Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women’s Health
More and more people are turning to Chinese medicine to find relief from symptoms and for healing in the long term for many health concerns. Treating women’s issues is one of the areas that Chinese medicine has been used effectively for thousands of years. Most people know about acupuncture for pain but that is really the tip of the iceberg with regard to what Chinese medicine can treat. Chinese medicine includes Chinese medical diagnosis, acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and mind body exercises such as qigong and tai chi and meditation which are used in combination depending on the condition of the patient.
Women’s Health Issues
Women’s health issues can begin during adolescence and might include weight fluctuations, skin problems, PMS, depression and anxiety, menstrual irregularities and contraception. When a woman reaches child bearing age there can be concerns with ovulation, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, and of course infertility, pregnancy and postpartum issues. During the midlife years, women can become concerned with perimenopause and menopausal issues such as hot flashes, irritability and depression, anxiety, and insomnia. After menopause, issues such as vaginal dryness, osteoporosis, loss of skin firmness and vitality can become major concerns.
Many women turn to western medicine to treat these issues but there are sometimes side effects and health repercussions to consider. From a Chinese medicine perspective women’s health and fertility is based on healthy reproductive function. Anything that disrupts that function, brings hormones to an unbalanced state, or slows down or clogs blood flow will disrupt the delicate balance in the reproductive system and cause any of the problems mentioned above. Birth control in effect, does this by suppressing hormones and blocking blood flow. For women who have been on birth control for many years it can take a long time to bring the body back to a balanced state.
Traditional Chinese medicine identifies a few differentiations to be the main causes of women’s reproductive issues. The first is kidney deficiency with possible symptoms of extreme fatigue, scanty periods, low back pain, and heat or cold. The others are blood deficiency with scanty periods, pale skin, and chilliness; liver stagnation with painful menstruation, tender breasts, irritability and heavy flow; dampness and blood stagnation can present with pain, and other various symptoms. Each can have western medical correlations with relation to hormones, thyroid and other issues. But one must remember that these are ways that Chinese medicine diagnoses and are treated with Chinese herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle changes that address all the presenting signs and symptoms.
Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Reproductive System
How do women attempt to prevent these issues from occurring and maintain a healthy reproductive system? A balanced lifestyle is key. Eating a balanced healthy diet that is right for each individual and for the season is very important. For instance, if a woman tends to get cold easily she should avoid cold, damp foods, icy drinks, and submerging in cold water. Foods that throw off the balance of gut health can easily change one’s chemistry causing imbalances in the reproductive system. Not eating too late in the evening is also beneficial for digestion as well as for sleep. Going to bed before midnight and sleeping at least 8 hours is vital for the body, its organs and immune system in order to restore itself. Exercise incorporated into one’s lifestyle will keep many systems of the body healthy whether it is running, walking, yoga, tai chi, or any other form of movement. Besides the physical benefits, exercise increases endorphins which are mood enhancing hormones and help to create a state of wellbeing.
Lastly, stress reduction techniques or mind body exercises like meditation, breathing exercises, qigong and tai chi are not to be forgotten. We all have hectic lifestyles these days so it is more important than ever to stop the constant overstimulation and calm the mind and the nervous system.
A Chinese medical practitioner can help a woman find out where her imbalances are in any phase of her life. They will develop a treatment and maintenance plan incorporating acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary guidelines with food and necessary supplements, mind body exercises as well as suggestions for self-care allowing the woman to take part in her own healing and to reach her desired heath goals.
Donna Bunte MSOM, L.Ac is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese medical practitioner, herbalist, integrative nutrition health coach as well as qigong and meditation teacher. With her holistic approach to wellness Donna looks at each person uniquely finding the best treatment plan for each individual using all her tools and extensive experience to help clients achieve their health goals. Donna sees clients in person as well as by telehealth for regular coaching and via Zoom and Facebook when teaching qigong and meditation as well as group classes in cleansing and coaching.