Many women experience uncomfortable emotional and physical symptoms during menopause. It is the time when a woman’s menses gradually pauses. Many symptoms may accompany this time including hot flashes, mood swings, depression, insomnia, thinning of bones, skin, and vaginal walls.
Menopause is a profound time of change. Women may change through this menopausal time. Personalities may change, outlook on life may change. This can all be part of the process. It can be a rich fulfilling time, and deep inward direction can come out of it.
Precious essence and menopause
According to Chinese medicine, menopause is a natural decline of “Precious Essence” or jing. It is a time of “yin,” or feminine energy. When Precious Essence declines, there is a corresponding increase in “yang” energy, or masculine energy. The decline of yin and increase of yang causes an imbalance in the energies of the body creating all sorts of myriad of symptoms that can vary from woman to woman.
Precious Essence is prenatal energy. It is handed down from our parents at the time of conception. According to Chinese medicine theory this essence is stored in the kidney energetic system and conveys the gifts of fertility, libido, regeneration of the body, tissue elasticity and strength. The idea of Precious Essence stems from the understanding this energy is worth protecting, because its function is to maintain health and wellness. It declines as we age.
Preserving our Essence during menopause
There are 2 kinds of Precious Essence: Pre-Heaven, representing our inherited characteristics, and Post-Heaven, which is energy accumulated or lost through life style factors such as diet, exercise and the way we live our lives. Pre-Heaven essence is not easily renewed, however it can replenished through deep breathing, yin restorative and meditation exercises. Post-Heaven Essence is renewed through lifestyle changes — exercise, balance of work and play, food choices, fresh air, and water.
According to the Chinese medicine, women who wisely protect their Precious Essence may live long and maintain a youthful appearance. With a lifetime of balance, we can preserve our Precious Essence. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may strengthen the body and Precious Essence. Poor lifestyle and habits can reduce the benefits of these treatments. It is of little use to work on building energy in the body through acupuncture or herbs if it is thrown it away through careless living.
In the next post we will talk about life style changes during the menopausal transition.