Navigating Menopause: 5 Vital Tips to Find Relief. Enjoy relaxing and easy-to-use methods to find relief from common menopause symptoms.
Reading Time: 18 minutes
Chinese medicine has a unique perspective on menopause, viewing it as a natural stage in a woman's life. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that during menopause, there is a decline in the body's vital energy (Qi) and the balance of Yin and Yang, which can lead to various symptoms.
Contents for Navigating Menopause: 5 Vital Tips
- Adjust the rhythm of your life
- Add nourishing superfoods
- Massage your ears using auricular acupoints
- Massage key acupressure points on the body
- Breathe deeply and do gentle forms of exercise
Menopause from a Chinese Medicine Perspective
Chinese medicine has a unique perspective on menopause, viewing it as a natural stage in a woman's life around 45-55 years of age (men transition from 61-71). Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that during menopause, there is a decline in the body's vital energy (Qi) and the balance of Yin and Yang, which can lead to various symptoms.
Navigating menopause is easier when you understand the following key concepts.
Yin and Yang Balance: TCM focuses on the balance of Yin (cooling, receptive) and Yang (hot, active) energies in the body. Menopause emerges as a time when the Yin energy declines, which can result in symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia.
Kidney Essence: In Chinese medicine, the Kidneys serve as the foundation of vital energy. Menopause brings a decline in Kidney essence, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and changes in bone density.
Blood Stagnation: Menopause can also lead to stagnation of Qi and blood circulation. This can result in symptoms like mood swings, irregular periods, and aches and pains.
Liver Qi Stagnation: Emotional symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and mood swings are often linked to stagnation of Liver Qi in Chinese medicine. Menopause can exacerbate these symptoms.
Five vital tips to find relief from menopause symptoms
1. Adjust the rhythm of your life
During this transition period, the most important step is lovingly embracing this next phase. Western culture values youth above all else, creating pressure to look, act, and live just as you did in your youth.
Chinese and other non-western cultures hold a different perspective. You have worked hard and this phase of life should be filled with time enjoying the fruits of your labors. And not just financial pursuits.
Menopause rises as a time to welcome the arrival of the senior years with a calm, optimistic attitude. It also invites you to pay more attention to yourself, your family, and to social events. And most importantly, you have the task of and opportunity to adjust the rhythm of your life and diet to a more regular and suitable track for our own constitution.
2. Add nourishing superfoods for navigating menopause
Adding various super foods used for millennia in Chinese medicine reduces frustrating menopause symptoms.
With any herbal remedy, it's advisable to consult with a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner or healthcare professional before using for specific health purposes, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Please read the contraindications for each superfood carefully.
Schisandra berries for navigating menopause
Schisandra berries, also known as Wu Wei Zi in Traditional Chinese Medicine have been used for centuries in Chinese herbal medicine. Here are some key aspects of how Chinese medicine views and uses schisandra berries for navigating menopause:
Five Flavors: Schisandra berries are known for their unique "five flavors" profile, which includes sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent. This makes them one of the few herbs that encompass all five tastes. This diversity of flavors is believed to have a harmonizing and balancing effect on the body's vital energies. Harmonizing the body is a critical health task when you're navigating menopause.
Meridian Tropism: Schisandra is thought to enter and affect various meridians in the body, including the Lung, Kidney, and Heart meridians, which gives it a wide range of potential health benefits. In particular, the benefits for the kidney system reduce menopause symptoms.
Adaptogenic and Tonifying Properties: Schisandra is considered an adaptogen in TCM, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and promotes overall health and balance. It tonifies and strengthens various systems of the body, including the Liver and Kidneys, two critical organs needing support during menopause.
Liver Health: Schisandra is known for its ability to protect and support the Liver. It treats Liver-related disorders and to address symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and insomnia, which are often linked to Liver imbalances which can increase during menopause.
Anti-Aging and Beauty: Schisandra is sometimes called the "Five-Flavor Fruit of Youth" due to its reputation for promoting longevity and maintaining youthful and radiant skin. It is believed to nourish the skin and improve complexion.
Immune Support: Schisandra is used to enhance the body's immune system and resist illness. It is thought to strengthen the defensive Qi (Wei Qi) and protect against infections.
Respiratory Health: In TCM, schisandra is used to treat respiratory conditions, including coughs and asthma, by soothing the Lung meridian and moistening dry conditions.
Energy and Vitality: Schisandra is believed to increase physical and mental energy, combat fatigue, and improve endurance.
Contraindications: If you have a persistent bacterial or viral infection, such as the flu, and have a fever, you should not consume schisandra berries. Also, if you have excessive stomach acid, bloating, or water retention, you should not eat them until those symptoms subside.
Schisandra berries can be consumed in various forms, including dried berries, herbal teas, tinctures, and capsules. They are often used as a single herb or as part of herbal formulations to address specific health concerns.
Goji berries Wolfberries
Strengthening the liver helps balance the emotions. Goji berries balance the emotions and yin energy that often suffer during menopause. Here are additional thoughts from Chinese medicine on goji berries and why they serve as a vital tip when you're navigating menopause.
Meridian Tropism: Goji berries primarily benefit the Liver and Kidney meridians, making them especially beneficial for these organs.
Nourishing Yin and Blood: Goji berries nourish Yin energy and blood in the body. This makes them valuable for conditions associated with Yin deficiency, such as dryness, hot flashes, and irritability. Practitioners use them in formulas and herbal prescriptions for menopausal symptoms and other issues related to Yin deficiency.
Vision and Eye Health: Goji berries improve vision and eye health. They tonify the Liver and Kidney energies, which can positively affect the eyes and vision. People use them for conditions like blurry vision, dry eyes, and age-related eye issues.
Immune Support: Goji berries are considered to be immune-boosting in TCM. They are thought to help the body resist illness and strengthen its defensive Qi (Wei Qi).
Anti-Aging and Longevity: Goji berries have anti-aging properties. They promote longevity and vitality.
Digestive Health: Goji berries strengthen the Spleen and benefit digestion, which can help with issues like poor appetite and loose stools (unless you already have diarrhea. See contraindications below).
Adaptogenic Properties: Goji berries are considered adaptogens in TCM, meaning they can help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance.
Contraindications for goji berries: Use with caution if you suffer from diarrhea or are prone to developing mucus in the throat and nose. If you suffer from diarrhea, you should use with a pinch of cinnamon.
Goji berries are used in various forms in Chinese medicine, including dried berries, herbal teas, and tinctures. They can be consumed as a food or incorporated into herbal formulations to address specific health concerns.
Chinese yam, also known as Dioscorea opposita or Shan Yao in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is a widely used herb with a long history in Chinese herbal medicine. It is valued for its various medicinal properties and has several traditional uses in TCM. Here are some key aspects of how Chinese medicine views and uses Chinese yam to support you as you're navigating menopause:
Tonic and Tonifying Properties: Chinese yam nourishes and strengthens the body. It tonifies the Spleen and Lung energies, which in turn supports digestion and respiratory health. Many women during menopause need extra help with digestion in order to increase nutrient absorption.
Spleen and Stomach Health: Chinese yam is known for its ability to strengthen the Spleen and Stomach, making it useful in cases of poor digestion, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Lung Health: Chinese yam can moisten the Lungs and is used to alleviate dry coughs and respiratory conditions, especially when accompanied by a dry throat or hoarseness. Nourishing the lungs also helps reduce grief and sadness that often emerge as a frustrating menopause symptom.
Kidney Health: Practitioners use Chinese yam to support kidney function and address symptoms like frequent urination, lower back pain, and sexual health issues.
Qi and Blood Tonic: Chinese yam tonifies both Qi (vital energy) and Blood. This boosts energy levels and supports overall health.
Nourishing Yin: Chinese yam nourishes Yin energy, making it valuable for conditions involving Yin deficiency and common menopuase symptoms, which may manifest as hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability.
Digestive Health: Chinese yam is used to treat diarrhea and other digestive issues, especially when the digestive weakness is due to a deficiency of Qi and Yin.
Contraindications: Do not take when suffering from indigestion, a full or bloated abdomen, poor appetite, or when your tongue has a thick, greasy coating. Eating more than 3/4 cup (200 g) of cooked yams could lead to intestinal distention. Do not consume raw.
Chinese yam can be consumed in various forms, such as dried or fresh yam, teas, tinctures, and supplements. It is often used as a single herb or included in herbal formulations to address specific health concerns.
Chinese dates jujubes for navigating menopause
Chinese dates, also known as jujubes, has been cultivated in China for thousands of years. They differ from the common date fruit (Phoenix dactylifera) found in Middle Eastern cuisine. Chinese dates come from the Ziziphus jujuba plant and have a unique flavor and a range of culinary and medicinal uses.
Here are some key aspects of Chinese dates:
Flavor and Taste: Chinese dates have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor. They are often described as having a taste similar to apples or dates.
Medicinal Uses: In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chinese dates tonify Qi (vital energy), nourish the Blood, and harmonize the Spleen and Stomach. Practitioners use them in herbal formulations to address issues like fatigue, poor digestion, and anemia.
Nutrient Content: Chinese dates are a good source of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and various minerals like potassium, iron, and phosphorus. They also contain dietary fiber and antioxidants.
Traditional Remedies: In addition to TCM, Chinese dates are used in traditional remedies in other parts of the world. They are often considered a natural remedy for ailments such as coughs, insomnia, and stress. When navigating menopause, Chinese dates, jujubes, nourish the blood and bring a glow to the skin which often becomes dry during this stage of life.
Contraindications: You should not eat Chinese dates if you have phlegm accumulation or poor appetite caused by indigestion.
Learn more about Chinese dates and recipes here.
3. Massage Key Acupressure Points on Your Ears
Auricular massage, also known as ear or auriculotherapy, is a therapeutic technique that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem that reflects the entire body. This form of massage and therapy focuses on stimulating specific points on the ear to promote healing and balance throughout the body.
Here are some key points about Chinese auricular massage:
Microsystem Concept: In TCM, the ear is considered a microsystem, with specific points on the ear corresponding to various parts of the body, including organs, systems, and meridians. Stimulating these points is believed to have a therapeutic effect on the corresponding areas of the body.
Needle or Pressure Techniques: Auricular massage can be performed using either acupuncture needles or pressure techniques, such as finger pressure or the use of small seeds or magnets on specific ear points. You can use methods such as ear seeds or beads, or just your fingers, for self-massage.
Conditions Treated: Auricular massage is used to address a wide range of health issues, including pain management, stress reduction, addiction cessation (like smoking or overeating), weight loss, insomnia, and emotional well-being. It can also be used to support overall health and wellness as you're navigating menopause.
Holistic Approach: TCM practitioners often use auricular massage as part of a holistic treatment plan. The ear is seen as a part of the whole body, and by addressing imbalances in the ear, it is believed that the entire body can be brought into balance.
Massaging your ears feels relaxing and easy to do.
Method: Massage each of the points listed 10-12 times, 2 times a day as needed to reduce symptoms.
- Massage your kidney, liver, and spleen sections.
- Massage the uterus point in triangular top of the ear.
- Hormonal glands
4. Massage Key Acupuressure Points on Your Body for Navigating Menopause
Neiguan, Pericardium 6, Inner Pass
Neiguan’s top 10 acupressure points benefits include easing all kinds of menopausal issues, in particular weakness of breath, sadness, and heart health. To illustrate, Neiguan is an essential point for:
- Heart pain
- Stuffy chest
- Disorders of heart rate and rhythm
- Angina pectoris
On the palmar aspect of the forearm, when Qu Ze connects with Daling, there is 2 cun in the transverse line of the wrist, between the long metacarpal tendon and the flexor carpi radialis tendon.
How to Massage Neiguan
1. With the right thumb, press the left hand Neiguan, while your index finger holds Waiguan point (the opposite outside point from Neiguan). Press the thumb and index finger to pinch and loosen 50 times. Change to the left hand to pinch and relase on the right hand 50 times.
2. Massage the left Neiguan point with the right thumb in a circular motion for 50 times. Repeat with the left thumb on the right Neiguan point 50 times.
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Hegu, Large Intestine 4, Joining Valley for navigating menopause
Pain comes in many forms during menopause, and Hegu serves as a powerhouse poin for relieving pain. For example, Hegu relieves:
- Pain and spasms throughout the arms
- Painful obstruction and atrophy disorder of the arms and legs
- Tendon and bone pain
- Pain in the arms
- Contraction and stiffness in the fingers
Furthermore, for optimal health, Hegu addresses disorders and problems of the face and sensory organs. Some examples include:
- Eye diseases
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Pain from tooth decay in the lower jaw
- Mouth ulcers
- Loss of voice
- Swelling of the face
Locating Hegu LI-4
In the dorsum of the hand, between the metacarpals of the thumb and index finger, at the midpoint of the radial side of the 2nd metacarpal.
How to Massage Hegu
1. With the right thumb and index finger, pinch the left hand Hegu point 50 times. Change to the left hand and knead with the right index finger and thumb 50 times.
7. Zusanli, Stomach 36, Leg Three Miles Top 10 Acupressure Points
Zusanli rises as an important acupoint for lowering deficiency fire, calming the mind, alleviating pain, strengthening the spleen and stomach for strong digestion, and fostering qi. Furthermore, this point strengthens digestion. When you process your food effectively, you can absorb nutrients essential for pain-free, healthy living.
There is a story about a 90-year-old father and his 70 plus-year-old sons being asked the secret to their longevity and great health. They said that they owed both to regular stimulation of the Zusanli acupoint.
Especially to note, Zusanli, treats stomach disorders common during menopause such as:
- Epigastric pain
- Abdominal distention and pain
- Hunger without a desire to eat
- Poor appetite
By the same token, menopausal conditions related to digestion benefit from massaging Zusanli. You will support healing for:
- Undigested food in the stools
- Heaviness in the arms and legs
- Lower abdominal pain and swelling with inability to urinate
Locating Zusanli ST-36
Sit with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, feet flat on the floor. Locate the point 3 finger widths below the knee, one finger-breadth lateral to the anterior crest of the tibia. You can stroke up the calf bone from the ankle. Where your finger starts to move out rather than up, stop and move 1 finger width out.
How to Massage Zusanli
1. Sit in bed, on a chair, or on a stool with your knees bent. Press both thumbs into the Zusanli point on each leg, while the remaining four fingers hold the calf muscles. Push hard against both points 50 times.
2. Open both palms and pat very firmly against the left and right leg Zusanli points at the same time. Pat 50 times.
5. Breathe Deeply and Do Gentle Forms of Exercise
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), gentle forms of exercise are highly valued for their role in promoting health, balance, and overall well-being. These exercises often incorporate principles of traditional Chinese philosophy, including Qi (vital energy) and the balance of Yin and Yang.
Some of the most well-known gentle exercises in TCM for navigating menopause follow. You can enjoy all of these types of exercise with Radiant Shenti and our talented teachers.
Tai Chi Tai Chi is a slow, flowing martial art that combines gentle movements with deep breathing. It is designed to balance the flow of Qi and promote harmony between Yin and Yang. Tai Chi is often practiced for its physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, including improved balance, flexibility, and stress reduction.
Qigong Qigong encompasses a wide range of exercises and practices that involve slow, mindful movements, deep breathing, and meditation. The goal of Qigong is to cultivate and balance Qi, leading to improved vitality and overall health. There are many different styles and forms of Qigong to choose from, each with specific focuses and health benefits.
Yoga While not originally from China, yoga is often incorporated into TCM practices for its gentle and meditative qualities. Yoga emphasizes stretching, flexibility, and relaxation and can be used to promote harmony and balance in the body and mind.
Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Frolics) Wu Qin Xi is a set of Qigong exercises that imitate the movements of five animals: the tiger, deer, bear, monkey, and crane. Each animal's movements are believed to have specific health benefits and can help to enhance physical fitness, flexibility, and energy flow.
Baduanjin (Eight Pieces of Brocade) Baduanjin is a set of Qigong exercises that have been practiced for centuries. It consists of eight simple movements and stretches, each targeting a different area of the body. It is a popular form of exercise for maintaining health and preventing illness.
Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa (Eighteen Therapies) This is a system of Qigong exercises designed to promote relaxation and vitality. The movements are relatively easy to learn and are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Walking Walking is considered a simple yet effective form of gentle exercise in TCM. Taking leisurely walks, particularly in natural surroundings, is believed to help harmonize Qi and promote relaxation.
Balancing and Meditative Practices Activities like meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises are also viewed as forms of gentle exercise in TCM. These practices can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.
Gentle exercises in TCM are often seen as a means of promoting harmony between the body and mind and supporting the body's natural healing abilities. They are accessible to people of various fitness levels and can be adapted to individual needs. It's important to learn these exercises from qualified instructors to ensure proper technique and maximize their health benefits.
Summary of Navigating Menopause: 5 Vital Tips to Find Relief
You have the power to prevent and treat common menopausal symptoms. Through mindset, diet, massage, and exercise, you can feel vibrant, positive, and energized each and every day
Want to learn more about using these types of practices for your daily health? Join the Radiant Shenti membership here.
Zhang, Y. (2021). Personal communication. Learn more ways to heal naturally with TCM foods in Dr. Zhang's books.