Menopause is a natural experience in an aging woman’s life. A lot of women, do breeze through this phase without any problems; however, there are women who find the symptoms of menopause quite debilitating. The most common complaint that menopause engenders is hot flashes and it is experienced by around 70% to 85% of women. A close second is night sweats and they can be particularly problematic. Night sweats can be experienced many times a night and usually result in mood disturbances, irritability, and interrupted sleep, leading to fatigue.
Menopause-related problems can be resolved using acupuncture. In fact, hormonal or gynecological conditions are some of the most effectively treated problems for traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. TCM practitioners and acupuncturists utilize a number of therapies that may include Chinese massage known as Tui Na, diet therapy, herbal remedies and acupuncture.
Menopausal symptoms are treated differently in TCM compared that to modern Western medicine. Within western medicine’s framework, menopause- related conditions are addressed as any other disease. The “symptoms” of menopause are treated using hormones or prescription drugs. According to TCM, menopause is deemed as a natural phase of a woman’s aging process. Any problems connected with menopause are seen as indicators of an underlying imbalance. TCM and acupuncture treatment is aimed at rectifying the imbalance, or the underlying problem, and not merely the treatment of external “symptoms”.
TCM sees longevity is related to Essence. Essence is given to us by our parents at the moment of conception. It endows us with fundamental energy to power all functions of our life including the functions of growth, development (aging), and reproduction. When we have abundant Essence, we are able to quickly recover from illness and adapt to change. As we get older, Essence slowly becomes depleted from our body and when it completely empties, we die. Some individuals have a tendency to quickly deplete their Essence more than others. This may be due to their lifestyle and constitution. Indicators that Essence is waning include menopause or the end of the menstrual cycle, fatigue, backache, loss of libido and graying hair. If a woman has lost an inordinate amount of Essence, she is likely to experience problems during menopause.
The slowing down of Yin is another imbalance that may emanate during the onset of menopause. Yin is a TCM principle that nourishes and cools the body. For women with menopausal symptoms such as dry skin, insomnia, heart palpitations, night sweats and hot flashes, their Yin is usually deficient.
Certain women may have menopausal problems caused by deficient Yang. Yang is the opposing force of Yin and is the transforming and warming substance in the body. When this occurs, they may develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, indigestion, edema (water retention), and weight gain. There are also women whose Yin and Yang are both depleted leading to a combination of symptoms.
A shortage of Yang or Yin causes an imbalance in the body that can be addressed. And while we derive our Essence from our parents, it can, to a certain extent, be replenished. Restoring the balance in our body entails the use of acupuncture combined with Chinese herb al therapy, lifestyle modifications and diet changes.
Listed below are certain tips to naturally reduce the severity and frequency of the symptoms of menopause:
Add cooling foods to your diet – In TCM, each food possesses an inherent temperature grounded on the cooling or warming effect on the body. Foods such as lemon, grapefruit, bananas, apples, mung beans, watermelon, cucumber and mint all have the capacity to cool you off.
Keep cool – a lot of women complain that their hot flashes become more bothersome during humid and hot weather. Stay in air conditioned place to during really hot days.
Wear cardigans – dress in layers that can be put on or taken off as your body temperature changes.
Get enough exercise – when in stress, exercise can be a good way to relieve it. Stress can actually exacerbate your night sweats and hot flashes. Furthermore, exercise improves your mood and lessens the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
Stay away from foods that exacerbate heat symptoms- they can include spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
Lessen you stress – Women usually complain that their symptoms become worse when they’re stressed out. You can de-stress your life doing meditation, or yoga or just give some time to yourself.
Avail of herbal remedies – there are various kinds of herbs that can be used due to their effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of menopause. Some of the popular ones include Evening Primrose Oil, Dong Quai, and Black Cohosh.
Use Vitamin E – a lot of women derive relief by taking in Vitamin E. Use natural forms that have the letter d, (which means the product has d-alpha-tocopherol) and not the synthetic form signified by dl. A daily dosage of 400 i.u. is recommended.
Complement your diet with soy – soy is rich in phytoestrogens, or estrogen naturally intrinsic in certain foods. Some food sources include certain vegetables and fruits, whole grains flaxseed, legumes and chickpeas.
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