Menopause is a phase that signals the end of a woman’s ovulation. It marks the cessation of a woman’s reproductive ability. Symptoms of menopause usually last for a few months to a handful of years. Symptoms can be mild to severe and can include hot flashes, night sweats, sleeplessness, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain and weight gain. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), menopause happens when a woman’s body instinctively saves nourishment and energy in order to preserve her vigor and does this by feeding her body the nourishment it needs to preserve its normal function, particularly, her kidneys. The kidney according to TCM is the wellspring of life and longevity. Hence, the body saves a meridian in the body to provide blood and chi energy to the uterus. Now, during menopause, blood and energy from the kidneys are saved to nourish the woman’s spirit and prolong her life (or spirit). In TCM, menopause is viewed as a phase in life were mother becomes enlightened and wise being. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to lessen hot flashes and prevent osteoporosis. It also enhances the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, not to mention the debilitating side effects of this therapy. Fortunately, for the woman, there is acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to effectively relieve menopausal symptoms.
The Chinese for the preservation and maintenance of women’s health have used acupuncture Overland Park and herbal medicine for several thousand years. TCM ‘s goal is to remedy symptoms unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture or Chinese herbs among others. Each menopausal case may need a unique treatment approach. The acupuncturist examines the mental and emotional symptoms that a woman in menopause manifests. Upon knowing the symptoms, the acupuncturist can devise a treatment plan specifically for her. The basis for TCM is that a life energy flowing through the body known as chi or Qi gives the body life, vitality, growth and reproductive capacity. Chi flows through channels called meridians, which connect to all major organs. When the circuitous flow of chi in the meridians stagnates, illnesses develop and the body becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture is the insertion of hair thin needles in certain parts of the body to stimulate biochemical and physiological reactions in order to elicit desired effects. At the onset of treatment, there is a slight moment of discomfort as the needle enters the skin; however, the pain immediately fades away once the needles are in place. Most people feel comfortable and at ease that most even fall asleep for the rest of the session.
Menopause patients are advised to lose weight and to follow a regimen of raw foods, fruits and vegetables to balance the blood sugar. Dairy products, red meats, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, caffeine, and smoking can exacerbate the symptoms especially the hot flashes.