Menopause… This is the natural change in a woman that usually occurs during her late 40s or early 50s, and this signifies the cessation of a woman’s reproductive ability. Aside from that, menopause comes hand in hand with various complications and unpleasant symptoms for a woman. Women going through menopause would complain about changes in their menstrual cycle, hot flashes, mood changes, sleeping problems, and more.
Do you know that 75% of American women experience noticeable menopausal discomfort, while only 10% of Asian women experience the same? Why is that? One clear answer is the food we eat. We, Americans, tend to eat food that are not healthy for us. The three leading causes of death in the US – heart attack, cancer, and stroke, are closely related to a poor diet. On the other hand, Asian cultures seem to have an inherent understanding that food and herbs can be added to their daily diet. They nourish their bodies with natural plant-based foods just as their culture has done for thousands of years.
Chinese herbs actually work well together with acupuncture when it comes to treating menopause. Acupuncture menopause treatment involves nourishing and cooling the body, and balancing to alleviate the symptoms, while Chinese herbs work to enhance the acupuncture treatments. Herbs that are used for treatment of menopause include soy foods, flaxseeds, black cohosh, and dong quai, an herb used to support and maintain the natural balance of female hormones.
A study suggests that acupuncture may help to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes among menopausal women for up to 3 months. Researchers involved with the study hypothesized that acupuncture may trigger a reduction in the concentration of beta-endorphin – a neuropeptide found in the cells of the central and peripheral nervous system – in the hypothalamus of the brain. They say lower levels of beta-endorphin may activate the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which regulates body temperature.
In Western medical practice, the symptoms of menopause are usually treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that HRT may lead to an increase in the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots. It has also been linked to gallstones and gallbladder disease. In connection with this, more and more women nowadays are turning to Chinese herbs for their treatment needs.