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Traditional Chinese Medicine diet for menopausal hot flushes and insomnia

16/05/2012

Here’s just a snippet of information from my latest research paper on menopause (the topic as voted by the HealthWise Clinic facebook fans).

Menopause brings with it a range of symptoms for many women and these symptoms vary in different parts of the world.  In Asian countries women are more likely to suffer from joint pains and body aches.  Over here in the west, women are more likely to feel the effects of hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness and anxiety.

There are a range of therapies that can be of assistance to women to transition through this time of change, which is convenient given that we are all unique and have our own individual symptoms and preferences.  Treatments range from Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to complementary medicine treatments such as herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques such as acupuncture.

Additionally, research is showing that when women are more relaxed their symptoms also decrease in severity and frequency.  Don’t sweat the small stuff – literally.  Easier said than done, I know, but worth incorporating into your lifestyle anyway.

Here are some dietary and lifestyle recommendations for women who fall into the menopausal category marked by hot flushes, night sweats, dryness, anxiety and insomnia.  You may notice these recommendations are all about ‘self nurturing’, in TCM we call that nourishing our Yin:

  • Partake in relaxing, low impact exercise such as yoga or tai chi and short walks most days per week.
  • Participate in ‘Yin’ activities (slow, quiet, cool, gentle, feminine) such as meditation, breathing exercises, reading for pleasure.  Have a massage or facial, particularly when feeling more anxious or stressed.
  • Refrain from stimulating activities before bedtime including TV and computer use, and instead use this time to ‘wind down’.
  • Avoid excessive spicy food, red meat, coffee and alcohol as well as minimising barbecued, roasted or fried foods.
  • Increase intake of oily and white fish, raw nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, mung beans, celery, tomato, olive and flaxseed oil, and have up to two serves of fruit per day such as berries, citrus, melon or apples.  Goji berries and dates (Chinese red dates in particular) can be added to porridges for breakfast.
  • Use cooking methods such as steaming, stewing, stir-frying and making soups.
  • Make sure that the fluid intake is around 2L of water per day.  Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to this makes for a refreshing, cooling beverage.

For women who also have oedema and cold hands or feet, or other sensations of coldness, the information above may vary.  If you are struggling to manage menopausal symptoms you should seek assistance from a qualified health professional for personalised advice.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 16/05/2012 3:47 pm

    Great tips Sarah. Simple and practical 🙂

    • 16/05/2012 7:20 pm

      Thanks Jeff. Simple is always best. 🙂 More info on acupuncture and menopause to come. Watch this space!

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