Menopause: Scary, but Not a Disease
In the fifth decade of a woman's life, the woman's body changes. Though it can be a dramatic change, it's also graceful, as the body begins retiring the ovarian function. While many hormones will continue to be made in the adrenals, a general decline in hormonal activity is the hallmark of this phase of life. These changes can be accompanied by profound symptoms or virtually none.
Women want relief from bothersome symptoms such as night sweats or sleep disorders. Therapies in Chinese medicine can support and balance the body in its time of change, addressing not just symptoms but underlying root imbalances through both acupuncture and herbal formulas, helping reroute unhealthy aging. These methods support and protect a woman from the physical and emotional effects of aging. There isn’t a single, universal solution – after all, everyone is different – so therapies will vary based on analysis.
In Eastern thinking, the reproductive energy is so much more than simply “menopause,” as Westerners tend to lump it together. The Chinese model is unique in its belief in the interconnection and communication between individual organ systems. Acting independently, each organ also controls or balances others, creating a cohesive whole. Reproduction takes on broader connotations in the Eastern model, encompassing the kidneys as well as intertwining it with bone, spine and brain well-being. Is it any wonder that the decline of reproductive energy (or menopause, as Westerners are accustomed to calling it) causes osteoporosis, low libido, brain fog and spinal pain? Add to that that the classic weakness of “menopause,” or declining kidney energy, is night sweats and hot flashes. It’s much like a spider web that moves as a whole when any strand is pulled.
By looking at menopause as a whole, Chinese medicine can treat the acute symptoms and bring balance to the core of a woman’s aging process. It can alleviate the effects of hormonal change through evaluating symptoms, interpreting the wrist pulses and feeling on the abdomen. Taking pulses reflects the strengths and weaknesses of each organ, and the palpation of the abdomen shows individual muscle tension patterns (a classic Japanese development) which practitioners use to prescribe herbal formulas.
Combining these tools, the Chinese medicine practitioner develops a therapy plan that includes acupuncture and herbal formulas to relieve symptoms, as well as to help support and sustain associated age-related weaknesses.
Ultimately, the goal of Eastern tactics is not turning back the clock, but perceptively slowing its onward movement in a healthy approach to aging.
Butch Levy MD, L.Ac with Integrated Medical Care is board certified in both primary western care and Chinese medicine, and has been in private clinical practice for 35 years. For more information, visit www.drbutchlevy.com or call (303) 972 2727.