"Everybody hopes for longevity, but nobody wants to be old" --Chinese proverb
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine offers help to women and men who continue to have health issues directly related to the changes they experienced during their menopause or andropause.
For women, this life transition occurs in a relatively quick frame of time, as opposed to the slower, less obvious mid-life process that men experience. A woman is technically in menopause if there has been no bleeding or spotting for one year after her last menstrual period. Her production of the hormone estrogen drops significantly at this time.
A man, on the other hand, starts a slow decline of testosterone production in his 20s or 30s. This may seem surprisingly early, but this early phase of declining testosterone is unlikely to cause any noticeable symptoms. Once symptoms do appear, a test from your physician can help determine when testosterone sinks to abnormally low levels.
Although the hormones affected by the mid-life transition are different in the male and female body, some common symptoms that stem from "the change" may continue long after menopause or andropause.
Shared Symptoms that may continue after mid-life changes for men and women include:
- heart disease
- night sweats
- weight gain (especially around the waistline for men)
- loss of libido
Support your Kidney Qi as You Get Older
An acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner may associate one or more of these symptoms with the kidneys. The kidneys provide the foundation for the energy and vitality of the entire body. Other important functions reliant on this organ include brain marrow production, maintenance of the skeletal system (including the teeth), fertility, and the ability to conquer fear through willpower. While other organs may play a role in the presentation of symptoms, your practitioner will most likely choose acupuncture points to reinforce and nurture your Kidney Qi.
Healthy Kidney Qi is vital at all stages of life and, the older one gets, the more important it is to support it. According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the kidney is likened to an ocean and, like all water on earth, streams and rivers eventually drain into the ocean. This means the kidney is the ultimate filter for clearing toxins and hazardous substances from the body. Strong emotions contribute to the toxins which may plague the kidneys.
In addition to receiving treatment from an acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner, there are some simple ways to bring attention and nurturing to your kidneys.
Keep Walking, Skipping and Jumping
The kidney channel ends at the very bottom of the feet. Every time you walk, skip or jump you stimulate this channel, which in turn stimulates the kidney organ. A channel is a fixed pathway of energy related to a specific organ. It is through use of these channels that a practitioner is able to diagnose and treat a person with acupuncture.
The color associated with the kidneys is black. From an Oriental medicine perspective this means eating black foods such as black sesame seeds, black fungus, black beans, etc. can enhance the overall function of this organ. Black is also the color of protection so if you are feeling vulnerable, this may prove a good color choice for your clothing.
Conquer Your Fears and Conserve Energy
Perhaps one of the strongest, most therapeutic actions involves conquering your fears. The emotion of the kidney is fear and its associated season is winter. Winter represents the season of death. The timing is appropriate in your middle years to begin considering this approach towards the end of your life and engage in deep contemplation.
After women and men transition into the winter of their life cycle, certain physical and psychological conditions that were set in motion during menopause and andropause do not reverse. The winter is a time to conserve energy, find safety with those you love and impart your wisdom.
Find a practitioner near you today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can ease your transition through changes in your life!
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.