Also, because I didn't do my first major media work until about 1998, that gave me about a four-year time frame in which to get used to the idea of being a more public figure. So it was pretty gradual. By the time The Wisdom of Menopause came out, I was more ready for the controversy and so on. At this stage, I’m amazed at the success of my work. When I began, I didn't think my work would be accepted in my lifetime because of the way things were in medicine at the time. I knew I had something to offer which could really help a lot of people, and I decided to offer it, despite the risk. Times have now changed and people are far more open. It's very gratifying.
REDWOOD: Your books have become a standard for many women who seek a balanced and knowledgeable perspective on both conventional and complementary methods for restoring and maintaining health. For me, one of the most striking things about your writing is the emphasis you place on the role of emotions. You’ve said that symptoms like PMS or menopausal difficulties often are caused by, or coincide with, a repression of a woman’s needs or her voice. Could you expand on that?
NORTHRUP: The medical intuitive Caroline Myss has a great phrase, which is "our biographies become our biologies." We know that every thought and every emotion is accompanied by a metabolic cascade of neurochemicals in the body and that the chemicals associated with feeling stupid, feeling wrong, feeling 'less than,' create a different biological terrain than feelings of mastery, acceptance, happiness, and so on. If you look at written history, you will see that the feminine has been denigrated and the masculine has been elevated for at least the last 5000 years. Women have been blamed for the downfall of mankind in the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden. The menstrual cycle, the cycle that is responsible for all life on Earth, has been called 'the curse.' Women were, and still are, feeling ashamed to be having their period or talking about it. And so, that history on planet Earthæof the put-down of the feminine parts of the body and the menstrual cycle, and so onæleaves a mark, as it were. Women have mixed feelings about their bodies and these all come out in the functioning of the body.
When one begins to reclaim the wisdom, however, of those natural cycles, of the menstrual cycle, for instance, you understand that it's quite natural to have an outgoing part of the cycle and then a more inward, reflective part of the cycle, where you rest, where you give yourself more time, where you take long baths. In other words, the part just before your period or during your period. Once you understand the in-breath and the out-breath, and that your body is actually in tune with the cycles of the moon, then all of the negative feelings about your body go away. And then symptoms around PMS tend to go away as well.
I remember when I started to treat PMS in 1982, just as it hit the public consciousness as a result of an article in the magazine Family Circle. It’s very funny to me that it's usually women who change the medical profession and not the other way around. Only after the Family Circle article did the subject appear in the OB-GYN literature, because women suddenly had a name for their monthly suffering and began to go to their doctors to ask about it. There were several doctors that began to have PMS clinics. So I did all the stuff that you always do that helps PMS, like having women stop caffeine, get on a good multivitamin with enough magnesium and B-vitamins, stopping the white foods in their diet, exercising more. Evening primrose oil was big at the time; now I use more omega-threes. You do all that and people get better.