Acupuncture for Menopause, An Alternative Treatment That Works
Acupuncture is not a conventional treatment used by most doctors to treat women going through menopause. However, Dr. Feng Liang of the Fifth Avenue Acupuncture & Herbs Center has used this treatment effectively coupled with Chinese herbs to treat women who are going through menopause. Menopause is a transitional period in which the functions of the ovaries deteriorate gradually to the point of total loss. The ovaries gradually reduce their production of the female hormone estrogen. Menopause can also happen abruptly when the ovaries have been surgically removed.
The menopausal syndrome occurs at the woman’s age of 45 to 55 (earlier or later in some cases). Their menstrual periods begin to taper off until stop completely. The cutback in hormone for some women has no major effects except the cessation of the period. But for many others, they suffer from a number of symptoms including hot flashes, feverish sensation in palms and soles, sweating, dryness (dry eyes, mouth, skin, hair, nails, and vaginal walls.), dizziness, palpitation, mood swings (depression and irritation), sleep disturbances, tinnitus, hair loss, distress in the lower back and knees, brittle bones (osteoporosis), edema, fatigue, and etc.
The conventional treatment of menopause is estrogen replacement therapy. However, the research proves that there are some risks (side effect) associated with this therapy. The most feared consequences of this therapy are: High risk of getting cancer of the uterus and cancer of the breast. Estrogen supplements also increase the chance of developing gallbladder diseases, hypertension, migraine headaches, edema, weight changes, mental depression, and hepatic tumor.
As an alternative to estrogen supplements therapy, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) demonstrates the remarkable curative effect and no side effect for treating the menopause. Today, many women are open-minded to the Traditional Chinese Medicine. The frequently asked question is: Can Traditional Chinese Medicine replace estrogen supplement therapy? The answer is affirmative. Not only the Traditional Chinese Medicine relieves the symptoms quickly, but also it can improve the general well-being of patients. With the time of treatment, a feeling of rejuvenation will be noticed: the rich of energy, the more youthful appearance, the smooth skin, the shine hair, the better sexual life, and the strong bone. The next question is: How does Traditional Chinese Medicine treat menopausal syndrome? How long will the treatment take?
First of all, let us examine according to TCM why women go through menopause:
1. the dwindling of kidney Chi (kidney Yin or kidney Yang and congenital essence, which is considered as a basic material that will keep kidney chi function well,
2. the emptiness of the Ren channel and Chong channel – the two important channels that support and nourish the reproductive organs,
3. the exhaustion of “Tian Qui” (female hormone)
4. the disorder of the liver Chi and the spleen Chi,
5. the deficiency of blood.
There are two types of menopause clinically in the view of TCM.
1. Yin-deficiency of the kidney
Its clinical manifestation are: Heat syndrome due to kidney yin-deficiency and the decline moisture and blood. If kidney yin is insufficient, it cannot restrain yang, thus resulting in the relative excessive of yang, debilitating hyperactivity and production of endogenic heat (the deficiency of fire type). The patient will suffer from the feverish sensation in the chest, palms and soles, and hot flush on the face with perspiration (especially night sweating). The endogenic heat can also invade the liver channel, cause the disorder of the liver chi (the depression of liver chi). It is indicated by anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances. Dryness symptoms: dry eyes, skin, mouth, hair, nails, vaginal tissue and constipation will be developed due to the yin deficiency and the declining moisture and blood. Yin-deficiency of the kidney leads to the lack of essence which will not nourish the head properly, the patient will have dizziness, tinnitus, and hair loss. If the kidney yin is weak to a certain degree, it will not tonify the bone sufficiently, the complains of distress in the lower back and knee will be manifested and the bones are easy to break (osteoporosis). As the result of the decline of the blood, the patient often has fatigue and feels palpitation. Because of the kidney-yin deficiency and the heat consume the yin, the patient can have constipation and less urine with dark yellow color. The menstruation can be preceded or delayed, the bleeding could be light or heavy with scarlet color. The patient’s pulse is rapid and thready, the tongue is red with little coating.
The treatment principles for this kind of menopause are: strengthen the kidney yin and kidney essence, nourish the blood, clear the heat of deficiency type, regulate liver chi and tranquilize the mind.
2. Yang-deficiency of the kidney.
Its clinical manifestations are: Weakness and cold syndrome due to kidney yang deficiency.
If kidney yang is deficient, it cannot warm up the body, the patient will have cold limb and aversion to cold. However, fewer patients may have hot flashes, perspiration and dryness symptom due to kidney yang deficiency. The reason is when the kidney yang is weak, the spleen chi is affected, the spleen cannot transform food and fluid into the yin essences required to generate moisture and blood, so patients will suffer from dryness symptom, and the genuine yang leave its proper place in the lower burner (the lower body), floating upward and outward in the form of flushing and perspiration. The difference from the other type of menopause is: the patient have cold limbs and pale gloomy complexion even though with hot flash in the face, and the sweating is cold, this condition in Chinese medicine is named “Floating-yang”.
Because of kidney yang deficiency and the spleen chi weakness, the patients will look weary, have frequent but incontinent urination at night, have poor appetite, have stomach gas all the time and loose stool. They will suffer from the general edema, extremely fatigue, the hair falling and less desire for sex. The menses will be heavy, the blood color is light and dim. The tongue is pale, thick and tender with teeth mark on its margin. The coating of the tongue is thin and white.
The treatment principles for this type of menopause are: warm the kidney yang, strengthen the spleen chi and nourish the blood.
The treatments include acupuncture and herb medicine.
The acupuncture can adjust and enhance the organs function by stimulate their channels (There are certain points on every channels). It can balance yin and yang, regulate chi and blood, improve blood circulation. Depend on the treatment principle we discussed above, we can choose the points on the kidney channel, the spleen channel, the liver channel and the heart channel. The acupuncture treatment usually will be set up 14 to 20 sections. It is not only helpful for relief the symptoms directly but also have additive effect with herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine, the effective and safe way for treating menopause, is a good replacement treatment to estrogen therapy. According to the research findings, most herbs which can tonify the kidney have hormone like effect. As we know, the cause of the menopause is the weakness of kidney chi (kidney yin or kidney yang) and kidney essence. So the treatment will nourish the kidney yin or kidney yang and tonify the kidney essence. According to the disorder of the related organs (the liver, the spleen, the heart), the treatment also will soothe the liver chi, strengthen the spleen chi, and nourish heart blood as well as tranquilize the mind.
If you get a good herb formulae that is prescribed particularly for your condition, your discomforts from menopause will be subsided or disappeared in about 2 to 3 months . I suggest that you take the herbal medicine at least one year to ensure of your kidney, liver, spleen, and heart function normal. If you can continue take the herbs for another year or two, I am sure that you will find some dramatic changes in your body, Chinese call it rejuvenation.
Is herbal medicine safe for taking a long period of time? Yes. Herbal medicine has been used for 5,000 years in China . A good formulae can treat the problem and has almost no side effects. It is proved by ¼ of the world population. Chinese medicine become more and more popular in western country because of that. Most of Chinese herbal medicine are plants (some are animals and minerals). Most of the herbs are non-toxic naturally. Even one single herb has toxicity, but not toxic if treated with other herbs. The menopause syndrome is a weakness syndrome in the view of Chinese medicine. We choose nourish herbs for this condition. Those herbs have no harm to human body. Patients can take it for a long period of time without worry about the side effect if a good formulae is prescribed. How to get a good formulae? Select an educated and experienced herbalist is a best solution. Referral through a friend (word by mouth) is a good way to find the best herbalist. I recommend that select the herbalist with formal training in traditional Chinese Medicine from Chinese Colleges (4 to 5 years training), with NCCA certificate for Chinese Herbology (This is a national examination in the States for qualified herbalist) and with minimum 8 to 10 years practical experience.
Many menopause women may suffering from certain of inflammation in the joints. This could appear as knee pain, elbow pain shoulder joint pain , wrist pain and finger joints pain. This is a result of lack of estrogen. So when I treat this type of patients with joint pain, I will suggest them to take natural supplement include Chinese herbs for supporting estrogen level in the body. The results are extremely good and the pain can be under controlled much quicker.
I have been very successful in treating variety of patients with different health condition include menopause syndrome. If you already suffered from menopause and you do not want to take estrogen or by some reason you can not take the estrogen, I would be very glad to help you.