Acupuncture and Menopause

By: Lynn Jaffee

Can problems associated with menopause be treated with acupuncture?

Yes. In fact, gynecological conditions are some of the most successfully
treated problems in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Practitioners of TCM may
use a variety of modalities, including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet therapy,
and a form of massage called Tui Na.

How are the symptoms of menopause treated differently in Traditional Chinese
Medicine than in modern medicine?

Within the framework of modern medicine, problems associated with menopause
are treated as any other disease. Its “symptoms” are treated with prescription
drugs or hormones. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, menopause is a natural part
of the aging process. Any problems associated with menopause are considered
indicators that an underlying imbalance exists. Treatment is focused on
correcting the imbalance, or the source of the problem, not just treating
outward “symptoms”.

What exactly is out of balance?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine longevity is associated with essence. Essence
is given to us by our parents at the time of conception, and provides us with
the basic energy to power all life functions, including growth, maturation, and
reproductive function. When essence is plentiful, we are able to easily recover
from illness and adapt to change. When we age, we slowly drain essence from our
body. When essence is completely depleted, we die. Some people use up essence
more quickly than others, depending on their constitution and lifestyle. Signs
that essence is declining include graying hair, loss of libido, backache,
fatigue, and of course the end of the menstrual cycle, or menopause. If a woman
has lost an inordinate amount of essence, she may experience problems during
menopause.

Another imbalance that may create problems during menopause is the slowing of
the flow of Yin. Yin is a cooling and nourishing substance in our body. Often
Yin in low in women who are experience menopausal problems such as hot flashes,
night sweats, heart palpitations, insomnia, and dry skin.

In some women, problems associated with menopause are caused by a decrease in
Yang, which is the warming and transforming substance in our body. When this
happens, women may experience water retention, weight gain, edema, indigestion,
high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Can low Essence or Yin be replaced?

Yes. While we receive essence from our parents, it can be replaced to a
certain extent. A deficiency of Yin or Yang, actually an imbalance between the
two, can also be rectified. Correcting any of these imbalances may require
acupuncture, Chinese herbs and diet and lifestyle changes.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes. When performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist, acupuncture is safe. It is
also a natural, drug-free, and effective way to address menopause.

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