Menopause is the Second Spring
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), menopause is called the "Second Spring". It represents the renewal of energy and opportunities as there is a shift from fertility and reproduction, to conserving and nourishing the self. In Asia and many other cultures, there is a sense of looking forward to old age as ageing is widely celebrated and elders are revered. With age comes the gift of wisdom, innate confidence and life experience.
I have a fond childhood memory of observing my Por Por (grandma) walk through her self-care routine. She worked physically hard on the farm during the day, then before dinner she would pamper herself with a bath, self-massage, and gua sha, while drinking a warm soupy herbal tonic that was for "good health and hot flushes". She would then slip on her beautiful jade and gold jewellery, fine silks, wools and cashmeres - like she was royalty. In my eyes, she was like a queen and I remember fiercely admiring her strong grounded feminine energy.
Looking back at this scene as a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I now recognise that grandma was gracefully dancing through her journey into her Second Spring - a title that I think speaks
wonderfully of the possibilities and space that opens up during this special stage of life.
In Chinese Medicine, when our body ceases menstruation, the qi and blood is redirected to our Heart, where our "Shen" or Spirit resides. It is this shift in qi and blood that allows us to access the vibrancy, courage and creativity that shines at this time. However, the accompanying hormonal symptoms can indeed be challenging for many of us. Pre-existing imbalances may present with symptoms such as hot flushes or night sweats, insomnia, palpitations, dryness, changes in libido, headaches, fatigue, thirst, digestive discomfort or emotional
Here are some of my key recommendations to help ease your transition into menopause/ the second spring:
• Give yourself adequate rest. Burning the candle at both ends rapidly consumes blood & fluids.
• Eat nutritious balanced meals at regular intervals, incorporating real food and removing all processed foods, excess dairy and sugar.
• Ensure that your meals are cooked and warm (broths, stews and leafy greens are great!) so that the digestion is well supported. This means less salads, raw, icy, cold foods as these take more energy to digest.
• Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee, smoking, greasy rich foods and hot pungent spices such as chillies, peppers and garlic. These can be very stimulating and can dry up the fluids in the body.
• Incorporate gentle to moderate movement every day, taking a short walk after meals is great to help with digestion and bloating.
• Give yourself time to nurture your emotions: Allow all feelings and emotions to be there as they are all expressions of Qi.
• Notice your feelings and find outlets to express them. This might be through movement, breathwork, meditations, hobbies or community.
• Look at ways to do less of what you don't want to do.
• Or explore what it is that you truly love doing and add more of this to your day. For some, this may not necessarily look like adding things in, but asking the question, what are you taking out and letting go of?
• Listen to your body as it is always communicating with you.
• Supplementation, herbal medicine and acupuncture can help with many symptoms too!
The good news is that this is not something you have to suffer through alone. We have a great team to help support you through this transition by naturally harmonising the hormones and addressing the underlying issues from the ground up. In a consultation, we use herbal medicine, acupuncture and lifestyle advice to help you:
• Ease physical and emotional symptoms that arise
• Reframe the current dialogue around menopause and health
• Apply tools to make this a more balanced journey
• Move intentionally through perimenopause and into your second spring.
In fact, no matter what stage of life you are at, hormonal challenges can be incredibly impactful on our quality of life. We want you to live your best life through all phases, whether that be in your reproductive years, perimenopause or your Second Spring. And we believe that it is always better
going through this journey with a community who cares about it too. Reach out if you would like
some more support!