Menopause is not discussed enough in our society and is a major transition for women that not only signifies the end of our reproductive years but creates dramatic shifts in our brains and bodies as we change our hormones.
In Chinese medicine, we honor the shifts in a woman’s body and hormones and work to support these changes naturally in order to support health dynamically. In Chinese medicine, we are always looking for a balance of yin and yang within the body.
Yang energy is generally considered to be more masculine, more about movement and heat; whereas yin energy is more of a feminine energy, it’s the fluids of the body and the nourishment.
When women go through menopause we lose Kidney Yin. This depletion of yin leads to the characteristic signs of menopause; hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, heart palpitations, etc.
While it is possible that I am biased [as a Doctor of Chinese Medicine] I can tell you that having an acupuncturist who is also an herbalist to support you through this transition is a game changer. Chinese medicine truly honors and understands the nuance within a woman’s body and is able to support you as you move through perimenopause into menopause.
More than anything, as a doctor and as a woman, I want you to know that you are not alone and you are most certainly NOT going crazy!
Here are some basic tips on things you can do to support your health and hormones as you enter menopause
Acupressure for Menopause Symptoms:
Acupressure, a technique derived from acupuncture, involves applying gentle pressure to specific points on the body. It can help alleviate menopause symptoms and promote hormone balance. Here are some acupressure points commonly used:
- Yin Tang (Third Eye Point): Located between the eyebrows, this point can help relieve hot flashes, insomnia, and anxiety.
- Shen Men (Spirit Gate Point): Found on the wrist crease, this point may alleviate mood swings, promote relaxation, and support emotional well-being.
- Sanyinjiao (Three Yin Intersection Point): Situated on the inner leg, about four finger-widths above the ankle bone, this point can help regulate menstrual irregularities, promote hormone balance, and alleviate sleep disturbances.
Chinese Herbs for Hormone Balance:
Chinese herbal medicine offers a rich repertoire of herbs known for their ability to support hormone balance and alleviate menopause symptoms. Here are some commonly used herbs:
- Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis): Known as the “female ginseng,” dong quai is often used to regulate menstrual cycles, relieve hot flashes, and support overall hormonal balance.
- Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa): This herb is well-known for its ability to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances commonly experienced during menopause.
- Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root): Dang Gui is used to nourish the blood, support menstrual health, and alleviate symptoms like dryness, mood swings, and fatigue.
Chinese Nutritional Therapy for Menopause:
Chinese nutritional therapy emphasizes nourishing the body with wholesome foods to support hormonal balance. Here are some dietary recommendations:
- Incorporate Yin-Nourishing Foods: Include foods like black sesame seeds, goji berries, seaweed, and dark leafy greens to nourish yin energy and support hormonal balance.
- Avoid Spicy and Hot Foods: Minimize or avoid spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and excessive greasy or fried foods, as they can exacerbate hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water and consume nourishing herbal teas like chamomile, licorice, or red clover, which can support hormonal balance and relieve menopause symptoms.
In Chinese medicine, menopause is viewed as a transformative journey where women can cultivate balance, vitality, and well-being.
By incorporating acupressure, Chinese herbs, and nutritional therapy, women can alleviate menopause challenges and support hormone balance naturally.
As women, we tend to have a difficult time taking care of ourselves, but after a lifetime of giving to others, I urge you to give that same love and care to yourself during this challenging time.
Remember to consult with a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner to personalize your approach and receive tailored guidance throughout your menopausal journey.
- Cohen, M. M. (2013). The role of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the management of menopause and associated symptomatology. Menopause International, 19(3), 123-128.
- National Institutes of Health. (2017). Acupuncture for Menopausal Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Women’s Health, 26(2), 125-134.
- Tseng, Y. L., et al. (2018). Chinese Herbal Medicine for Menopausal Symptoms of Breast Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018, 4915790.
- Xie, Z., et al. (2020). Traditional Chinese Medicine for Menopausal Symptoms and Quality of Life: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medicine, 99(6), e18934.