Applying Chinese Medicine to Manage Menopause
By Dr. Misha Cohen

In Chinese Medicine, the symptoms of menopause - hot flashes, palpitations, emotionality, depression, vaginal dryness, change in libido, urinary problems and changes in skin texture are associated with Deficient Kidney Yin; Deficient Liver Xue; Deficient Kidney Yang; and Deficient Yin and Yang of Kidney. However, it is important to stress that menopause is not a disease or a disorder - it is part of the natural progress of life. Much physical and/or emotional discomfort associated with menopause can be eased or eliminated.

Managing Menopausal Symptoms
Peri-menopausal and menopausal women should be vigilant about having regular mammograms and Pap smears (even after the period has stopped), as well as cardiovascular check-ups.
The smartest approach to menopause is to try the least harsh, most natural treatments first -- that means:
• An appropriate, healthy diet -- avoiding caffeine;
• The introduction of or increase of supplements, particularly vitamins;
• The reduction of stress levels;
• Increased aerobic exercise; and.
• Smoking cessation - smoking is the single worst trigger of symptoms
• The use of acupuncture, herbs and, massage
Dietary Guidelines
Some foods contain phyto-estrogen, which can help ease the symptoms of menopause caused by lack of estrogen. Food that have been found to raise blood levels of estrogen include soya flour, tofu, linseed oil and red clover sprouts. Foods high in calcium and magnesium are recommended as well. Dietary fat should be kept low, especially during peri-menopause.
An Exercise Plan
Weight-bearing exercise is an important part of any peri-menopausal or menopausal program. It is associated with increased calcium uptake and increased bone density. It’s important to work both the lower and upper body. Aerobic exercise is also highly recommended (remember, heart disease is the major killer of women over 50.)
Soaks and Compresses
For hot flashes, try the following peppermint cooling soak.

Peppermint Cooler To Dispel Heat
1/2 gallon of peppermint tea
made with 1/2 fresh peppermint
1 tub full of cool water

1. If you can buy, or grow fresh peppermint that is the best. Boil 1/2 cup in a gallon of water for 10 minutes.
2. Draw a cool bath and add the boiled peppermint tea, strained, to the tub.
3. Slip in and soak until you begin to feel cool. Don’t wait until you are cold.
If peppermint is not available, use spearmint instead.

Complementary and Alternative Health Web Sites

Some helpful Web links to aid you in your quest for complementary and alternative approaches to managing your health:

Acupuncture Today -- http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/
Doc Misha’s Chinese Chicken Soup Medicine - http://www.docmisha.com/
Feminist Women’s Health Center -- http://www.fwhc.org/
National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine -- http://nccam.nih.gov/
Quan Yin Healing Arts Center -- http://www.quanyinhealingarts.com/


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