A brand new physique swimsuit to management interval ache is within the pipeline – and it’s referred to as Artemis. Named after the Greek goddess of chastity, searching, childbirth and the moon, it really works by combining a tens machine (which offers ache reduction by means of the usage of a gentle electrical present) and warmth panels.

If it proves efficient, it could possibly be an enormous profit to ladies who are suffering significantly with interval ache – which is now acknowledged to typically be as painful as a coronary heart assault.

There’s an extended historical past in our society of interval ache being performed down, or simply thought of “regular” – with a lot of historical past written by males who wouldn’t have understood – alongside the usage of euphemisms to keep away from even discussing it. However there’s additionally loads of proof on the historic report displaying how dealing with extreme menstrual ache has at all times been a battle for some ladies.

In her 2015 ebook Maids, Wives, Widows: Exploring Early Trendy Girl’s Lives 1540-1714, historian Sara Learn notes a passage in a medical textual content from the 1600s – the primary anatomy textual content to be written in English – that compares having a interval to childbirth.

In Microcosmographia. A Description of the Physique of Man London doctor Helkiah Crooke doctor, discusses “the programs” – a time period for menstruation. He writes:

Between the kidneys and the womb, the consent is obvious within the torments and pains within the loins which ladies and maids have in or concerning the time of their programs. In a lot as some have informed me that they had a minimum of bear a toddler as endure that ache; and myself have seen some to my considering by their deportment; in as nice extremity within the one as within the different.

Artemis the good

The connection between the ache of getting a child and having a interval may be very acceptable to a product named after Artemis, the traditional Greek goddess related to each. Artemis was the goddess that was turned to throughout occasions of transition, corresponding to menstruation, improvement, and marriage.

A virgin goddess – one in every of three, the others being Athena and Hestia – she was concerned as ladies reached womanhood, with dedications made to her. These included your childhood toys and, earlier than your sexual initiation, your belt. Certainly, ladies would dedicate their most interesting clothes to Artemis when their menstrual durations started.

Younger Athenian ladies who had not but been by means of puberty have been despatched to an early sacred website, the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron (about 30 miles from Athens), to serve on the shrine of the goddess. Data present items given in thanks, presumably for surviving childbirth, one other transition in ladies’s lives involving blood.

Goddesses promote merchandise

From the mid-Twentieth century onwards, it has been fashionable to call ladies’s merchandise after well-known ladies and goddesses from the traditional Mediterranean. For instance, the identify of an organization growing a contemporary therapy for breast most cancers, Atossa, dates again to round 520BC.

It was the identify of a Persian queen, who – based on the historian Herodotus – was troubled by a lump in her breast, which was handled by the Greek physician Democedes. In his well-known Histories – an account of the interval as much as the Persian Wars – Herodotus writes that:

A short while after this, one thing else occurred; there was a swelling on the breast of Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus and spouse of Darius, which broke and unfold additional. So long as it was small, she hid it out of disgrace and informed nobody; however when it bought dangerous, she despatched for Democedes and confirmed it to him. He stated he would remedy her, however made her swear that she would repay him by granting no matter he requested of her, and stated that he would ask nothing shameful.

Some students have learn this as the primary recorded occasion of breast most cancers, however this isn’t clear from this temporary description. Neither is the character of Democedes’ therapy. However we do know that Atossa was cured.

Australian firm Atossa Therapeutics is operating trials of hormone remedy in sufferers with invasive breast most cancers who’re about to have a mastectomy or lumpectomy. As of January 2023, the outcomes have been trying encouraging and trials have moved to the following stage.

The facility of the classics

An early model of the contraceptive tablet, marketed as Enovid, used the legendary Ethiopian princess Andromeda in its promoting. The story runs that after her mother and father went too far in boasting about her distinctive magnificence, the offended gods had Andromeda tied to a rock on the mercy of a sea monster, however she was saved by the hero Perseus, who then took her as his queen.

For the producers of Enovid, utilizing their drug meant that each lady might “free herself from the chains” of worrying about undesirable being pregnant.

So the answer to ladies’s well being issues is commonly introduced by way of historic Greek feminine figures. Utilizing these names might assist the thought of continuity throughout historical past in how ladies have skilled their our bodies, taking part in down how modifications in society have affected them.

It additionally reveals the lasting energy of the classics, even at a time when few folks find out about historic Mediterranean cultures. And on the similar time, it promotes a narrative during which “now” we will remedy something – even situations which were a part of ladies’s lives for millennia.

By Helen King
Supply The Dialog