Menopause is a naturally occurring transition in a woman’s life, a time when a woman refines her wisdom. In cultures where age brings reverence and power, women have few or no menopause symptoms. Chinese medicine offers simple guidance to sail through menopause with ease.
Menopause signals a very healthy and positive response to the natural aging process. The child bearing years are a time when we are gifted with the ability to birth the next generations. Menstruation begins and Tian Gui or Heavenly Water in Chinese medicine starts to flow, helping us detox and prepare to regenerate. However, this does drain our bodies of blood and Jing (life essence) which are part of the Yin foundation of the body. If we didn’t slow down and stop after our childbearing years we would age very quickly. We can be grateful for menopause and the new stage that allows us to retain these vital fluids and the wisdom to rise up and express itself through gray hair. Menopause is a transition.
The years leading up to menopause can have hidden gems that if noticed, can keep us balanced as our bodies start to shift. These hints can be as small as a sleepless night on the last day of your period alerting you that your body is deficient, or a day or two of vaginal dryness seemingly out of the blue. Your body is letting you know something is missing.
One thing to pay attention to would be your digestion. Have you noticed that it has changed in your mid to late thirties and early forties? This is the stage when digestion starts to decline and we make less blood. Qi and blood are a Yin and Yang pair in Chinese medicine and they must be in balance for our cycles to be regular.
As women, how we take care of ourselves physically and emotionally during the decade leading up to menopause, called peri-menopause, greatly determines how we will experience the menopausal transition.
Stress is a big culprit. It stops that flow of energy, creating pain, frustration and depression, which builds up heat in our body, further depleting our vital resources, leading to hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, irritability, brain fog, and low libido.
Here are a few suggestions to help you sail through your menopausal years with grace.
-Movement is essential, freeing up stuck energy and releasing unavoidable stress.
-Foods such as leafy greens, walnuts, flax and sesame seeds, dried plums, fennel, seaweed, and ginger support us during peri-menopause and menopause. Asian pears in particular are highly valued because they contain copper and clean the toxins inhaled by air pollution while helping eliminate dark circles under the eyes.
-Relish the gifts that can only come with time. This is a time in Chinese medicine when a woman really comes into her own and her beauty truly emerges.
-Take time to feed your Shen (spirit), the most important element in our wellbeing. Taking moments to slow down and make space for your inner voice. Acknowledging how you are feeling and what you desire can immediately release tension in the body allowing you to give and receive love in deeper, more healing ways.
-Visit your local acupuncturist or Chinese medicine doctor for herbal formulas specific to your needs.
-Chinese medicinal herbs such as Goji Berry, Ophiopogon Tuber, Rehmannia Root, Dang Gui have been used for centuries to help women transition through peri-menopause and menopause with ease, they are all key herbs in Menopause -Hormone Balance elixir.
The symptoms that most commonly affect women during peri-menopause and menopause are:
Numbness and tingling in the limbs
Vaginal dryness or irritation
Various gastrointestinal disorders