How this is influencing your hormonal health, your period and your fertility!
Chinese medicine has been treating reproductive health for thousands of years using a classification and diagnosis system that looks not only at the menstrual cycle but overall health to determine underlying imbalances which may be influencing fertility and menstrual health. A treatment plan is formulated depending on what Chinese medicine category you are in, your Qi type.
In Chinese medicine recognizing your individual Qi type is very important as it is not a one size fits all medicine. What is right for you and your hormonal health may not be the same as your best friend or sister.
There are five main categories, Stagnant, Deficient, Hot, Cold or Damp. The characteristics of each Qi type are listed below. Find out your Qi type and start balancing your unique system today.
What’s your Qi Type?
Stagnant– You often feel moody, angry or irritable. Other symptoms may include PMS symptoms such as breast distension and bloating, headaches often in the temple or behind the eyes, irregular cycles, pain with ovulation, blood clots in the menstrual blood, breast lumps, fibroids, endometriosis, tender abdomen, cramping, elevated prolactin levels, constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Your tongue may be red on the edges or a purplish colour. You often worry or internalize stress.
If this sounds like you, it is very important to control stress by exercising regularly, meditating, and deep breathing. It is also important to get adequate sleep, avoid stimulants such as sugar, coffee, alcohol and recreational drugs. Massaging the abdomen daily is a great way to get blood supply to the reproductive organs, as stagnant types often shallow breath and hold a lot of tightness in their bodies. Avoid eating late at night and any processed foods. Remember to laugh, as this is great for moving the qi.
Deficient– You often feel tired, are prone to dry skin, have a scanty menstrual cycle, light coloured pale blood,can be dizzy upon standing or with the menstrual cycle, easy to bruise,have dry skin, may have spotting before the menstrual cycle, are often more tired with ovulation or menstruation and have a poor appetite, or forget to eat. Your tongue is pale and can be thin. You tend to overthink, with the mind always going.
If this sounds like you it is important to get lots of rest. Eating regularly is also important to nourish the body and mind.. Foods to include in the diet are leafy greens, berries, lean proteins and eggs. Moderate exercise such as walking, restorative yoga or tai chi are good to build up your energy. Be sure to rest during your period if you are feeling run down.
Hot– You are often hotter than those around you, have flushed cheeks and may suffer from night sweats. Vaginal dryness, hot flashes and thirst are often prevalent. You may have a very short menstrual cycle with the periods coming every 21-25 days and the flow may be scanty or heavy with bright red blood. You may suffer from insomnia and/or restlessness and are always busy, finding it very hard to sit down and relax. Your mind is restless and have a tendency towards anxiety or anger. Your tongue is red and may have cracks in the tongue body.
If this sounds like you it is important to avoid hot environments such as hot tubs, hot baths or hot showers. Incorporating meditation, yin yoga, Pilates or qigong into their exercise routine will help. Taking time to relax and unwind daily is very important. Avoid spicy foods, rich fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugars and processed foods, as these all add fuel to the fire.
Cold– You are often colder that those around you and always have cold hands and feet, abdomen and body. You have low energy, fatigue and may be a little overweight. You often have a low libido. You may suffer with cramping and pain during your period. Your blood flow may be thick and dark. You often lack motivation and get up and go. Your tongue is pale or purple.
If this sounds like you it is very important to get regular aerobic exercise. Have a diet of mostly cooked foods, roasted vegetables, soups and broths, soaked beans and lean proteins. Avoid fruit juices, smoothies and cold beverages. Keep your body warm, wear socks in the house and have your neck wrapped in the wind or cold. A warm foot soak is good to warm the whole body and keep the uterus and pelvic area warm.
Damp– You often feel lethargic and may be overweight and have a hard time losing weight. You often feel more tired after eating and are prone to bloating, yeast infections, vaginal itching or rashes.You are often an over thinker and a worrier. You may be a caregiver, putting others needs before your own. You may also have chronic sinusitis, heavy head, and an overall groggy feeling. You may have been diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian syndrome. Your tongue is fat with wet coating, which may be thick.
If this sounds like you it is important to avoid dairy, wheat, sugars, and processed foods. If you fall into the damp category you have to be extra careful with your food choices as these can exacerbate dampness very quickly. Include in the diet lightly steamed vegetables and fruits. Eat small meals regularly. Regular exercise is also very important.
Discovering your Qi Type and incorporating these specific lifestyle and dietary suggestions will have a big impact on your health.
Michelle Hughes is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Michelle is also the founder of Comox Valley Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine, focusing on women’s reproductive health from the teenage years to menopause. For more information please contact her at 250-334-3630 or go to www.comoxvalleyacupuncture.com to book a consult.