Chinese Medicine look at Menopausal Symptoms

Chinese Medicine for Menopausal Symptoms

menopause

Menopause is something which affects all women as they reach middle age. For some, it is an easy process but for others, it is a difficult time as changing hormone levels can cause both physical and emotional symptoms.

The most common symptoms relating to menopause are:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease

In western medical terms, these symptoms are a result of falling levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen. According to Chinese medicine, it is due to a decline in Kidney-yin and something known as “essence”. To fully understand this, first we need to take a look at the ancient, oriental theory of yin and yang.

Yin and Yang

In Asian philosophy, yin and yang are two complementary but opposite forces of nature. Yin represents darkness, night-time, stillness, coolness, water and femininity. Yang represents light, daytime, activity, heat, fire and the masculinity.

These two forces are present within our bodies as well as in the outside world. As long as they are in balance and harmony, we will be fit and healthy. However, if something causes them to become imbalanced for any reason, this is when problems/issue occurs.

In the body, the Kidneys are seen as the source of all of our yin and yang energy. This is because in Chinese medicine, the Kidney system includes the reproductive organs and the adrenal glands as well as the kidneys themselves. Kidney-yang provides warmth and energy for all of the other organs to carry out their vital functions, whereas Kidney-yin acts as a cooling system, preventing them from overheating.

Kidney Essence and the Menopause

The Kidneys also have the important function of storing essence. This is a substance which controls our growth, development, reproduction and aging process. According to the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic (one of the oldest texts on Chinese medicine), a woman’s essence follows seven year cycles throughout her life.

At the age of 14 (2×7 years) her essence is strong enough to trigger puberty and menstruation begins. At the age of 28 (4×7 years) a woman is seen as being at her physical peak, and by the age of 49 (7×7 years) her essence is beginning to decline and she stops menstruating.

Essence is yin in nature, so as this declines, so does a woman’s Kidney-yin. This leaves a relative imbalance between the yin and yang of the Kidneys. Without yin to cool and control it, yang can become overactive causing symptoms such as heat, dryness and restlessness. Hyperactive yang flares upwards causing hot flushes and sweating, and the lack of yin makes it difficult to sleep at night.

Because the Kidneys are closely related to the Liver, this deficiency of yin can also have a knock-on effect on this organ. If Liver-yin also becomes deficient, there may be symptoms such as joint pain, headaches and irritability.

In this situation, there is no more yang in the body than there was before the menopause, but because there is not enough yin, this causes a relative excess. Therefore, the aim of treatment is to nourish the yin of the Kidneys so that it is strong enough to restore balance throughout the body.

Acupuncture Points for Menopausal Symptoms

The most common acupuncture points used to treat menopausal symptoms are those which nourish the Kidney system and strengthen Kidney-yin. Extra points can be added depending on each patient’s constitution and individual symptoms.

Some of the most commonly used acupuncture points for menopause include:

menopause fan

  • Kidney 1 (Yongquan) – nourishes the Kidney and descends qi downwards
  • Kidney 3 (Taixi) – nourishes the Kidneys
  • Kidney 6 (Zhaohai) – nourishes the Kidneys, specifically Kidney-yin
  • Kidney 10 (Yingu) – nourishes the Kidneys, specifically Kidney-yin
  • Bladder 23 (Shenshu) – nourishes the Kidneys
  • Liver 3 (Taichong) – nourishes the Liver
  • Liver 8 (Ququan) – nourishes the Liver, specifically Liver-yin
  • Gallbladder 20 (Fengchi) – descends qi downwards and relieves headaches
  • Spleen 6 (Sanyinjiao) – nourishes yin of the Kidneys, Liver and Spleen
  • Pericardium 7 (Daling) – nourishes yin and balances the emotions

Chinese Herbs for Menopausal Symptoms

Herbal formulae for menopause are also aimed at nourishing the Kidneys, supporting yin and supplementing essence. One of the most common prescriptions for nourishing the Kidneys is called “rehmannia six flavor combination”. The ingredients of this famous herbal medicine are:

  • Prepared rehmannia root (Shu Di Huang)
  • Cornus officianalis fruit (Shan Zhu Yu)
  • Chinese yam rhizome (Shan Yao)
  • Poria fungus (Fu Ling)
  • Water plantain root (Ze Xie)
  • Tree peony root (Mu Dan Pi)

Other herbs can be added or substituted depending on individual symptoms and constitutional needs.

On your initial consultation, your acupuncturist will discuss your symptoms with you in detail before deciding on the best course of action. They may also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to help you to manage your symptoms between treatments.

For women, menopause is a fact of life. However, with Chinese medicine, it needn’t be a nightmare. So if you are suffering from menopausal symptoms, why not give it a try and see how it could benefit you?

menopause sign

DISCLAIMER

Any new change should be consulted with medical practitioner 

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

 

nDō : management of Endometriosis and dysmenorrhea

Endometriosis is a pelvic inflammatory process with altered immune surveillance in the local peritoneal microenvironment. A local inflammatory microenvironment will sustain the growth and maintenance of endometriosis through endometrial-peritoneal adhesion, invasion, angiogenesis, and proliferation. The inflammation process in endometriosis causes pelvic pain and infertility, two major symptoms of endometriosis.

nDō is an evidence-based Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulation that has been shown to be effective in the management of Endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and reproductive diseases compromising female fertility. This formula targets multiple therapeutic pathways and provides powerful analgesic properties, reduces inflammation, promotes anti-angiogenic activity, and modulates the immune system.

Primary Indications

• Endometriosis, • Dysmenorrhea, • Infertility

Signs / Symptoms

  • Pain lower abdomen abdominal fullness / cramping lower back, pelvis, rectum, or vagina
  • Dyspareunia
  • Ovulation pain
  • Painful passage of stools
  • Menstrual abnormalities PMS
  • Irregular menstruation, painful menstruation spotting
  • Passage of clots
  • Headache

Primary Action

• Analgesic

• Anti-spasmodic

• Anti-coagulant

• Anti-inflammatory

• Anti-adhesive

• Anti-angiogenesis

• Anti-metastatic

• Anti-proliferative

• Antioxidant

• Immunomodulatory

• Promotes blood circulation

Ingredients

Foeniculi Fructus (Xiao hui xiang)
Zingiberis Rhizoma (Gan jiang)
Corydalis Rhizoma (Cu yan hu suo)
Myrrha (Mo yao)
Chuanxiong Rhizoma (Chuan xiong)
Angelica Sinensis Radix (Dang gui)
Radix Paeoniae Rubra (Chi shao)
Cortex Cinnamomi (Rou gui)
Typhae Pollen (Pu huang)
Vaccariae semen (Wang Bu Liu Xing)
Dosage

Adult Dosage: 3 capsules twice day.

If severe: 3 capsules 3 times a day for 6 weeks then reduce to 2 twice daily for another 6 weeks.

 

Combinations

High oestrogen: combine with anti-EST: 2 – 4 capsules daily

Puerarin: 1 capsule a day

 

Contraindications

Contraindicated during pregnancy

Not recommended for use if there is excessive / heavy menstruation bleeding

Not recommended with anti-coagulant therapy

 

information gathered from Panaxea website https://au.panaxea.com/ndo.html

Chinese Herbal medicine for high blood pressure

Chinese Herbal medicine for high blood pressure:HYPERTENSION high blood pressure

The herbal formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can sometimes be of assistance for regulating high blood pressure. The key to success in using TCM for high blood pressure is to make sure that the herbs you use, are unique for your combination of symptoms.

Don’t be surprised if your conventionally educated doctor is skeptical of using TCM as part of your plan to control hypertension. It’s not something they teach in medical school (at least not outside of China). However, both acupuncture and 17 different Chinese herbal medicines have been tested in 73 clinical trials involving 8,138 patients. In these studies, several findings stand out:

  • Chinese herbal formulas that are prepared by companies that use Good Manufacturing Practices are safe. None of the 73 clinical studies of professionally prepared Chinese herbal formulas reported any serious side effects.
  • Chinese herbal formulas do not make a huge difference in blood pressure numbers. The 13 herbal formulas found to be generally effective lowered systolic blood pressure (the higher number or first number) by 3.94 to 13.50 mm Hg. They lowered diastolic blood pressure (the lower number or second number) by 2.28 to 11.25 mm Hg. This means they  aren’t strong enough to reduce blood pressure for severe hypertension, but they may save you having to take prescription medication if you have “borderline” high blood pressure.
  • Chinese herbal formulas get results comparable to prescription medications. For example, one study compared a calcium channel blocker, nifedipine, with an over the counter Chinese herbal product Quan Tianma. There were no more incidents of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, transient ischemic attack, kidney failure, or retinopathy among hypertensives who were treated with Quan Tianma than with people who were treated with nifedipine. 

high blood pressure 2Your results depend on whether the formula you take matches your symptoms. Chinese herbal formulas that treat hypertension are never just about hypertension. They are for lowering your blood pressure while treating your other symptoms.  Of course, certain symptom patterns are more common than others so certain herbal formulas are more commonly prescribed.

  • A survey of doctors in Taiwan found that the most often used herbal formula for high blood pressure is a combination called Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin.  In English, this formula is usually called Gastrodia and Uncaria Decocotion. Clinical trials confirm that it lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. Researchers have confirmed that it acts as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, in much the same way as the prescription drugs lisinopril or ramipril, but without their side effects. It usually gets results in about 10 days, but there is a major contraindication: Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin can increase insulin resistance. This means that it can aggravate prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. You should not take this product if you have problems with blood sugar control.
  • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is not frequently prescribed, but it may be added to treatment with Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin when there are weak pulses in the hands or feet. Laboratory experiments have confirmed that it prevents the formation of blood clots. This well-known formula is sometimes called “Drive Out Stasis” in the Mansion of Blood Decoction, referring to its ability to reinvigorate the flow of blood throughout the body.
  • The second most frequently prescribed herbal product for hypertension in Taiwan is a single herb called Dan Shen. It is also known by its botanical name, Salvia miltiorrhiza. Even though Taiwanese physicians prescribe Dan Shen to about 17% of their hypertensive patients, over 500,000 times per year, there have been no reported side effects in over 50 years. Clinical trials have confirmed that it lowers blood pressure, prevents blood clots, and slows down the process of atherosclerosis. It is often used for people who have high blood pressure and already have heart disease or hardening of the arteries in the brain, because laboratory studies confirm that it improves microcirculation through the capillaries of the heart and brain. However, it should not be used with aspirin (which makes it less effective), warfarin/Coumadin (because the herb and the drug used together have an excessive anticoagulant effect), ginseng (because the two herbs have opposing effects), or the tranquilizer diazepam (because Dan Shen increases the activity of liver enzymes that break down diazepam).
  • Gou Teng San, which is also known as Uncaria Powder, is a headache remedy that is also prescribed for high blood pressure. It would be most often prescribed when a patient complains of headache, dizziness, and/or blurred vision, and the doctor notices that blood pressure is high. Clinical studies confirm that it lowers blood pressure. The formula is also used to treat dementia, but the fact that you are prescribed it does not mean you have dementia.
  • Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, which is also known as Augmented Rambling Powder, is primarily a treatment for problems associated with menopause, especially insomnia and hot flushes. This formula is most likely to be used to treat “borderline” high blood pressure in women going through menopause. The formula  is modification with the addition of herbs  “Rambling” Powder, so named because it allowed younger women to ramble freely during their painful periods. 
  • The single herb Gou Gen (Uncaria) is used to treat high blood pressure in those relatively rare people who are truly salt sensitive. It’s also used to treat “phlegm,” which roughly corresponds to health problems that result from years of misdirected energy. If you are overweight, and having problems with cholesterol and blood sugars, then this herb might be helpful for you.

All of these herbal products are readily available from Chinese herbal practitioners. You should always seek the advice of a registered practitioner for the most safe and accurate diagnosis. For your health safety and peace of mind, your Chinese Medicine Practitioner should be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Remember, a treatment for high blood pressure has to lower your blood pressure. Take your blood pressure readings regularly and any medications your doctor prescribes. Use Chinese herbal medicine to make that critical difference that keeps your cardiovascular system healthy.

DISCLAIMER

Any new changes should be consulted with your medical practitioner 

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog. If you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Staying Healthy Through the Winter

Staying Healthy Through the Winter

 According to traditional Chinese medicine, each season is associated with a particular element. Winter is associated with water element, the source of all life. Although it is a time when the trees have lost their leaves and the earth is cold and hard, there is still life lying dormant, just beneath the surface.

Bugs are sleeping underground, waiting to emerge in the springtime, and the trees are storing energy in preparation to send out new shoots and leaves. Winter is a time to rest, take stock and recharge your batteries. It is a time of stillness, but also a time of great potential with the promise of new life just around the corner.

Because of this, it is very important that you take care of yourself throughout the winter. By adopting good habits now, you will be replenishing your energy reserves and preparing your body for a healthy year ahead.

The Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Winter and the water element are associated with the Kidneys in Chinese medicine. The Kidneys have many important functions within the body. They are responsible for birth, growth and reproduction, and also govern the aging process among other things.

In Chinese medicine, the Kidneys are said to store a substance known as “essence”. Essence is partly inherited from your parents at birth. It then gradually declines over the course of your lifetime, causing the classic signs of aging.

If your parents were strong and healthy at the time of your conception, then your essence will be plentiful and you will be well placed to live a long and healthy life. However, essence is also influenced by all the things that you do from birth onwards. Diet, exercise and lifestyle all have an effect, and the decisions you make throughout your life will either preserve your essence or cause it to be used up more quickly.

You can take care of your essence by eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting enough sleep, taking regular exercise and keeping a good work-life balance. Things that cause essence to burn up more quickly include a poor diet, smoking, alcohol and drugs, and excessive sexual activity.

As well as storing essence, the Kidneys are seen as the source of all yin and yang within the body. They provide all of the other organs with enough warmth to carry out their physiological functions, while cooling them to prevent overheating. The Kidneys are also said to govern water as they are responsible for expelling liquid waste and controlling urination.

Other functions of the Kidneys include maintaining the health of the bones and the brain, opening into the ears to aid hearing, and keeping the hair thick and strong. The Kidneys are also said to house willpower, and are often seen as a physical and emotional driving force, giving us the motivation we need to push forward in life when the going gets tough.

Taking Care of Your Kidneys

With so many important functions, it is obvious that you should be taking good care of your Kidneys. Here are some suggestions to help you ensure that your Kidneys stay healthy throughout the winter and the rest of the year.

Keep Warm

It is very important to stay warm throughout the winter months to keep your Kidneys functioning well. Wear layers when you go outside, and pay special attention to the Kidney area and the lower back. Be sure to choose sweaters that are long enough to cover your whole back, and if it is especially cold, you can even wrap a scarf around your waist. This is particularly useful if you suffer from lower back pain or are trying to get pregnant.

Rest Well

According to Chinese medicine, you should go to bed earlier and get up later during the winter months when it is cold and dark. This may not be very practical in reality, but you can take steps to ensure that you are getting enough rest by going to bed when you are tired and treating yourself to a lie-in at weekends.

Avoid Dehydration

The Kidneys do not function well if your body is too dry, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids, even in winter. Avoid activities that make you sweat, and if you do, be sure to rehydrate afterwards. You can also keep your home hydrated by using a humidifier, placing small bowls of water next to radiators or allowing laundry to air dry naturally indoors.

Eat for Your Kidneys

The best foods for nourishing your Kidneys are dark or black in colour. Some good examples are black beans, black rice, black olives, soy sauce, blackberries and blueberries. It is best to cook meat slowly on the bone, and small fish with edible bones are also very good for your Kidneys. Bone broth is another great Kidney nourishing food. It is simple to make and packed with nutrients.  It is also beneficial for your Kidneys if you add a little salt to your meals. Choose a high quality, natural sea salt and don’t overdo it. If you suffer from high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first.

Book an Acupuncture Appointment

Winter is the perfect time to treat yourself to a relaxing acupuncture appointment. Your acupuncturist can choose points to support your Kidney function and keep your body warm throughout the colder months.

Try Chinese Herbs

There are many different Chinese herbs that nourish the Kidneys and supplement essence. Your acupuncturist will prescribe the most appropriate blend for you depending on your individual constitution and symptoms.

Essential Oils to help relieve stress

Essential Oils to help relieve stressoil

Essential oils are natural oils extracted from a vast array of plants. These essential oils are used to assist and manage mild anxiety. Essential oils have been found to have a enormous effect on the mind, heart rate, and all other body systems. For centuries, many cultures have utilised essential oils for mild anxiety as to calm them down and help relieve stress.  The oils have aromatic particles that stimulate brain function and affect the regions that govern feelings, anxiety, stress, and panic.

Which Essential Oils to help relieve stress

The Practitioners of essential oils use varied and eclectic types of essential oils for various purposes. The following essential oils have been utilised for mild anxiety:

Lavender oil – Has a calming effect, help to restore the nervous system and assist people to remain at peace with themselves.

Rose flower oil –used to calm down anxious people because it helps the emotional heart to settle.

Ylang Ylang oil – is used for those who have mild depression and mild anxiety. It has both an uplifting and a calming effect.

Bergamot oil – has a floral taste and is commonly used to assist with mild depression, reduce agitation and induce relaxation.

Chamomile oil –Calming gentle scent and can be used to reduce irritability, mild anxiety, overthinking and worry.

Frankincense oil – it is commonly used to for anxiety and depression as it provides a calming effect and deepens meditation.

oils

DISCLAIMER

Any new change should be consulted with medical practitioner 

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Intermittent Fasting, what is it all about?

Intermittent Fasting, what is it all about?intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not say anything about which foods to eat (wholesome food would be ideal), but rather when you should eat them. There are numerous different intermittent fasting approaches, all of which split either the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods. You will find that most people already “fast” every day, while they asleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fasting for a little longer. This can be achieved by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm.

Then you’re technically fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method. Despite what you may think, intermittent fasting is easy to do. Many people report feeling better and having more energy during a fast.

Hunger is usually not that big of an issue, although it can be a problem in the beginning, while your body is getting used to not eating for extended periods of time. Make sure plenty fluids are consumed and No food is allowed during the fasting period.  To assist the fast, you can drink plenty of water, black coffee and herbal teas. Taking supplements or herbal medicine is generally allowed while fasting, if there are no calories in them

 

 

Intermittent Fasting Changes the Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones

Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.

Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits

Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells

 

Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fatintermittent fasting 2

Generally intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals.

End up taking in fewer calories.

Enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

 

And, according to Clark in body and soul website , the positive changes that occur when you fast are: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au

  • Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which improves blood glucose control and facilitates fat burning.
  • Blood levels of the human growth hormone increases, which helps facilitate fat burning and muscle growth.
  • The body undergoes important cellular repair processes – such as removal of waste products from cells.
  • Decrease in triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, which are all associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Beneficial changes in gene expression, related to longevity and protection against inflammation and disease.

 

 

Exercise can still be done with Intermittent Fasting

Maintaining a consistent exercise routine is important for your health — both physical and mental .

So if you’re following an Intermittent fasting  plan, here are the best ways to structure your workouts so you can still get great results:

1. Keep cardio low-intensity if you’ve been fasting.

2. Go high-intensity only after you’ve eaten

3. “Feast” on high-protein meals.

4. Remember: Snacks are your friend.

 

DISCLAIMER

Any new diet change should be consulted with medical practitioner 

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine