Some women coast through the experience of menopause. But many will experience a variety of symptoms that range from irritating to debilitating. If you’re struggling to cope with menopause, natural therapies including naturopathy, acupuncture and massage can help.
What happens during menopause?
Menopause is a phase of the female life cycle where menstruation ceases and the ovaries no longer have reproductive functions. It typically occurs in the late 40s or early 50s. However, some people will experience menopause later or earlier than average.
As a woman’s store of eggs in her ovaries decrease, her oestrogen levels will also decrease. It is this reduction in oestrogen that leads to symptoms. This often occurs over the period of a few years, which is referred to as peri-menopause.
During this time, menstruation can become erratic, which often results in heavy bleeds and flooding. Over the last 10 years we have been supporting women through menopause and the common symptoms experienced such as mood swings, anxiety, hot flushes, sleeping problems, weight gain and low energy levels.
However, even after menopause, the body continues to make small amounts of oestrogen by converting adrenal hormones into oestrogen. This means that the adrenals have a greater burden throughout menopause and post-menopause.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and menopause
TCM views menopause a little differently. During menopause, it is believed that a substance known as Tian Gui is depleted. Tian Gui is involved in physical reproduction, and is located around the kidneys.
Kidney energy governs processes such as growth, reproduction and ageing, and stores the energy given to us by our parents. This energy is replenished or depleted depending on the type of lifestyle choices made. It determines energy, fertility, libido, bone health, skin elasticity and hair, as well as memory and brain function.
As kidney energy declines and Tian Gui is depleted, all of these factors decline with them. If the body has issues with transitioning to a lower level, it leads to the symptoms associated with menopause.
Tips for managing menopause naturally
Looking for ways to deal with your menopausal symptoms? Every woman is individual – what works for one might not help another. But we’ve gathered the best advice for menopause from our health practitioners.
One of our naturopaths, Chantelle, is full of advice when it comes to minimising menopausal symptoms.
“Whatever you do, don’t go crazy with sugar! It will just make your energy levels even more erratic. Stress management is key, so make sure you find a form of support, whether it’s a friend, a group or a practitioner. Keeping active will help with your mood and maintaining bone density.
Menopause will often lead to an increase in weight around the abdomen, thanks to the change in oestrogen levels. This weight tends to be harder to shift – you can’t just go on a 6-week diet and expect to lose it like you could in your 20s! So if you’re struggling to shift the weight, seek help from a naturopath.”
Our resident acupuncturist, Karolina, has plenty of tips for managing menopause.
“Often, it requires a complete change of food and lifestyle. Reducing stress, alcohol and coffee consumption is the first step. Try slower forms of exercise such as tai chi or Pilates to move the body gently. Get more sleep if you are particularly tired. You’ll also want to boost your vegetable intake, particularly bitters, as they help the body to cool down and dispel heat.”
Remedial massage can also play a supporting role. Our remedial massage therapist Sam says, “Massage can be a great help when it comes to reducing stress levels and calming the nervous system.”
This stage of your life can be a daunting time for women. We often hear how ‘I just don’t feel like myself anymore’ from many of our clients. Navigating it on your own can leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed.
Our practitioners are here to help you get back to your normal self again.
Please get in touch with any of our practitioners to discuss ways we can help you.