, the heavy parts, and then the cloudy water. That's what you pour off into the douching bag. You can put a little dropper full of calendula or usnea. Usnea is antibacterial, antimicrobial antifungal is the usnea. The calendula is just soothing because everything's enraged.

Georgie Kovacs 31:18
What about from a toxin perspective? Is there a specific type of clay one should consider? As far as the water goes, do they have to make sure it's filtered?

Nicole Kruck 31:33

Because the uterus is a mucous membrane, it can pull toxins in really easily. That's why you don't want to be using regular tampons. You always want to use organic because you can get some pretty bad stuff and that could be one reason why you're getting a yeast infection. If you want to use filtered water, I would think that would probably be better than tap water.

Georgie Kovacs 32:05
Let's discuss uterine fibroids. I've learned that as one gets older, one can get more of them. I believe it's surgery that you would need to treat them. I know there are some companies who are really starting to focus a lot more on women's health and looking at drugs to help with uterine fibroids. Educate us based on the type of medicine that you practice. What women need to know and can consider as potentially natural ways of support or at least healing to deal with something that can be extremely painful.

Nicole Kruck 33:29

A lot of women have fibroids and it can be hereditary. It can occur and women don't even know that they have them. They can have them for years, and they're so small, they don't even know they have them unless you have some kind of pain or you're going in for fertility treatment and they're checking the uterine cavity. Anything below about five centimeters which is maybe a quarter size, are usually treatable. They can be slow growing, they can be fast growing. There's so many variables about it.

Nicole Kruck 34:23

If you can avoid getting them, that's the most important thing. A lot of women will get them because their uterus is out of place and they're not getting enough circulation. They're doing a lot of estrogens, they're drinking a lot of water in plastic bottles, people are cooking their food in plastic. Fibroids are estrogen dominant. Vegetarians are eating a lot of products with soy in them. Watching your soy products, the plastics, and having your uterus in place; those are gonna help decrease the chances usually of getting fibroids.

Nicole Kruck 35:14

Once you have them, you could be getting debilitating pain. You could have flooding and clotting during your periods. Those are usually like little warning signs for people. Those are always things that you want to discuss with your doctor or maybe just call them up and say, "Can we do a sonogram and see what's going on?" Surgery can help, and they can come back again. They can do either like a laparoscopy where they go in like with a C-section or through the navel. They're getting better with robotics, but anytime you do surgery, you're always affecting other tissues. So that's when you can start to get scar tissue.

Georgie Kovacs 36:07
I was at a talk about uterine fibroids. I also took away from that that it's about prevention because once it starts, it's not great and if I'm not mistaken, it tends to happen as you get older?

Nicole Kruck 36:25

It can but I've seen 25 year olds with fibroids. Some people have had many surgeries like they've had 20 fibroids. If you can take care of it when they're smaller, you have a better chance. I know there's a lot of people out there doing many different kinds of supplements, some of them work for my clients, some of them have not. That can be really helpful at the beginning, but once they start to get bigger, they're a lot more challenging.

Georgie Kovacs 37:08
Tell me about the issue with tofu because I know that there are a lot of vegetarians out there. Is it no soy products at all? Is it monitoring where the soy products come from?

Nicole Kruck 37:24

I would say get more mindful about how much your intake is. If you're doing it every day, not great. Also watch where it's coming from. You can supplement with other things too. Now, there's more of a demand for retailers to be carrying other products for people who are going vegetarian or vegan. So there's more to choose from. I would be really mindful about where all your food comes from. There's pesticides on our foods and the food quality isn't as good as it was when we were back in the day growing it ourselves as our main source of food intake.

Georgie Kovacs 38:21
I was probably naive early on in life. "If I can't see it, it's no big deal." I've done a lot of cleaning house because toxins really do impact us in ways that I think would be shocking. The more research that's coming out at the conferences I've gone to talk about some of the unpublished research on how these toxins impact women is scary, honestly. We really can't mess around with that.
Georgie Kovacs 39:07
Next, I want to talk about the septate uterus. I was at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference last year in October 2019. On the last day of the conference, I happened to go to this session about a septate uterus. There was a European doctor, and a US doctor. They compared the European guidelines to the US guidelines and did an analysis using the American criteria, and then again with the European criteria. The numbers differed vastly over would be considered as having a septic uterus. First I didn't even know what a septate uterus was. I don't even know if most women know that it's a thing. Even if I had it, depending on if I'm in Europe or the US or frankly, which doctor I go to, I may or may not be diagnosed with it.

Nicole Kruck 40:25

Is a septate uterus a big deal?

Nicole Kruck 40:33

I love the uterus. I call her a "her" because she's like my girlfriend. We've been together all our lives and we all go through the good and the bad, the good lovers, the bad lovers! In Chinese medicine, you call her your second second heart because your uterus is connected to your heart. It's the sweetest thing in the world that you could have a heart-shaped uterus. The septum creates a little heart in the uterus and the and the fundus in the top. What happens is doctors will go in and they'll surgically remove the tissue that's creating the top of the heart shape. Most women don't even know they have it. It's usually not a big deal. It's usually very small, and it doesn't go down that deep. However, if someone's trying to get pregnant, sometimes they will. We'll just go in and do surgery to take it out just to give the baby more room in the uterus. Or sometimes women will have very painful periods and that might be the problem.

Georgie Kovacs 42:01
I have heard , it's a very simple surgery. It could cause implantation issues and miscarriages, but no one knows for sure, which is what's frustrating about women's health. I do want people to at least know it is a thing. There's different criteria to diagnose it, and we're not even sure if it has an impact on trying to conceive but at least you're aware and you know.

Nicole Kruck 42:41

If someone is having chronic miscarriages, that would definitely be something that you would want to look into. I'm sure at some point, you would have a sonogram.

Nicole Kruck 42:52

Let's talk about endometriosis.

Nicole Kruck 43:11

Many women have endometriosis and now they're just starting to make a thing of it because, in the past, doctors have not believed women or other people have not believed that you could have such a painful period. Our theory is that when the uterus is out of place, and that lining's not coming off every month and the uterus is cramping really hard to get it out of the cervix, then it could go back up out through the fallopian tubes at the top of the uterus at the fundus and then start to migrate into the either the pelvic cavity. They've even found pieces of it up in the brain. It can wander through the body. If they went into surgery, they would probably find it all over your bladder and probably your fallopian tubes. They can't really diagnose it unless they go in and do surgery.

Nicole Kruck 44:16

That tissue is coming off the inside of the uterus where it has that cyclical ability to start leading the same time that the uterus is. That's why you'll start to have really bad problems with your bladder and your side. At the same time, that tissue is getting inflamed. It can go on for years. Women can have really debilitating periods and not know what's going on. It's also really hard for fertility issues. If you're having painful periods, you need to get it checked out. You need to be very proactive.

Georgie Kovacs 45:18
It's a tragic condition that affects so many people. We interviewed Dr. Tamer Seckin to talk about endometriosis from a surgeon's perspective, and then we will have a podcast coming out with Chris Jackson, who runs CiceroDx and they have the ReceptivaDx test. They take a sample of your uterine lining to determine if you have endometriosis. There's a lot of innovations coming out, thankfully.
Georgie Kovacs 45:49
Let's discuss castor oil packs. I just find all these natural rituals to be so soothing.

Nicole Kruck 46:29

Yes, I love castor oil. It's called Palma Christi - the palm of Christ because supposedly it has the ability to heal everything. It's a purgative so it really moves things strongly. If you drank it, you would probably have a really huge bowel movement If you got parasites is probably good.

Nicole Kruck 46:56

People use it once a year or every six months as a cleaning. However, it has such amazing properties if you use it topically. That's what we use a lot in women's health because it's great for fibroids, endometriosis, painful periods.

Nicole Kruck 47:25

A pack is a piece of cloth that's all cotton or wool. You don't want any synthetic because you want it to absorb a lot of oil. You can use an old sheet, an old t-shirt, or you can cut up a towel.. If it's thick, you're not going to have to fold it, but if it's thinner, you need to get about four layers so that it can get a lot of oil in it. It's a little messy sometimes but once you do it once or twice you can make it a lot less messy. Take that cloth and use an ounce of oil to really saturate the cloth but not dripping and then you put it right on your skin. I usually take Saran Wrap - I'm against you know estrogens, but if you want you can do Saran Wrap because it's a couple layers and then you put your heat source on it like a beanbag or hot water bottle. You don't want it too hot because all you need to do is open up the pores so that the oil can move into the system. And it is amazing.

Nicole Kruck 48:54

It moves stuff through the lymphatic system so it helps with any kind of inflammation. It's really nourishing for all the tissues especially the uterus or breast. It is great to do a couple days before a mammogram because it will move that lymphatic through and helps to break up any scar tissue adhesions. If you had C-sections or any kind of appendix surgery, it's excellent for that. It helps tissues to heal if you've got like back pain. If you throw your back out, you can use it in the area and if that's the first thing you do, instead of having a week of your back being out it's going to be like three and a half days.

Nicole Kruck 49:46

The caveat is if you are trying to conceive, you definitely don't want to be doing a lot of castor oil packs. There's maybe a day or two at the beginning of the cycle where you could do it but probably not if you're bleeding heavy. If you're thinking about conceiving in the next six months or three months, or if you're waiting to do the transfer, then you have a nice window where you can be doing these on a daily basis or a couple of times a week.

Nicole Kruck 50:32

When you're doing them, just make sure you put an old towel underneath you and maybe a hefty bag. Don't have your silk pajamas on. If you sleep with it, you have to make sure that the heat turns off so you don't want to have a heating pad, which is why I usually use beanbags.

Nicole Kruck 51:03

That cloth can be placed in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware. Put it in a dark, dry place. The next time, you add just a little teeny bit of oil, and you just keep using it until it smells or looks bad and then you toss it.

Georgie Kovacs 51:29
Amazon sells a pack where it has the cloth with the wipes and castor oil. With the beanbag, do you heat it in the microwave?

Nicole Kruck 51:46

I would heat it in the microwave and always go with the directions. You want it warm, you don't want it hot. They even have on Amazon castor oil pack holders. It's a little apron, and it has a pocket. You put your castor oil pack on and the heat source. Then you Velcro it on, and you can be doing your dishes. I would have for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Georgie Kovacs 52:44
What should the frequency be for vaginal steaming?

Nicole Kruck 52:56

It depends on what you're doing it for. If you want to just feel fresh and clean, I would do it, maybe after your period, as your period starts to die down when you get a little brown blood. If your period's a little brown at the beginning of the cycle, I would do it maybe three or four days out, maybe do three days back to back, or at the end of the period.

Nicole Kruck 53:19

If you're dealing with an issue, like you're getting more yeast infections or you're just feeling irritated, you could do it a little bit more frequently. Again, it's heat. Heat is really moving, so you want to move things a little bit. But if something's really inflamed, you don't want to do it a whole lot. So maybe space it out. For women that are having painful periods, I would do it like five days before the period. Women who are trying to conceive, I would do it if you were getting ready for a cycle either a natural cycle or assisted cycle. I would do it like right before the period at the beginning of the period and the end.

Georgie Kovacs 54:06
Back to the castor oil packs. When you are bleeding in your monthly cycle, what do you not do? I know that there's different parts of the cycle where the heat and the castor oil do have a negative impact.

Nicole Kruck 54:27

Your uterus is working really hard when it's bleeding and it's already a little warm because it's full and things are moving so I probably wouldn't be doing a castor oil pack then because if the blood's really moving and then you're adding heat, it's gonna move even more and you just want her to do what she's gonna do. But if you're really really crampy and say the period isn't coming on and you're getting spotting for two or three days, do the castor oil pack. Do the vaginal steams - those are great to like help for bringing on a period but the castor oil pack will help. If you're having that cramping and you can do a half an hour on the front and say you're getting some back pain do a half an hour on the back. But again, you're not too hot.

Georgie Kovacs 55:12
Does the apron go on the back and the front?

Nicole Kruck 55:14

Yes, it does! British Heritage sells the castor oil pack. Oh, and that's the other thing with the castor oil, you want to make sure that it's for external use. So it's not something that you would get and drink internally from the pharmacy. You're going to get this from the health food store or you know, online or something it'll usually say cold press for exterior use only. Thank you.

Georgie Kovacs 55:48
Given all the work that you've done with women, what would you say is your greatest hope for women's health?

Nicole Kruck 56:04

My greatest hope is that they start really getting some help and that they realize they don't have to continue to live in such pain and disparity and shame. That we’re teaching each other how to take better care of ourselves. We've all been through so much in our lives. Everybody has at least one story, if not many. I feel like it's my job in life to really help people get to know their bodies better and to be able to find simple five minute things that they can do for themselves that really improves the quality of their lives.

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