How Integrative Medicine Can Complement Your Gynecological Care
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, menopause is called the ‘Second Spring,’ signifying a change of life that promises new beginnings. From this perspective, we see potential rather than the dread of ‘The Change,’ where women fear becoming invisible and irrelevant.
Integrative medicine complements your gynecological care. When you alter the course of a natural thing, you need something to counterbalance that change. Energy balancing treatments like acupuncture and qigong along with movements that promote healthy cycles and other replenishing modalities such as nutrition and mindfulness, offer a collective show of respect and gratitude for the gift that is your body.
In fairness, some of the symptoms of this transformative time in a woman’s life aren’t fun. It can be hard to slow down in our culture – to take proper time to care for ourselves, yet it’s so important to understand that slowing down is not the same thing as stopping altogether or giving up – it is a time of leaning in to gather strength and health. Restorative treatments and practices around gratitude and preservation can offer relief and personal growth.
Ayurvedic traditions honor a woman’s cycle as a time of cleansing, rest, and rejuvenation. Many indigenous cultures celebrate the arrival of a woman’s first period. In Chinese medicine, the phases of a woman’s monthly cycle are described as inner seasons, where the quality of qi (or energy) encourages certain behavior throughout. The beginning inner winter phase, which can include prominent fatigue, signals a time to hibernate. Then, inner spring prompts a desire to socialize, meet and engage, leading into inner summer when energy seeks all out hot contact and many women experience extra sexual desire. Finally, inner autumn can produce feelings of protectiveness and a desire to nest.
These are beautiful metaphors for sure, but they also contain subtle hints that we can’t rush our bodies through natural cycles any more than we can rush the seasons.
Photo credit: Top (Anna Shvets)