In my time as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, I have been determined to reframe the misconceptions around menopause. With a different view of this time of life to how it’s seen in the West and different methods of treating symptoms, Chinese wisdom reframes menopause as a deep energy shift.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline and periods stop. Menopausal symptoms include night sweats, hot flushes, loss of libido, difficulty sleeping and low mood, horrendous symptoms I see more and more in my clinic.

In Chinese Wisdom, menopause is seen as a transformation that leads to a new beginning – a second spring. This is a wonderful time of renewal and growth – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Women can step into a new world where many creative impulses will find an outlet for expression and best of all Chinese Medicine can help.

How does Chinese Medicine explain menopause symptoms?

Menopause symptoms are essentially a severe imbalance of our internal yin/yang circuit. Yin/yang is the fundamental balance of the body, maintaining health and wellbeing. Yin is female energy and yang is male. The modern world is very yang in nature, meaning that as women we drain our yin reserves creating heat in the female body and therefore those menopausal symptoms we all hate.

Menopause occurs at the end of the menstrual cycle. Our menstrual flow is an opportunity each month for the body to clear this excess heat, so once our periods stop the body needs to find a new way to get rid of it. So your body wants to eliminate heat in any way possible. Given that a menstrual cycle is no longer an option, it often moves to the skin; our largest excretory organ and a great method of clearing heat. This is why menopause symptoms are largely skin and heat-related. In fact, Chinese medicine explains hot flushes, thinning hair, vaginal dryness and osteoporosis all as signs of too much heat.

All of this, plus the stresses of modern living affects your kidneys. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are responsible for the ageing process, fertility, controlling the cooling of the body and your yin/yang balance. Menopause is essentially viewed in Chinese medicine as kidney yin deficiency. So it’s vital to look after them in order to progress through menopause as smoothly as possible. Download my free kidney guide here to discover how to nourish your kidney energy further.

For a deeper understanding watch my YouTube video on the Cause and Symptoms of Menopause and Perimenopause here.

How can I treat my menopause symptoms?

Modern living is liberating and wonderful for women, but it has a knock-on effect on us physically, so we have to pay attention to balance ourselves. The three most important steps you can take to help reduce menopause symptoms are to nourish your yin energy, clear the heat and rebalance your body.

Here are a few simple techniques you can try at home to help with symptoms:

Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a therapeutic healing technique, that has been widely practised in China for thousands of years. It involves using a round-edged tool, traditionally made from materials such as jade or metal, to press- stroke the skin until redness appears. You can even use a jam jar lid!

Using a Gua Sha Tool, you simply press-stroke the skin in one direction. The resulting redness is the ‘sha’. Research shows that this produces a circulation-boosting, anti-inflammatory, healing response and helps relax the body.

In a 2017 Chinese study of 80 women in the journal Menopause, women given 15-minute gua sha treatment sessions once a week reported a reduction in hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, low mood, fatigue and headache.

Tapping

Know as Pai Sha in Chinese medicine, the body vibrations of tapping promote the flow of blood and qi around the body. Tapping the skin on a daily basis enables the free flow of this all-important circulation, which stimulates the fascia and muscles, as well as the nervous and lymphatic systems. You can try tapping with a Hayo’u bamboo tapper or you can use a cupped hand.

Try this for one minute a day, you’ll be amazed at the results:

1. Tap down the insides of your arms then up the outsides. Then pat down the outsides and up the insides of your legs.

2. Tap in a circle around your abdomen, then up in between your breasts.

3. Tap gently on the insides of your elbows, armpits, the backs of your knees and the inside of your hip joints.

Breath

The single most effective way to reduce your stress levels is to take conscious, deep, abdominal breaths. By moving your awareness out of your head and into your breath, your heart rate slows, your mind is calmed, and your blood oxygenated.

Diet

The idea that food can be used medicinally is an inherent Chinese cultural belief, as well as a fundamental principle of Chinese Medicine. I recommend avoiding cold food and drink, plus including more fennel in your diet, fennel is traditionally used by Chinese Masters to help regulate the menstrual cycle and relieve PMS symptoms.

I recommend you start by practising these simple techniques in order to restore balance in the body. Then, take extra steps to support your kidneys. Discover more in my menopause and kidney guides here.

Menopause is one of my favourite topics to cover and I go in-depth in my Menopause masterclass which you can download here. For more advice on symptoms follow me on Instagram and YouTube, or join my Healing Qigong classes.