In my Acupuncture practice I help women with menopausal symptoms every day. I’m not ‘curing’ them, as it’s a natural process that all women go through to one degree or another, but rather I help manage the symptoms. Let me explain a little about what is happening and why, but also a little about how acupuncture can help.
Menopause is related to the Kidneys
In Chinese Medicine the menopause is seen as a Yin deficiency (which ties in nicely with our Winter/Kidney theme). Whether natural or medically induced, the symptoms will be much the same. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. They might be very mild and barely noticeable, or they can be life changing. However, the good news is that Acupuncture can help with the symptoms.
What is the menopause? (A Western Medicine perspective)
The menopause usually spans 2 – 5 years and the average age is 51 all over the world. Below the age of 45, however, and it is considered premature. Menopause is not a sudden event, but a gradual physiological process throughout a woman’s lifetime. This means that the biological basis of the menopause is determined by her lifestyle and dietary habits right from childhood to the time of the cessation of menstruation. Menopause is not a disease but a normal physiological transition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause
What is the menopause? (A Chinese Medicine perspective)
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, menopausal symptoms are generally due to a decline in Kidney essence in its Yin and Yang aspect. But this basic pathology is nearly always complicated by other imbalances – Dampness, Stagnation of Qi or Blood Stasis. Emotional stress is an extremely important cause of menopausal problems, building up over many years. Worry, anxiety and fear weaken the Kidneys and lead to Yin depletion, especially when these symptoms occur against a background of overwork. If you have been following my blogs you will know all about the importance of the Kidneys. Water contains, controls and regulates the excesses of Fire. If Water is depleted than the affects of an out-of-control Fire will most certainly be felt.
How can Acupuncture help?
The trouble with Western medicine protocols is that they do not take into account everything else that might be going on within an individual, e.g. lifestyle, diet, emotions, all of which have an effect on the body. And I suppose that’s the problem, Western medicine doesn’t take the ‘individual’ into account.
Acupuncture can help with the common symptoms of Menopause:
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- Difficult sleeping
- Low mood or anxiety
- Reduced sex drive (libido)
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Frozen Shoulder
Acupuncture is able to readdress energetic imbalances and make a natural process much more bearable.
In Chinese medicine we look at the individual holistically; that is, we look at all signs and symptoms and evaluate the possible connections. Women with menopausal symptoms always have more going on than just heat, anxiety, insomnia, etc. You can’t put diseases into little boxes, because we are all different! Feeling unwell, or just out of sorts, is a sign of imbalance within the body. For instance, if you suffer with migraines but also have a terrible thirst that can’t be quenched and have a history of cystitis, then it is at least worthwhile investigating a possible relationship.
As one grows older, the Yin depletes in all of us. This is nature. In the Spring there is birth and rebirth and life bursts forth; in the Summer the Sun is at it’s highest and hottest and growth is encouraged; in the Late Summer we reap the fruits of our efforts, and if we have done everything right we can enjoy the long evenings; in the Autumn the trees are letting go of their leaves and we must start to prepare for the Winter months; and then the Winter finally comes, the most Yin time of year when all things contract and rest; Then Spring returns and there is birth and rebirth…..and on and on.
In women, as the yin depletes, menstruation ceases, they become a little hairier and the voice deepens. In other words, as Yin depletes the Yang becomes more dominant. In men, as the Yang depletes and Yin becomes more dominant (andropause), we loose our hair and our voices getter higher! However, it is not only a time of letting go of our youth, but also a time to take stock and prepare for the Winter. But don’t… worry Spring will soon be here again!
If you would like to know more about how Acupuncture can help you manage the symptoms of your Menopause, I will be doing a talk at The Therapy Life Centre on 18th April.