Woman’s health: Transition to Menopause (Natural or Medically Induced)
Updated: Jan 3
Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have many uses in the world of women’s health. From the first period (menarche), through to menopause, acupuncture and oriental medicine is known to help regulate every process. So when friends, family and patients ask me if I can help with issues they are having from A-Z, I can say with confidence, “Yes, there’s a point for that”.
Acupuncture, Jing & Kidneys
Acupuncture is one method of Oriental healing that consists of inserting hair-thin needles into the skin on areas called acu-points. Acu-points are located on channels or meridians which eventually, internally connect to organs. Traditional Chinese physiology differs from Western Medical physiology in that the organs hold holistic and multi-faceted roles.
According to Chinese medicine the body’s building blocks for balance are called yin and yang. Yin is described as being cold, dense, dark, viscous and heavy. Yang is described as being hot, airy, bright and lightweight. The way they work together towards balance can be illustrated by visualizing a pot of boiling rice (go figure, everything in Orient has to do with rice). Water in liquid form is in the pot boiling the rice and there is water above the pot in the form of vapor. The water inside the pot is considered yin, while the water vapor above is considered the yang aspect of water. Both are needed to effectively cook the rice. If there is too much yang (Steam) that boils out the water…the pot and rice will be burned. If there is too little heat to make the water boil into vapor, then the rice just will not cook.
Now you are wondering what cooking rice has to do with hot flashes, irritability, headaches, insomnia and night sweats... These are all symptoms of menopause and pre-menopause, but also symptoms of the body struggling with depletion of yin.
Factors that lead to Jing deficiency in an otherwise healthy person are: stress, lack of sleep, poor eating, and standing for long periods of time.
There are different circumstances by which Jing can deplete for example medically induced hormonal suppression therapy in men & women, poor postpartum recovery, lack of rest ... can all lead to Jing deficiency. ( You may refer to our postpartum blogs on our website https://www.2ndnatureacu.com/ )
Acupuncturists treat most menopausal symptoms with yin building herbs and acupuncture protocols. These treatments tonify the kidneys, they also serve to prolong life and reduce stress.
Menopausal Symptoms, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
As mentioned above Menopausal symptoms are signs of Yin depletion.
Yin deficiency can cause the body to overheat producing symptoms such as
hot flushes and sweats
aches and pains
Most menopausal women have some of these symptoms. The symptoms can vary from mild to more severe.
Acupuncturists treat most symptoms of menopause with yin building herbs and acupuncture protocols. These treatments tonify the kidneys, they also serve to prolong life and reduce stress.
Dietary Advice to Tonify your Yin, Protect your Kidneys
Foods to add:
· Barley, millet
· kidney beans, black beans, black soya beans, mung beans
· Beef, duck, fish, eggs
· Sesame seeds, black sesame seeds and walnut
· Asparagus, artichoke, pea, potato, seaweed, sweet potato, tomato (organic)
· Apple, pear, pomegranate, watermelon, banana, avocado
Taking care of one’s self throughout life will help minimize unpleasant transitions to menopause. It is never too early to start nourishing yourself, but it is also never too late.
Cooling Fluid to include:
Drink mint, chamomile, lemon balm, hibiscus, rose hip and chrysanthemum teas, hot or cooled.
Green and white tea are also cooling, but avoid these if you have anxiety or insomnia since they contain caffeine.
You can add cucumber, mint and lemon slices to water for a refreshing drink.
Compensating Salts: If you have night sweats or excessive sweats, use good quality salt like himalayan, celtic, and fleur du sel when salting your food. These natural salts contain vital trace minerals to replace those lost through sweat.
Electrolyte powders, coconut water and naturally fermented drinks like water kefir, coconut water kefir, and kombucha also help with hydration.
Foods to Avoid
· Hot, spicy foods
· Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, recreational drugs
Practical ways of coping with hot flushes and sweating
Hot Flush is the most common menopausal symptom. Hot flushes can vary from a slight feeling of warmth in the face to night sweats that affect your whole body. Hot flushes generally last for about 4 to 5 minutes. You may feel sudden warmth in your face, neck and chest. You may become flushed and sweaty. You might also feel your heart beating faster (palpitations) during a flush.
( To note that both men and women could be affected by hot flushes caused by a medically induced hormone depletion treatment).
There are lots of practical things that may help you cope with hot flushes:
· wear natural fabrics, such as cotton
· wear layers, so you can remove clothes as needed
· keep the room temperature cool, or use a fan
· use cotton sheets and layers of bedding you can take off during the night
· try a silk pillowcase or a special cooling pillow that contains a gel to absorb heat
· have cold drinks rather than hot ones.
Some research trials have shown that using a slow, controlled breathing technique can be an effective way to manage hot flushes. This is called paced respiration. The results showed that the number of flushes was reduced, on average, by 50% to 60%. To develop paced respiration, it is important to practice for 15 minutes, twice a day. Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably without being interrupted while you practice the following exercise:
Keep your rib cage still and breathe in and out by pushing out and pulling in your tummy muscles (using your abdominal muscles).
Without moving your rib cage, breathe in for 5 seconds and then breathe out for 5 seconds.
When you are confident doing paced respiration, you can use it whenever you feel a flush starting. You should continue with paced respiration until you feel the flush has passed.
Strengthen your yin with healthy lifestyle :
Yin energy is all about calm, cool energy. It’s about slowing down, resting, and restorative sleep. Consider these:
Practice moderate exercise like tai qi, walking, swimming, and restorative yoga (avoid “hot” yoga which can further deplete the yin).
Practice meditation, guided imagery, mindfulness, or chi gong. These practices help relax the mind, calm the nervous system, and manage stress and anxiety.
Go to bed by 10:30 in order to restore yin. Create a healthy bedtime ritual: turn off computers and phones, drink herbal tea, write in your journal, spritz lavender oil on your pillow, listen to a guided meditation...
Herbal formulas to support the yin:
Esther Hornstein LAc. Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner can prescribe specific herbs to balance the yin and yang of your body. Some common herbal formulas to support the yin include: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan.
Research proved that acupuncture helps reduce the frequency and severity of hot flushes.Acupuncture also manages mood swings, sleep disturbances, and skin and hair problems.
Among the hundreds of acupuncture points are locations that clear heat, and build yin. Acupuncture works in many ways, and can also take into account specific organ dis-harmonies that are prone during this time of year. A seasonal treatment can help you cope with change of weather.
Esther Hornstein is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and diplomat in acupuncture.
In her Therapeutic Holistic approach, she addresses Pediatric ailments, Men & Women’s health, Pain management and overall Wellness.
Her private practice is in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.
To make an appointment you may:
call or WhatsApp : 054-719-9600
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org