Menopause - "Seven Dwarves" of symptoms as seen through Chinese Medicine

 I was reading a post in which the author referenced Suzanne Sommers’ book, “The Sexy Years”, in which she renamed the Seven Dwarves of Menopause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sleepy, Sweaty, Bloated, Forgetful, and All Dried Up!  Although it was funny thirteen years ago, at that time the concept was remote to my experience.  Having since personally met each of those little elves during my adventures with menopause, I laughed a bit harder than I had upon first learning their names.

In Traditional Chinese, menopause marks the final 7-year stage of a woman’s life.   The Classics describe the phases of a woman’s life in periods of 7 year (and a man’s in periods of 8 years).   By the 7th iteration of 7-year cycles, a woman’s Essence, the fluid-rich substances that infuses her life, has depleted to the point where she is no longer fertile.  Essence is a Yin substance ~ the Water aspect of our bodies that is cooling and moistening.  Yang represents activity of physiology, {think of heart pumping, temperature-regulating and other systems that keep us alive with their constant motion; as such, it is represented by Fire, for all that activity is warming in nature.  At the time of menopause, Yang becomes predominant over Yin; thus, because there is more Fire than Water, we see the drying signs of relatively excess Heat, such as brittle bones, dry skin, more subtle heat signs like restlessness and irritability (feeling “hot & bothered”), as well as signs that our brain is less fluid and synapse are getting less conductivity (“What was that word? Where are my keys?)”.

Our best defense occurs in our fertile and peri-menopausal years, where we can preserve as much of our Essence as possible.  If you’re reading this and that time is in your past, we can regain as much as possible with some of these lifestyle changes:
*Moving meditation exercise such as walks in nature, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga bring Essence to our bones, muscles and joints. 
*Eating a diet that rich in alkaline vegetables and includes healthy fats and lean proteins provides muscles and organs with nutrients with necessary nutrients. 
*Proper sleep habits allow for natural detoxification to occur each night, including our brain’s mechanisms for flushing neurotoxins. 
*And, of course, creating self-care habits such as receiving regular acupuncture treatments and supporting our nutritional needs with herbs and supplements, is the optimal way to enhance vitality.

Make friends with your dwarves and provide them a good home and shelter now, so that you may live happily ever after!