Acupuncture For Menopause Relief
Cold showers before bed. Collagen supplements. Cutting out nightshade vegetables. Adding in hormone replacement therapy. We’ve all likely tried a long list of possible solutions in order to reduce menopause symptoms with varying degrees of success. And while many women prefer to stick with Western medicine techniques--which is totally up to you--others are willing to venture farther afield to give acupuncture for menopause a try. Specifically, the natural alternatives to be found in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is based upon the complex system of energy circuits throughout the body, called meridians.
On Acupuncture For Menopause
Energy moves through the body along these meridians in much the same way that electrical energy moves through our houses along wires. If energy traveling via the wires servicing our homes is blocked, such as when a circuit is broken, the lights won’t work, or the TV screen goes fuzzy. A simplified look at a complex medicinal process, for sure, but it illustrates the basic premise behind what might be causing your menopause symptoms.
When it comes to humans, physical or emotional pain in our bodies or minds indicates that there is a disruption or blockage of the flow of our energy, also known as Qi. Acupuncture, acupressure, and tapping are tools used to relieve the imbalance and restore the flow of our Qi. When this is accomplished, followers of TCM have reported many beneficial outcomes, including a lessening in frequency and severity of multiple common medical complaints--and a number of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Here, we’ll take a look at three of the most prominent TCM techniques.
But before we do, please remember that it’s important to consult your doctor before embarking on any new treatment plan, even natural alternatives.
Acupuncture: Don’t Focus on the Needles, Focus on the Feels
Let’s start by clearing up one concern that we’ve heard from a number of women. Yes, acupuncture requires the use of needles. But trust licensed acupuncturist Jennifer Mason when she says the needles are “as thin as kitten whiskers.” These are not industrial-size sewing needles used to stitch up denim. Instead, they are small, thin ones that many acupuncture enthusiasts say they don’t even feel (or feel very little) when inserted.
Acupuncture Points For Menopause
Now for the thought process behind the needles. Acupuncture is a staple of TCM that, depending on who you talk to, got its start somewhere between the first century BC and the first century AD. Used to restore the flow of Qi, there are more than 400 acupuncture points on the human body, each one associated with an anatomical landmark. What happens when the needle is inserted? That’s open to debate. Practitioners of TCM will tell you the needle removes the blockage and helps to restore balance. Neuroscientists suspect acupuncture points are places where nerves, muscles, and connective tissue meet and the needles stimulate all three, producing better blood flow and activating the body’s natural pain killers.
Either way, there are many in the midst of perimenopause or menopause who claim acupuncture relieves joint pain, night sweats, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood issues.
The Ins and Outs of Acupressure
Often used in conjunction with acupuncture, acupressure is an ancient form of massage that’s been in use for more than 2,000 years. Believed to relieve the imbalance in one’s Yin and Yang, acupressure helps to restore an optimal flow of Qi. It’s also used to stimulate muscles and aid in relaxation. Many studies conducted using acupressure to relieve perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms showed it’s possible to achieve a significant decrease in both the number and severity of hot flashes, episodes of insomnia, night sweats, and incidents of anxiety.
A qualified practitioner of acupressure uses their thumbs and fingers (and maybe an elbow) to apply pressure to specific body points. The points differ depending on the symptoms you’re trying to address. They may hold the pressure for anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and the movements they use include circular motions and pushing the acupoint in and out.
While there are plenty of people who would encourage practicing some acupressure on yourself, we strongly urge you to forego self-treatment and seek out a qualified practitioner. With hundreds of points located along the major meridians, a novice is bound to make mistakes. Besides, an acupressure session conducted under the guidance of a professional should be a gentle, positive experience--and when you’re in the hands of an expert? Even better.
EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique
Based on psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy work in the 1980s and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, many practitioners since have embraced an entire field of study under the name “tapping.”
Craig simplified the process by creating a sequence of tapping certain points (called “The Recipe”) after stating a phrase that identifies or describes the problem. He determined that this process could be used to address any and all problems, emotional or physical.
EFT practitioners serve clients who are experiencing anxiety, muddled thinking, or lack of clarity about intention. And for those facing the many challenges presented by perimenopause and menopause, irritability, inability to focus, anxiety, depressed mood, and tearfulness, as well as many of the physical symptoms that women endure are popular targets for the treatment.
Barbara Mark , PhD, an elite leadership, career and life strategies coach and advisor to senior executive women, believes so strongly in the power of tapping that she encourages every woman to “add EFT to her ‘managing perimenopause’ toolkit, along with meditation, yoga, diet, exercise, and western medical treatment.”*
Interested in learning more about acupuncture, acupressure, and/or tapping for the relief of perimenopause and menopausal symptoms? First, talk to your doctor. Current medications you’re taking, diseases you’re fighting, and even allergies are just a few of the items that should be considered before trying anything new treatment-wise. Second, find a qualified TCM practitioner.
If you’ve tried acupuncture, acupressure, or tapping for menopause symptoms, we’d love to know how it worked for you! Leave a comment below, or talk to us on our Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.
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Aging parents, teenagers in the house, job responsibilities, menopause: Learn how to weather the perfect storm that is midlife.
Have you taken our Menopause Assessment?
Join over 100,000 women to learn more about your symptoms and where you are in the menopause journey.