By Ashley Oberbroeckling, M.Ac, L.Ac, L.M.T
Menopause is often referred to as “the change of life” it is the time that marks the end of a woman's reproductive cycling. Typically menopause occurs between 45-55 years. Menopause is usually a dreaded time for women. More than 80% of women going through menopause experience uncomfortable symptoms. Acupuncture treatments can provide a much smoother transition. Acupuncture is beneficial for women who may be going through menopause and dealing with symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue. As women approach menopause, their oestrogen and progesterone levels begin to slowly decrease, this change in hormones is what causes symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. If the night sweats begin affecting the sleep, fatigue and irritability will be the next symptoms to follow. Acupuncture helps decrease or eliminate these symptoms by balancing the hormones and increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine (our body’s natural feel good hormones).
Traditional Chinese Medicine views menopause as being a deficiency of yin. Throughout the years, a woman’s body endures a lot. The menstrual cycle, childbirth, grief, stress, taking care of others, all of these expend a women’s yin. The kidney is considered the key organ when addressing symptoms of menopause. The Kidneys house the body’s essence. This means that there is essence reserves that were passed down through our parents and essence that we acquire by lifestyle choices and diet. It is important to build and nourish our kidney essence to have a strong kidney energy to be able to better balance and offset the natural decline due to age. Acupuncture helps to nourish and balance yin and restore the body’s energy reserves. An acupuncturist can treat each case individually and take into account lifestyle, diet, past medical history and current symptoms and compile a treatment protocol specific to each patient. Not every woman going through menopause will have the same treatment protocol because it is individualized case by case. Acupuncture treatments are typically relaxing and people leave feeling refreshed and calm.
Very fine needles are inserted into acupuncture points and stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain and works to re-establish the flow of energy throughout the body. Menopause does not have to be a dreaded time for women. With the help of acupuncture and some dietary or lifestyle modifications, menopause can be easily managed and less stressful. With regular acupuncture visits and the use of alternative therapies, the body can feel well nourished and balanced. It is important to invest in your health and well being so that you can be the best version of yourself.