Menstrual Cycles Deconstructed:

What you need to know about your menstrual cycles and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Part 1

It’s complicated. You have at least reached the first steps of trying to figure out what is happening to you every month around the same time. Or maybe you are trying to figure out why you aren’t having a menstrual cycle. Either way, we will begin from the beginning.

Q: What is considered normal periods?

A: That is a great question. First we have to take into consideration family history, and direct relatives and their age at menarche (onset of first menses) compared to your age at menarche. Statistically from country to country it may vary slightly, but 12-13years of age is typical. It is considered early if before the age of 10, and delayed after the age of 16.

A 28 day cycle is a good standard number, but if you have a period every 30 days , and it has always been like that, then you just might be on a 30 day cycle.  It becomes problematic when the cycles vary in duration, and or time between cycles.

Now the simple part. Normal in Traditional Chinese Medicine is about BALANCE, or Yin and Yang in harmony. Our main goal is to assess where your imbalances are and correct them by facilitating your bodies own natural healing mechanism. Reminding your body about homeostasis, and helping to get you there.

Q: I have a lot of pain and clotting with my period, can acupuncture help with this?

A: Acupuncture can absolutely help with this. Herbal therapies may also be employed to help alleviate signs and symptoms of irritability, headaches, cramping, bloating, flatulence and even help mange stress throughout the month leading up to your period. The idea is, that if you are having pain accompanied by clots, then your body is unbalanced and therefore you should be seen for an assessment.  You will be asked questions about your nutrition, sleep, energy levels and much more.

Q: What exactly is Yin and Yang, and Qi? And why is it important to my menstrual cycle?

A: Yin and Yang is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Literally everything is classifiable by Yin and Yang. Qi (pronounced ‘Chi’ ) in Chinese Medicine is considered a Yang aspect. How this applies to your menstrual cycle is very interesting.

Since everything is classified by yin and yang, a perfect balance would be 50% yin and 50% yang. You may be thinking that since yin is feminine you must be more than 50% yin.  Naturally, you are a female. Well, truth is perfect balance IS 50/50.

Now, you are a female, and therefore you may have a menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle itself is broken down into phase, (which will be discussed in a later issue), and the same holds true in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The idea is to discover where the imbalances are and address them accordingly. Blood, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine is considered a vital fluid , is actually a yin fluid. Blood is necessary ultimately to nourish an embryo, and too much bleeding or too little bleeding during your menses speaks volumes about the imbalance.

Where the qi comes in is also interesting.  As you may have heard it before is considered the vital energy. This is what makes us go, but remember everything has to be 50/50. We need the blood to nourish the organs, body, hair and we need the qi to move the blood and allow us to live. Separation of qi and blood is ultimately loss of life.

During menstrual cycles qi and blood can become impared, it is then that acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine will restore the balance.

A: Does acupuncture hurt?

Q: Truth be told, we do our best to make you as comfortable as possible, but you may feel a slight pinch for a second or too, or you may feel nothing at all when the needles are inserted.

Stay tuned for our series on

Menstrual Cycles Deconstructed:

What you need to know about your menstrual cycles and Traditional Chinese Medicine.