According to Well+Good, menstrual realness is set to be a major health theme for 2017. Yes, society is ready to except that menstruation happens and we need to talk about it! It’s about time, if you ask me. But then again, I have been following floliving.com for the last year and applying some of Alissa’s advice to my life (#cyclesyncing and all that jazz).
So what does that have to do with Old Testament Law?
Believe it or not, menstruation comes up in Leviticus 15. Unfortunately, it is not the most positive section of Leviticus. Women are considered to be unclean when menstruating and effectively become a no-go area. Even her husband was not allowed to touch her, let alone sleep with her.
Being unclean meant that no one could be near you. So at their grumpiest, iron-deprived tired, painful time of the month, women were given space away from everyone else. A whole week to sleep! Okay, so it wouldn’t be much fun being shut away from everyone else but do you really want to be around people and doing chores when you’re suffering from… well, you know.
The Science Behind the Law
No, the writer of Leviticus didn’t have a scientific backing to these laws. Yet over a millennium later, there is now research suggesting that women do need to take time to rest while menstruating. In fact, there is now evidence from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre suggesting that women actually need more sleep than men on an average night.
This isn’t even factoring in the iron, zinc and various other micronutrients that are lost during menstruation. For those 3-7 days, you’re losing the very minerals that play a key role in keeping your body going. Iron is crucial for carrying oxygen through your blood stream while zinc is crucial in maintaining your immune system and repairing your body. Losing either of those in large doses is not going to do your energy levels any favours.
The Middle Ground
Levitical law enforced women into a period of solitude or rest, depending how you look at it. Scientific research is now suggesting that women do need more sleep. It doesn’t take a genius to realise there are areas of overlap encouraging women to reevaluate their relationship with rest and sleep.
While I am totally against the concept of anybody being considered unclean, I do think we can learn from this section of Leviticus. Regardless of how it was done (I can hear the feminists shouting about the patriarchy), the idea of allowing women to rest is a sensible one.
So what can we take away from Leviticus 15? Taking time to rest is not a bad idea. So grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy some peace and quiet. Feel free to take a nap.
The post Old Testament Laws || What Can We Learn About Menstruation and Rest first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.