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Menopause represents a hormonal change in the female physiological process. Certain levels of hormones such as oestrogen will not be released as much as prior, which will cause the process of ovulation to cease. Menopause is a natural cyclical process, however it can induce varied unpleasant symptoms which often have a detrimental impact on the quality of a women’s life.

Chinese Medicine Perspective

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does take into account the hormonal changing process of menopause. However, it will take a holistic approach and establish any issues of imbalance which may be making symptoms of menopause difficult to manage.

According to TCM, as menopause commences the kidney Qi begins to drain. Kidney Qi represents the essence of a person or their constitutional health. Qi is responsible for the development of a person and the health and vitality of the organ system. If someone has had a pre existing Qi weakness due to stress or overwork, the draining process of menopause on the body will be stronger. For this type of person symptoms of; fatigue, anxiety, headaches or lack of concentration are often experienced.

In addition to these problems, if someone enters the phase of menopause with high levels of stress and tends to drink alcohol consistently, their body’s thermostat may not be able to regulate the building of internal heat. The obvious symptoms here are; hot flushes, night sweats, dryness and skin irritations.

This internal heat in TCM is stored in the liver. Unlike Western medicine physiology, TCM states the health of the organ system will directly affect the emotional state of a person. Hence if the Kidney Qi or essence is weak and the Liver holds heat and toxicity, there is no doubt the menopausal symptom’s will be most unpleasant.

Life style can make a difference!

Health and longevity according to TCM relies on one innocuous word – ‘moderation’. This applies to the obvious things such as high stress levels or alcohol consumption, but it also includes over exercising or being socially very busy. If you enter the early phases of menopause and are run off your feet, odds are, some of these mentioned symptoms will be exacerbated. So it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle where rest and recuperation play an equal role as work and fun activity.

Help is at hand

If by chance menopause symptoms do encroach on your life, it is not always easy to drop everything and move in to a day spa. Fortunately TCM herbal medicine and acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for menopause.

Acupuncture will help treat imbalances within the body and in particular some points are useful for clearing heat and calming the mind. Treatments can be scheduled on a regular basis aimed at maintaining balance or used symptomatically for issues such as insomnia or migraine. Acupuncture may also be combined with cupping treatment and remedial massage. Usually the treatments will be half an hour in duration and six to eight points may be used. Acupuncture is not painful. Some points can be sensitive but if it is done in a comfortable environment, the experience will be very relaxing and grounding.

Chinese herbal medicine is a particularly effective treatment for menopause. As each person’s menopausal symptoms may differ from minor to severe, accompanied with consultation, herbal formulas can be specifically designed to suit each individual case. Herbs can be taken on a daily basis which will nourish the body and create symptomatic relief for menopause. Often specific formulas can be made to suit the night to help with sleep and day to promote energy. Herbal treatment can often have quick results to relieve symptoms. Sometimes treatment will be needed throughout the menopausal phase to help balance and support the body whilst the hormonal changes occur, or treatment can provide sustainable relief after a number of weeks.

It is important to note that Chinese herbal medicine does not contain any hormone products, synthetic or otherwise. Therefore the treatment is very safe and can be taken on a long term basis if necessary.

Nick Conquest
Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine
134A Martin Street Brighton 3186

Published on February 15, 2013