Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac, Registered Acupuncturist & Arvigo®Therapy Practitioner
The 7 year cycles in TCM
By this part of the cycle development and growth has long since stopped, and women's bodies are more reliant on using their stored energies – which in TCM are known as prenatal Essence. The idea is that as women's bodies gradually start to naturally produce less Blood and Qi energy, they also instinctively know to conserve as much as they can. Stored prenatal Essence reserves are very precious. Therefore when periods eventually stop, this is seen as a body's natural conservation effort in TCM.
New Opportunity and a "Second Spring"
At mid-life, many women may have already established careers and families and now have an opportunity to establish a new sense of self if they wish. Years of experience and knowledge can now be applied in this next stage of life – this new opportunity. For some women this may mean they find in themselves a new strength, a new passion, and a new found freedom to express themselves.
This time of transition in life may still not be easy for some women, but this can also depend on how each individual approaches this and works through it. Each woman may have her share of uncertainties and fears about aging. How women view this natural transition, how they prepare for it and how they choose to help themselves through it can also influence their outlook and their menopausal symptoms (or complete lack of).
Preparing for a healthy Menopause
- Move – regular movement may mean maintaining the regular exercise that you've been doing for years or implementing healthy movement if you've tended to be more sedentary. 30 minutes of brisk walking per day is an attainable goal for many women.
- Rest – Getting enough sleep is crucial at any stage of life, but even more so in the time leading up to menopause. Healthy hormonal balance is deeply linked to our sleep cycles and our bodies are intrinsically governed by natural circadian rhythms. Sufficient sleep enables bodies to recuperate and is necessary for the healthy functioning of endocrine and nervous systems.
- Relax – simple relaxation techniques can be an effective way to combat mood swings and may even help fend off hot flushes. Simple breathing techniques are methods that can be done almost anywhere. One to try now: it can be done sitting, standing or even walking – the focus here is on the breath. First, exhale your breath completely until it feels like lungs and stomach have been emptied of breath. Next, think “inhaling” as you draw in a full fresh breath through your nose - all the way into lungs and further down into stomach. Hold only momentarily, then exhale through nose - just think “exhaling” throughout the slow exhale. The key is to consciously think of these words as you do the action, which also slows down and focuses the mind. Usually 3 of these are enough to feel a sense of re-set and refreshment.
- Refresh – hydration is always important, but even more so to maintain balance in the body during these changes. Aim for 2.5 – 3 litres of water per day, keeping in mind to drink at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Balance – Acupuncture is a natural and effective method of promoting healthy blood flow, helping the body produce endorphins to deal with streess and helping balance hormonal health by improving communication between the nervous and endocrine systems.
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