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Book Review: The Venus Week by Rebecca Booth

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An "ah ha" moment might be mundane or profound, but it's a discovery or recognition that either you'd overlooked or simply not been looking for. 

In The Venus Week (Da Capo Press), Rebecca Booth, MD, gives a name and definition to "a cache of days, which happens around the same time each month [and is] the convergence of a woman's mind, body, and sexuality. When women learn to lean into this tremendously powerful energy, suddenly their hormones become their greatest ally—instead of their biggest foe." 

The "Venus week" is a term Booth uses for the "pre-ovulatory stage of a woman's hormonal cycle, when estrogen—the feel-good hormone—is at its height." She also refers to this time as a fertile window when women feel their best, look their best, and are most attuned to the opposite sex: they notice men more fully, and may find even the slightest male gesture or movement extraordinarily attractive. It may also be that, for women, this is the "love at first sight" time.  

A woman can do lots of things to enhance her Venus week. These include good nutrition, exercise, taking vitamins—all of which Booth details specifically and pointedly. If for no other reason, the book is valuable for the medical, nutritional and "lifestyle" advice it gives to women who would more fully experience this important, but fleeting, seven to 10 days in their lives each month.  

Dr. Booth is exceptionally well qualified not only to articulate this important cyclical week or so each month in a woman's life, but to discuss how to enhance it and use it to empower the lives of those who understand and nurture it. Dr. Booth is a practicing gynecologist with over 20 years of practice and observation to support her contentions. (The Venus Week also includes a valuable FAQ/Summary at the end.)  

Now, she may simply be giving a name and definition to what women have known or felt, always. But the knowing and the understanding of the Venus week's causes are critical; it is here where the author does great service to women who are many times confounded by feelings and emotions both before and immediately after their menstrual cycles.  

What makes the book invaluable for women, indeed, are the multiple examples of patients Booth has treated through the years and who've experienced Venus week sensations and not understood them, or those who've never experienced them at all because of inattention to their bodies, poor diet, lack of exercise, or many other deficiencies that Booth articulates and prescribes solutions for.  

There's Shauna, age 36. She divulged to Dr. Booth that she skipped her period for several months and felt as if she had PMS all the time. She also noted that during this time she was treated with prednisone for a nasty poison ivy reaction. To add to that, she is a hard-charging personality and, as Booth divulges, works and exercises relentlessly. Booth suggested she eat more healthily—good fats such as olive oils, for example—and reduce aerobic exercise and supplement her activity with gentle yoga. Soon, Shauna began to feel better and experience regular periods.  

Or Sandra, a 30-something woman struggling with infertility. Dr. Booth examined her and felt that, in the short run, her ovulation should be suppressed. She prescribed the pill, which of course virtually eliminated the possibility of pregnancy, but it "also lessened the impact of [Sandra's] mid cycle drop in estrogen and testosterone." And Booth was right: "After six months she was pain free and able to go off the pill and, as if rebounding, release her ovulation and her Venus Week."  

Perhaps the biggest impediment to many women experiencing their Venus week is the pill. Dr. Booth acknowledges that it often tamps down, but doesn't necessarily quell, Venus week sensations. Appropriately, she discusses strategies to experience the Venus week while on the pill, and gives many examples of ways to do so. While some of the book's pronouncements are obvious—stress diminishes the power of the Venus week, for example, or being overweight can lessen its effects—they are nonetheless worth repeating.  

The Venus Week is an invaluable book for women of any age. I'd even say it's essential if women want to understand their bodies and their cycles, at all ages. Booth has done a great service to women who wish to get the most out of their lives at the times in their lives when that is most fully possible.

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