Menopause Series 2: Are you a 'Kidney Yang Type?'
The next ‘type’ of menopausal pattern is called ‘Kidney Yang Deficiency’. This is some ways opposite to the first group (Kidney Yin deficiency)
As you might know Yin and Yang are two polarities occurring in the body which mutually support one another in health. Sometimes when we go through big changes like peri menopause to menopause yin an yang can become out sync.
Yin refers to our coolant and inward energy and yang reflects our heat and outward energy. When I first started to study chinese medicine I found it much easier to understand the mutual connection to these polar opposites by looking at nature. The shady side of the garden is yin and the sunny area is yang. Throughout the day they shift positions, nothing is fixed. Much like our health, it is not static. There is always a mutually opposing and supporting relationship between yin and yang.
If you are a ‘Kidney Yang type’ here are some symptoms you might be experience, some symptoms might sound more familiar than others:
Hot flushes, but hands and feet may feel cold
Night sweats really early in the morning
Face appears pale
Feeling down or depressed
You really feel chilly an don’t warm up easily
Ankles might be swollen
Lower back ache observed sometimes or might be a regular thing
Low levels of energy
Feel like you have lost your drive
Digestion may feel ‘slow’
Might feel really tired which seems unusual
Noticed you need to go wee more often
These might be a some lifestyle patterns which might seem familiar:
Lack of libido or drive to be intimate
Struggling to get the energy to be consistent with an exercise routine
Feeling really low, possibly depressed
Might have that ‘Monday morning’ feeling everyday
Nothing seems that exciting, even when certain situation did in the past
You seem to get a decent night sleep but don’t really feel energetic
This is your journey, it is unique to your physiology and lifestyle. Try to not to compare yourself to others. Make this a journey that works for you
The important suggestion here: there is much research to implicate negative associations with our health to actually worsening our situation. Never underestimate the power of the mind and positive mind set to alter the course of what you believe will happen.
An afternoon nap!
You may have to take stock on how many activities you do each day, it is likely you are exhausted by late afternoon. Have you been relying on sugar to get through the afternoon energy drop?
Here’s how you might change this pattern, can you plan a nap in the afternoon? In many countries like China and Spain a nap or siesta is a part of life. There is alot of research suggesting a quick nap for around 20 minutes is very beneficial. Try not to sleep over this amount as you may feel groggy when you start to get on with afternoon activities. This idea is becoming so popular many big corporations have sleep pods in the office.
Another interesting part of the research suggests doing harder tasks in the morning when the brain is the most able to handle analytic tasks. In chinese medicine terms this makes alot of sense as the digestive (linked to the intellect) is the strongest in the morning.
Libido can tend to fade during menopause which can cause stress in intimate relationships which supported a healthy sexual relationship in the past. I often get asked about how to get the connection back again?
Sex drive decreases gradually with age in both men & women, but women are 2 to 3 times more likely to be affected by a decline in sex drive as they age. However, effect of age can also boost interest in sex at midlife. This might be due to a liberated new freedom from contraception and new privacy if your children have left home. Often perceptions of sex are tempered by personal attitudes, culture, religious beliefs, family, friends and media influences.
If you feel like you are loosing a bond with your partner consider looking at what your influences are? Do they serve you?
Although hormones have a role to play, research has shown decreased desire is often multi-factorial. A large scientific study of US women with low sexual desire found they were most likely to be troubled by their lack of desire if they:
Currently were in a relationship with a partner
Were 35 to 64 years old
Thinking about this research it might direct one to look at their emotions, in the world of chinese medicine unexpressed, unbalanced and a constant emotional blocks cause disease. In this case disease refers to physical and emotional symptoms. If you resonate with any of those why not consider expressing thoughts in your journal?
Temperature (indoor & outdoor)
If you are generally chilly but have flashes of heat this is an ‘empty pattern’. Empty relates to a deficiency of yin and yang. To nourish yang consume drinks and food at room temperature or warm.
At home always wear socks or slippers in the house, being barefoot may cause cold to enter the body. Keep an eye on the weather when you leave the house, it’s always easier to remove a jacket or jumper instead of getting to cold.
Why don’t you want to get a chill? With an imbalance of often feeling cold with a flash of heat relying on your body to heat up in cold conditions will only deplete your energy further. Lastly, always wear a scarf on windy days around your neck, even if it is summer! (there’s so many beautiful options out there!)
Air con. If you work in an office with air conditioning if it’s possible do sit right underneath the breeze of air. This is not only very drying but also risks your maintaining temperature a good temperature balance.
For some this will be hard, especially if your constantly tired and don’t seem to have drive to get out. However in order to feel better, exercise is integral to striking a balance in this time. Your exercise choices should be gentle but active. Here are a few suggestion:
Light weight bearing exercises
Yin style yoga
At a minimum we need 150 minutes of exercise per week. It might be a great idea to schedule active time for yourself starting with a 30 minutes per day. Becoming active will be a brilliant choice for lots of reasons. By moving our energy it activates metabolism, rebuilds energy (qi) and boosts our mental state. A win win self care solution.
For Kidney Yang types the main focus is to rebuild your energy and something we call ‘digestive fire’. Imagine a little cooking fire helping the digestive organs. The fire has a really important job of transforming and transporting everything. To keep the fire going eating warming food & drink in temperature sense is important as well as choosing foods with an energetic warming effect.
Raw cold foods are not great if your Kidney or Spleen Yang deficient, if you think about the digestive system having to work quite hard to heat up food/ drink going in at under 10’C to an environment that’s about 37.5’C this might help visualise the energy it must take to process everything.
Foods to support you:
Grains: Quinoa, sweet (glutinous) rice, oats, porridge, wheat germ
Beans: black beans
Vegetables: leek, mustard greens, onion, parsnip, radish, scallion, squash, sweet potato, turnip, watercress
Fruit: cherry, litchi, logan, peach, raspberry, strawberry stewed fruit
Nuts and seeds: chestnuts, pine-nuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts
Fish: anchovy, lobster, mussel, prawn, salmon, shrimp, trout
Meat: chicken, lamb, venison, kidneys (both beef and lamb), stocks and broths
Herbs and spices: basil, black pepper, caper, cayenne, chive seed, cinnamon (+bark), clove, dill seed, fennel seed, fenugreek seed, garlic, ginger, horseradish, nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, star anise, turmeric, thyme, white pepper
Beverages: chai tea, jasmine tea
Common supplements: Algae, brown sugar, Korean ginseng, malt sugar, vinegar
Preferred cooking methods: soups, stews, slow roasted foods. When you use the spices suggested they encourage metabolism and support digestion. It’s all about balance, use spices but don’t use them too excess or they may dry you out.
Raw fruits & vegetables, sprouts & salads, spinach, tomato, soya bean, tofu, glutinous rice, millet, kelp, excessive salt, sweet food, dairy products, vinegar, soy milk, refrigerated or iced drinks
Try complimentary therapies for support:
From an acupuncturists point of view and having treated various stages of peri to menopause in my clinic, I have often observed positive outcomes for many women. Consider a course of six treatments, often scheduled weekly to initially start to reduce symptoms. This also involves support with many of the lifestyle changes mentioned above, of course no one is the same so advice is tailored to each patient.
I follow strict COVID guidelines set out by the British Acupuncture Council and I am accepting new patients.
Initial consultations are 2 hours can be done virtually for an hour to record your health history and then a treatment can be booked. We can also book a 2 hours session in person. Follow up treatments are 1 hour.
Want to have a discovery call to answer any questions? 07563537872
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