The symptoms of menopause vary greatly between different women but generally include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, dryness of the skin, soreness of the low back and knees, and gradual weakening of the bones leading to osteoporosis. From a western medical perspective, these symptoms are caused by a decline of the female sex hormones, especially estrogen.
Menopause – The Eastern Perspective
The Chinese Medical paradigm offers another viewpoint to explain the origin of menopausal symptoms. From this perspective, the fundamental changes that occur during menopause are attributed to a decline of the energy of the kidneys. Chinese medicine attributes specific functions to each organ, which sometimes differ from the western understanding. In Chinese Medical theory, the kidneys are responsible for growth, maturation, and aging. The kidneys also govern the bones, the ears, and help provide energy for the proper function of all other organs. Therefore, it is clear that the aging process has much to do with the kidneys, with typical symptoms of weakening bones, hearing loss, and general decline of physiological function.
The primary diagnostic pattern in menopause is deficiency of the Kidney Yin. The yin is responsible for the physical structure of the body as well as the hormonal balance. Yin has a cooling and sedating effect; therefore, deficiency of yin leads to feelings of heat (hot flashes) and agitation (insomnia, mood swings).
There are a number of additional diagnostic patterns in addition to Kidney Yin deficiency that manifest in menopausal women. Acupuncturists use differential diagnosis to determine which patterns should be treated for each individual, as all patients are unique and require specific treatment for their individual presentations.
Among these additional diagnostic patterns is Liver Qi Stagnation, which causes irritability, anger, headaches, generalized pain, and digestive disharmony. Another concurrent pattern can be Kidney Yang deficiency, which leads to fatigue, swelling, urinary frequency and incontinence, as well as soreness of the lower back and knees. Blood deficiency can be present, manifesting with dizziness, pale complexion, difficulty falling asleep, and dry skin.
Acupuncture For Menopause
Acupuncture for menopause is extremely effective for reducing symptoms and improving sleep, temperature regulation, and mood stabilization. Acupuncture for menopause involves treatment of specific acupoints that stimulate the function of the organs responsible for the various symptoms. Each individual receives a specialized treatment tailored to their underlying patterns. Treatment is aimed at the relief of symptoms as well as the correction of the imbalances that gave rise to the symptoms in order to create long-lasting shifts that improve the quality of life. Schedule your acupuncture appointment at Acu-Na today.
Written by Lily Gach, L.Ac