So first up I'll explain in my own words how TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) explains menopause.
When menopause starts, the Yin and Yang of the body start to become out of balance and this gives us two main types of menopause, with a few variations.
So let me explain how we see Yin; it's the cooling, moistening, calm, feminine aspect of our body where Yang is the heating, base energy, passionate, masculine aspect of our being.
The first type of menopause is seen like this: the Yin level of the body drops below the Yang of the body, this makes the body seem hotter, we call this false heat or deficient Yin in TCM. The heat feels more intense as it doesn't have the Yin to keep it from flaring up, so the body becomes unbalanced and way less cool, hence the hot flushes rising up to the chest, face with hands and feet hot as well, in some cases. This heat is described by women like, "it comes from within and makes its way out to the surface, taking over me". This false heat doesn't have the Yin to cool and moisten this flaring heat so it dries up even more of the Yin giving symptoms of dry skin, scalp and dry vagina. This false heat then plays havoc on our sleep patterns keeping us awake at night and making it hard to get off to sleep, it also can give us heart palpitations and anxiety with mood swings. Due to the hot flushes coming at night, energy can be drained. Most women who have this type of menopause are usually lean with no major weight gain before or during menopause and can have a tendency to burn the candle at both ends throughout their life. They can be very intense and passionate human beings.
If that does'nt't resonate with you then this one may...
The second type of menopause is seen like this: they have the same Yin and Yang imbalance as the first one, as this is the basic pattern of this syndrome but they have an added problem called damp or phlegm. Now it's easier if I just explain it like this, everyone knows what it's like if you lift the lid off the top of a compost bin, right? It's warm and steamy, well this is what is happening in the body of this type of menopausal woman. This causes the hot flushes to have lots of sweating with them and a clammy, damp, hot feeling on the skin. This happens due to being a little or a lot over weight, the extra pounds cause the heat to get trapped and to produce this hot steamy effect. Usually their digestion is not good either; indigestion, acid reflux, burping or bloating with gas and no matter what diet they go on or how much they exercise, the weight just keeps piling on, so so frustrating. They still have problems with sleep and mood swings plus they have a fogginess that makes them forgetful in varying degrees. To top it off, their energy is very low to the point of exhaustion. But these women have grit and determination and push on with their lives with all this going on.
These two patterns are only guidelines and you can be a mixture of both or have different symptoms to varying degrees. So that's why acupuncture and Chinese herbs are so good as it treats you as an individual, focusing in on the areas that are affecting you the most, bringing you back to balance.
With regular acupuncture, Chinese herbs, lifestyle changes and commitment you will see the changes appear. My experience of treating menopause is that it is an unraveling process that gently reveals where we need to focus on next to bring the Yin and Yang back to equal quantities within your body.
Next week I will talk about what acupuncture, Chinese herbs and you can do for hot flushes.
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