“What I see is a depletion in yin and just yang yang yang everywhere! No wonder the hot flushes and the inability to sleep properly for so many women in menopause.”
So said Kyla, the acupuncturist I met up with over a coffee this week.
We both agreed that it boiled down to an imbalance – too much of something and too little of another.
The trouble with our modern culture, is that we’ve primarily latched on to just one side. So we have a highly linear way of looking at things. If this isn’t right, then let’s fix that one thing, right here where it appears to not be right, and that should fix it.
Or we want to know the exact formula – exactly how much exercise should I do and how many times a week. Then, there’s the other piece of linear thinking – if a little is good for me, then a lot must be a lot better. And if works for you, then it must surely work for me.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
So pause for a moment, take a deep breath and hear this.
Your body isn’t linear. Instead, it’s a multi-system of inter-related systems. Tweak one thing, and it has an impact on another.
For example, if you’re overly stressed for a prolonged period, this can put a strain on the adrenal system. Over time, your body will attempt to balance that.
One example of how your body might do this, is to reduce the level of active thyroid hormones. Yhyroid hormones regulate our metabolism, and it is thought that the body does this in an attempt to slow you down, to reduce the overall level of stress. But this can also slow down all other bodily processes.
Now, depending on your own genetic susceptibility, and your health, diet and lifestyle history (we call these “antecedents”, “triggers” or “mediators” in Functional Medicine), different symptoms can show up.
For one woman, this could be joint aches and pains, from a slowed down immune system. For another, a reduced metabolism could mean weight gain. For yet another, slower functioning of the liver and/or gut could lead to excess oestrogen not being effectively cleared from the body, which may then show up as symptoms of oestrogen dominance, such as anxiety, bloating, brain fog, insomnia. And some women may get a combination of symptoms.
That is why every single woman’s menopause is unique.
While you may experience similar symptoms to your best friend, how your body may have got there is different. Because your biochemistry is individual.
The good news is, there are foundational principles that you can build on, to bring your body closer back to balance. I call these principles my Six Elements of Menopause Balance. Balancing each element progressively helps the body to rebalance and diminish menopausal symptoms. If the symptoms still persist afterwards, then there’s something else deeper going on (and that’s where personalised nutritional therapy comes into its own).
Now back to the yin and yang Kyla and I were talking about. Yin is a representation of the feminine energy, and yang the masculine. Yin is allowing, cool, receptive, nurturing, relaxed. Yang is logical, linear, fast, restless, expansive. We need a balance between both.
But our world is more yang focused. We look for the quick fix or the big fix, moving from one thing to the next before the first thing has had a chance to take root. Yet seemingly small changes can make a significant difference.
So this week, my challenge for you is to help your body to de-stress by sending it a message that all is well in your world. When you sit down to eat, take the time to really enjoy your food. Smell it more and fully focus on the taste of it. Slow down and fully chew your food.
Remember how I said, “Tweak one thing and it has an impact on another”? This is you, tweaking.
Rushing through a meal sends stress signals to your body, and you now know at least one way in which your biochemistry can change and translate into symptoms. And the seemingly simple change of slowing down to eat, can have profound and far-reaching effects on your digestion, sleep, stress levels and more.
Come on over and join us in the Facebook group – The Menopause Reset Club. I’d love for you to share how you’ve got on with this, and let’s carry on the conversation there.