Menopause, Hot Flashes & Chinese Medicine
Hot flashes tend to be the symptom that drive women to seek help. Hot flashes may be embarrassing, inconvenient, and just annoying. Many women deal with hot flashes for years! No need. Acupuncture and herbs may help create balance at this changing point in your life and body.
To understand hot flashes in acupuncture terms let’s first understand some Chinese medicine basics. Chinese medicine is working with Qi (chee). Qi is the vital energy force pulsing through our body. When Qi and Blood are abundant and free flowing, we experience vitality. When Qi and Blood become blocked or deficient, we experience health challenges. Acupuncture and herbs help us free blockages and build up deficiencies of Qi and Blood.
Qi has two aspects, Yin Qi and Yang Qi. Yin Qi is considered feminine, moist, cooling, downward flowing, dark, etc. Yang Qi is masculine, warming, upward moving, light, etc. Yin is not women and Yang is not men. Every person is both Yin and Yang and must balance their Yin and Yang Qi individually. Yin and Yang are relative terms. For example, wheat in a field is Yang Qi. Harvested wheat is Yin Qi. An eggshell is Yang Qi, the yolk inside is Yin Qi.
When you look at the Yin/Yang symbol (the taiji) you see a black area, symbolizing Yin, and a white area, symbolizing Yang. Within the white area is a black circle and within the black area is a white circle, symbolizing that Yin is within Yang and Yang is within Yin. They exist together. They are interdependent. The curvy line signifies that Yin and Yang are constantly changing and have no absolute separation.
The balance of Yin and Yang is important. If one is stronger, the other will be weaker, and vice versa. Women lose Yin and Blood through monthly menstruation. As we age, we may become Yin deficient. One scenario for menopause symptoms is the weakness of Yin resulting in what appears to be a stronger Yang. What is Yin (moist, cooling) in our body lessens making it seem as if we have too much Yang (warming, drying). A menopausal woman may have vaginal dryness, hot flashes, or even blood pressure challenges after menopause as symptoms of Yin deficiency. Conversely her Yang energy is rising and warm presenting as hot flashes, migraines or irritability. An acupuncturist can help balance the Yin and Yang energy in a woman’s body creating a peaceful change.
The number of sessions or herbs depends on the woman. Some women easily balance as they are already mostly in balance. Other women may have additional factors which take a bit longer to balance such as weight issues or a health history including chemo or radiation. Either way Chinese medicine is a useful tool that is safe and has relatively few side effects for those presented with life changes.