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Menopause Series 5: Accumulation of Fluids & Energy Stagnation

This pattern is referred to in theory as an ‘Accumulation of Phlegm & Qi stagnation’. It is quite different from all the others and often occurs as a premature menopause in younger women. This pattern has alot to do with being overweight for a long period of time, in which the lower abdomen’s (uterus, intestines, bladder) energy becomes very deficient then stagnated. This causes obstructions which speeds up the process of menopause.
If you think this might be a pattern causing early menopause these might be some of the symptoms you might experience are:


Feeling of chest oppression

Slight breathlessness

Phlegm feeling stuck in the chest and throat

Spitting out phlegm 

Feeling full in the middle of the body

Breast pain & feeling of fullness (distension)



Nausea which may come and go

Lack of appetite or appetite which comes & goes

After eating a feeling of bloating and weight gain

Moody, feeling like you on a roller coaster ride of emotions

Feeling down to depressed

Struggle to make a plan

Feeling constrained in your emotions 

Unusual vaginal discharge

These might be some of the lifestyle patterns which might seem familiar:

Really cant be asked to make many plans because it’s a struggle to see the future

General decision making is quite difficult

When thinking back to frustrated outbursts there may not be a real cause

Feel hungry, make something to eat then loose your hunger

Often need to spit out phlegm in a Kleenex

After getting moving in the morning chest oppression eases

Depression can feel a bit better if you get out and walk or exercise

Phlegm can get worse one eats late or dairy is consumed


Activity levels - move your energy!

Exercise is integral to striking a balance and shifting this pattern. Your exercise choices should be gentle but active. At a minimum we all 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 is a brilliant choice for lots of reasons. 

By moving our body it activates metabolism reducing the feeling of fullness, weight gain and it rebuilds energy.

More importantly, exercise and challenging ourselves physically can really boost motivation and our ‘can do’ states well as calming anxiety or feeling low. 

A win win self care solution that is often free. Walking in nature has been shown achieve all the above. The only investment is a good pair of walking shoes, appropriate gear for the weather and possibly a good audio book or some music.

Some other exercise suggestions you might consider:

Light weight bearing exercises


Qi gong

Tai Qi


Training for the couch to 5K

Eating regularly and portions sizes

This pattern doesn’t happen overnight and might also be related to an under active thyroid issue. To get control back of the digestive system and start to reduce fluid retention, lack of hunger, nausea and belching eating at regular times is integral to recovery.

Here are some more tips you might use to support your digestive system: 

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Our digestive system is strongest between 7 and 9 am, it is weakest between 7 - 9 pm.

Stay relaxed while eating. Eating on the run or under stress leads to food stagnating in your digestive system.

The stomach likes regularity. Try to make meal times as regular as possible as your body will prepare for digestion. Avoid missing meals, constant snacking and eating late.

Take time to digest. Try not to rush to the next thing after a meal, the body needs time to digest food.

Don’t drown your food with water or beverages while eating. Too much fluid dilutes the the digestive juices required to breakdown food.

Stop chilling your stomach and digestive tract. Our digestive system needs a level of heat to transform & transport food. Eating foods directly from the fridge or cold beverages with ice requires the stomach to heat before digesting it. Over time, eating cold raw foods weakens the stomach and digestive system.

The stomach has no teeth. Chewing your food well allows the body to make saliva which in turn provides the digestive system with an easier solution to break down food.

Avoid overeating. Stop before you get full, eating slowly helps to prevent this.

Cravings for sweets is sign your digestive system might be weak or hormones are out of balance. Eat enough food to maintain steady blood sugar levels (oats, brown rice). Always keep healthy snacks on hand. Craving salty foods may mean your are low in some minerals. Eat plenty of lightly cooked veggies. Use unbleached sea salt if you need a bit of salt.

Chinese Barley is amazing!

If you have constant phlegm in the chest you might want to make some barley tea which clears it from the body.

I suggest using chinese barley instead of the kind you get at health food stores, it is specific to the grains ability to clear phlegm. You would search ‘Job’s Tears’ or coix seed, it is gluten free grain common in China. Drink and or eat the barley until your phlegm starts to subside. Consider a mug full per day or a bowl of barley.

Chinese barley recipe 

100g raw Chinese pearl barley, rinsed

1.5 - 2 litres of cold water

Brown sugar or rock sugar to taste

You will need: Saucepan or pot


-Rinse the Chinese pearl barley and add to a saucepan/pot.  

-Add the cold water to the saucepan/pot and bring to the boil.

-Once on a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 45-60 minutes, stirring every so often.

-This is ready once the barley is soft on the outside but slightly chewy on the inside, resembling of popcorn or rice.  The liquid will turn slightly cloudy and greyish pink.   

-Finally, add brown sugar or rock sugar to taste.

-This is best served warm in a bowl.  Although this can be taken chilled, in Chinese medicine we generally advise taking this warm.

-Although the barley water can be taken alone, I generally recommend serving this with at least a couple of tablespoons of barley to be eaten within each bowl. 

-If your drinking the liquid, you can add lemon & honey, drink heated. 

Many cultures consider food as medicine. There are specific foods you can eat and restrict when you experience health issues. I try to get people to take the view that ‘food is medicine’.

When there is a build up phlegm in the sinuses, lungs and the body feels heavy specifically add these foods to your diet:

Radish, Daikon, Turnip/ swede, Onion, shallot, scallion, green onion, Garlic, Mustard seeds, Horseradish, Ginger, Fenugreek, Fennel seed, Cayenne

Apple, Pear, Peach, Strawberry, Lemon, Persimmon

Carrot, Pumpkin - you can order puree online, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach, Swiss chard, White fungus (wood ear) & Shiitake mushroom, Bamboo shoots, Watercress

Kelp & seaweed

Rice milk, Green tea - follow directions on the box, many green teas require a lower boiling point

Use a foods that have a diuretic effect:

Celery, cucumber and beetroot. These will stimulate urination and provide movement out of the body of congealed heat from the phlegm.


Heating & stimulating substances. Alcohol, coffee, red meats, rich, creamy food, deep fried food. Restrict all dairy, sugar, fatty meats, eggs, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy sauce, nuts & seeds, peanuts, peanut butter, any nut butter, avocado, pineapple, salt, chocolate.

General style of eating

Eat less, light simple foods, some raw foods and juices, plenty of lightly cooked leafy greens

Abdominal massage

This pattern causes stagnation in the lower abdomen and uterus, getting energy moving in the area would be very beneficial. You could visit a special massage therapist who specialises in this area. In West Berkshire we have a great therapist who has years of experience her name is Jo Medhurst. There are various videos on abdominal massage which might be helpful. The suggestion here is getting stagnation in the area to move, it is likely you would need to consider a practice every few days to see benefits. Your massage therapist may also be able to show you a few pointers to use in between treatments.

Try complimentary therapies for support:

Acupuncture can provide really positive outcomes for many women during peri menopause and menopause. Consider a course of six treatments, often scheduled weekly to initially start to reduce symptoms, receive one to one coaching to support lifestyle changes and the support of a good listener. I follow strict COVID guidelines set out by the British Acupuncture Council and I am seeing 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? Please drop me an email or give me a call



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