A completely natural progression in a women’s life, menopause has unfortunately been met with some stigma in the Western world with some women even going as far as hormone therapy to delay the onset of menopause.
The Chinese take a different view of this, viewing menopause not as a dreaded occurrence, rather a natural stage in one’s life cycle. Because of this, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) does not look to upset the body’s natural process rather, simply help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms which some women experience during menopause.
Brought about by fluctuations in hormones, symptoms of menopause may include hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, joint pain, anxiety and irritability. More than 80% of women going through menopause experience at least one of these symptoms.
The symptoms of Menopause from a traditional Chinese perspective
In TCM, Jing, or essence plays a major role in menopause. Jing is stored in the Kidneys and is said to be the life force which nourishes, fuels and cools the body. Likened to DNA in western medicine, Jing is said to be the “carrier of our heritage” and in women is closely associated with pregnancy and menstruation.
We are all born with a finite amount of Jing, and can be likened to a health “savings account”. You draw upon it for strength when you are unhealthy. The better you maintain your health through your adult life, the less you will have to draw from it and thus you will enter older age with a good level of Jing (a time when you need it the most!).
As we all age our Jing will be slowly changed (at varying levels depending on one’s lifestyle or prior health issues). As Jing declines, the body energy becomes imbalanced and the undesirable symptoms of menopause begin to rear their ugly head. It is believed that the more drained your Jing going into menopause, the more severe these symptoms will be.
How can acupuncture help to alleviate the symptoms of Menopause?
When treating the symptoms of menopause, an experienced acupuncturist will work to identify just where the energy imbalance in your body is occurring. Once this is determined they can then prescribe a combination of acupuncture, diet and Chinese herbs to help correct this imbalance and alleviate the symptoms of menopause.