Celebrating Women’s Health through the Seasons of Life.
The subject of women’s health has many facets associated with it. Most women are unaware of all the powerful and effective ways that acupuncture can support the body as it makes its transition through life.
Understanding your Jing and its role in Women’s Health.
From a Chinese perspective, it is helpful to understand the overall cycle of women’s health, which will then explain why and how acupuncture can be so effective and how you fit in. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we are born with what is called pre-natal essence, or Jing (in Chinese). Jing is made of yin (feminine) and yang (masculine), in their most basic form. This pre-natal Jing is a finite quantity that we inherit from our parents and is stored in the kidneys.
As we grow, develop, and age, we start to tap into our Jing and it is used in cycles (which are a little different depending on if you are male or female). While we cannot ever add back to our pre-natal Jing, we can nourish it with what Chinese medicine calls post-natal Jing. This is what we get from our food, air, and water once it is converted into our bodies.
As women mature and grow through the Jing cycles, we see changes such as puberty, a menstrual cycle starting, followed by ideal child bearing years, followed by peri-menopause, and then menopause. During each cycle, when the Jing is either deficient or excess, we can see how the symptoms show up in the body and affect women’s health.
Menstruation and Women’s Health
The first significant change that we see is Menstruation. Listed below are the most common symptoms that we see when a woman has imbalances.
- Dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain/cramps)
- Irregular menstruation
- Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Headaches related to hormonal changes.
In this younger stage of life when a body is balanced, the menstrual cycle is predictable in timing, and is not painful. If the yin is deficient, then we see, pain. Typically, if it’s in excess, then we see irregularity and PMS type issues. Yin deficiency at this age can be related to stress.
This age is especially worried about image, peer pressure and relationships and the hormones are already kicking in and feel like they are wreaking havoc. We look at that imbalance and even it out, returning your loving self to your body. We will often use Chinese Herbs in conjunction with acupuncture for women’s health.
Pregnancy and Women’s Health
The next step of the cycle is the prime child bearing years, conception and pregnancy. We use acupuncture to support women through the entire cycle listed.
- Infertility (male and female)
- Morning sickness
- Pain associated with the physiological changes, i.e. back pain
- Labor and delivery pain management
- Induction of labor
- Breech presentation
- Pre and post-partum care
Treating pregnant women is a balancing process that is very delicate. We are trained to work with patients and their ob-gyn to ensure appropriate care and treatment is delivered throughout the entire pregnancy.
Menopause and Women’s Health
The last phase is Menopause. Specifically around the peri-menopause and menopause changes in the cycle, we start to experience symptoms listed.
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Hormonal surges/imbalances
- Sleep disruption (getting to sleep, or staying asleep)
- Emotional mood swings
- Reduced libido
As women, we enter a phase where we have used up the majority of our Jing from having years of periods, child-bearing and/or rearing, not to mention the self-sacrificing cultural norm that our society puts on women.
Because Jing is directly made up of the combination of yin and yang, as women age and go through their life cycle, they tend to become deficient in yin, and men tend to become deficient in yang. Symptoms of yin and Jing deficiency in women are: hot flashes, night sweats, a feeling of heat steaming from the bones, thinning of hair, frequent urination, and low libido. This is not an all-inclusive list.
As each of the organs in the body are integrally related, this deficiency will impact all of the organs in the system in a particular order. The kidneys are first to become yin deficient since they store the Jing, followed by the liver. Chinese medicine states that the kidney is the mother of the liver and when the liver is out of balance, it causes sensations of frustration, anger, irritability, and rage. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, it can also cause depression and a sense of emotional disassociation.
Regardless of where you might see yourself in this spectrum, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can support and balance your body, to alleviate symptoms.
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