Menopause is considered a "second spring" in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a time for quiet contemplation and enjoyment of the simple pleasures. This transition allows a women's innate wisdom to emerge.
Throughout our lives we are continually using and producing hormones. With the onset of menopause this balance changes.
Our busy lives often require us to use more energy and hormones than our body would naturally produce. Therefore, as menopause approaches and certain hormones naturally decline women can experience symptoms that indicate there is a hormonal deficit. While the transition into menopause is normal, many symptoms women experience are extreme and reflect a system that needs re - balancing.
During menopause "yin" sex hormones responsible for nourishing the body decrease. Because of this decrease many experience uncomfortable symptoms such as heat and dryness.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) have become popular solutions to many of the uncomfortable effects of declining hormonal levels during menopause. While this type of treatment may be helpful for some women there are also other options worth exploring. If you are considering HRT/ERT be sure to discuss other options with a health practitioner and/or your MD. I also suggest the book, "Balance your Hormones, Balance your Life" in which the author, Dr. Claudia Welch, cites many academic papers and studies linking HRT to outcomes as serious as an increased cancer risk.
Below I have included a number of simple remedies to ease the transition into every women's second spring:
Remedies for Menopause
The key to finding greater hormonal balance is stress management. The more we stress the more we use up the yin in our bodies that contribute to cooling and nourishing.
By creating routine, and regular sleeping and eating patterns we support our body to relax. Find ways to say no. Do less. Starting a meditation practice and regularly walking in nature attunes us to the cycles of nature.
Diet changes can be simple. Avoid refined food and sugar and eats lots of fresh whole vegetables and grains. Start here for more ideas. If you are experiencing heat symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, avoid alcohol, coffee, spicy foods and excess red meat.
Many women find the following remedies to be very helpful. Before starting any new regimen be sure to do so under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.
- Maca: A root vegetable from South America available at health food stores. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is an "adaptogen", which means it helps to regulate and balance many systems in the body, including hormonal systems. Add maca powder to your smoothie in the morning!
- Chastetree Berry: An incredible herb for women's health. Is helpful for a wide range of constitutions. Helps to balance and regulate women's hormonal systems.
4) Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Practice alternate nostril breathing every day. This practice is traditionally taught to balance the yin and yang aspects of our being. Find a qualified yoga teacher to guide you in the practice. If you are local to Victoria - please ask me at one of my classes I offer and I would be happy to demonstrate it.
Acupuncture really shines with issues that require regulating and harmonizing of physiological systems. Regular acupuncture can help to balance the body and mind and help all of the other changes you are making integrate seamlessly.
Most importantly -- change takes time. Allow yourself at least 2 months of integrating all of the above changes before deciding what is working and what needs adjusting.