Celo Community Center * 36 Sweet Cider Lane * Burnsville, NC 28714 jennifer@woodelement.com (910) 759-0057

Well Women

by Jennifer M. Williams, L.Ac

There is a scientific revolution in many areas of women’s health. Kuhn (1962) explained that a shift in professional commitments and shared assumptions occurs when a variance “subverts the existing tradition of scientific practice.” That variance includes gynecological applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory into mainstream medicine. The shift is based on quantitative research revealing impressive success rate increases in assisted reproduction therapy (Paulus , Zhang, Strehler, El-Danasouri, & Sterzik, 2011) and a decrease in problematic menopause.

Instead of reacting to these conditions, it is important for a woman’s quality of life to start with health. Too many young girls suffer through horrible menstruation from the beginning. Thanks to thorough TCM diagnostic theory, I am able to glimpse into a woman’s past and unfold the layers of needless suffering by understanding chronological development. Regardless of the current stage, I am able to correct many conditions and prevent further misery.

Preteens

The biological pubescent environment is sensitive to the additional hormones in chicken, cow’s milk, and beef that may be responsible for early onset pre-puberty that now starts early as seven years of age (Park, 2010). The increased amounts of hormones trigger rapid puberty. The addition of cheap toxic ingredients in processed food adds to Heat in the Liver. The only chemical difference between high fructose corn syrup and alcohol is yeast (Duke University Medical Center, 2010).

Many consumers consider soda, chips, and fast foods part of standard nourishment. These substandard items are on television, in vending machines, and advertised at school, which normalizes the process of poisoning kids followed by medication to cope with the ill effects. Many parents fail to understand that even healthy looking juice or yogurt can have harmful food coloring, antibiotics, hormones, and high fructose corn syrup, which adversely affects the liver exactly like alcohol. Deficiencies and heat caused by diet can result in extreme anger and heavy periods TCM patterns include Deficient Heat and Liver Heat.

Teens

As I pointed out in my article, Stages of Teens, there is a disturbing trend of adolescents osculating between anger and sadness. Young girls, who are physically active – especially in the cold outdoors, are susceptible to further menstrual complications. During this time of development, cold can enter the uterus resulting in contracting painful cramps before the period and clots (Maciocia, 2005). TCM pattern is Cold Uterus. Cold also comes in the form of cow’s milk.

Humans are not cows. The high levels of antibiotics and sodium in bovine milk are due to high levels of puss and bacteria (McDougall, 2011). Dairy products, fried foods, and sweets create phlegm in the body. According to Chinese medical theory, phlegm may be directly linked to acne, extreme afternoon fatigue, digestion problems, heart conditions, auto-immune diseases, and cancer.

Young Women

Women with a history of cold often develop a TCM pattern of Dampness and Spleen Deficiency which can be further differentiated by early menstrual cycles are often plagued with endometriosis that moves outside expected pathways, infertility, and ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts can alter hormone secretions which can adversely affect the thyroid and cause unwanted facial hair. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS) can further develop into diabetes, heart disease, and hypothyroidism. According to Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of POS is unknown (Mayo Clinic, 2010). It is not known in Western medicine, but TCM just outlined a clear etiology that did not require a degree to understand.

One should also understand that treatment is just as straight forward. A change in diet, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and some chocolate may be all a young developing girl needs!

Infertility

If you did not change your diet, get proper Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and enjoy some chocolate, you may be struggling with infertility. Before you plant a seed, you should cultivate the soil. In my population, I find the primary etiologies include cold in the Uterus, channel obstruction, stagnation, deficient blood, unresolved phlegm in the body, and pathogenic heat in the Liver channel. Without proper and thorough TCM diagnosis, treatment will not be as effective.

Treatment for infertility requires resolution of the above mentioned variety of possible imbalance. Men are also susceptible to fertility challenges that can also be addressed, but the etiology and TCM patterns tend to be much different. This approach is highly effective. Many women learn about using acupuncture to increase assisted reproduction therapy success.

Women undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) are encouraged to try acupuncture. Secondary to treating imbalance [usually with herbs and diet], acupuncture is used before and after IVF to prepare and relax the uterus. While both acupuncture treatments use different points, expect needles to be gently placed in arms, legs, ears, and top of head. For auricular (ear) points, I prefer to use seeds that I leave in for a few days. This is welcome at the Carolina IVF Labs on Keystone Court in Fayetteville, NC.

Part of my treatment protocol is preparing the palace (uterus) with herbs and exercise to strengthen the implantation of the zygote and hold the developing baby. This helps to prevent miscarriage.

Potential parents should avoid caffeine, alcohol, exhaust, artificial sweeteners, cosmetic chemicals, and plastics. Limit cell phone use, bovine milk, cheese, sugar, excess vitamin C, and food additives. Please see my Nutrition and Food Facts page for more information.

Consider increasing consumption of cooked organic vegetables – especially yams and carrots, black beans, quinoa, and olive oil. I only use sesame oil for cooking. Walnuts and almonds are excellent for snacking. Switch to rice milk and use soy as a cream substitute.

Pregnancy

The first trimester is a delicate time for both the developing baby and the mother. It is common for a woman with challenged fertility to worry, but excess pensiveness can weaken the hold. TCM pattern is Spleen Qi Sinking. This can be partially prevented through herbs and exercise, as mentioned above, to strengthen this system. I encourage open expression to those who serve as positive sound boards. Upbeat people can help reframe perspectives and inspire a change in such habitual behaviors.

The second trimester is a time to focus on foods, activities, and behaviors that nurture the heart. On a biomedical level, the body is working hard to pump vital nutrients to the developing fetus. This can be augmented with extra physical and mental rest. A busy mind is a sign of the TCM pattern Heart Heat. Cool down with extra water and consider a journal in which thoughts and feelings can be more elaborately framed and expressed. Focus on joyous future endeavors.

The third trimester focuses on preparation. There is a natural instinct to prepare the nest which coincides with the creativity expected in TCM theory. If creativity seems stifled or replaced with bad dreams, this can be considered a TCM pattern of Liver Blood Deficiency. Stagnation in the Liver may be a contributing factor to eclampsia. Chlorophyll and high quality organic meat can help resolve this imbalance.

Menopause

A balanced body evenly distributes heat and fluid. As women age, our fluids begin to dry. As this yin aspect depletes, yang (heat) takes it place. At this point there is less fluid (yin) and more heat (yang). During the day (yang), this imbalance is not as pronounced as night (yin). The deficient yin cannot control the yang. The excess heat may cause the mind to be busy or body uncomfortable. During sleep, when the yin aspect has contracted inward, the excess yang pushes through the interstitial tissues and creates sweat. This causes further yin deficiency.

In women, this usually manifests as Liver Blood deficiency; insomnia, hot flashes, headaches, dry itchy skin, and anger. It can also manifest as Kidney Yin Deficiency; low back ache, sore knees, night sweats, and distrust. Fortunately, both conditions can be swiftly remedied through changes in diet and Chinese herbs which can quickly dissipate night sweating, hot flashes, irritability, weight-gain, and fatigue.

References

Duke University Medical Center (2010). High fructose corn syrup linked to liver scarring, research suggests. Science Daily.

Barnard, N (2005). Editorial: It has something for everyone to worry about. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Good Medicine, 14(2).

Harvard School of Public Health (2010). Calcium and milk: What’s best for your bones and health? The Nutrition Source.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1997). On death and dying. New York: Scribner.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1991). On life after death. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1997). Questions and answers on death and dying. New York: Simon & Schuster Trade.

Kuhn, T. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press.

Maciocia, G. (2005). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. Churchill Livingston: China.

Mayo Clinic Staff (2010). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Diseases and Conditions. Mayo Clinic Health online.

McDougall, J. (2011). The pus-bacteria moustache: Marketing milk & disease. Doctor

McDougall Health and Wellness Center.

Myers, J., Shoffner, M., & Briggs, M. (2002). Developmental counseling and therapy: An effective approach to understanding and counseling. Professional School Counseling, 5(3), p. 194.

Paulus W., Zhang M., Strehler E., El-Danasouri I., & Sterzik K. (2011). Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. National Institutes for Health. PubMed.gov: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11937123

Park, A. (2010). Study: Signs of Early Puberty in More Young Girls. Science. Time Magazine On-line.

Pitchford, P (2002). Healing with whole foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

Prout, H. T. & Brown, D. T. (2007). Counseling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents: Theory and practice for school and clinical settings. Wiley & Sons.

Van Velsor, P. (2004). Revisiting basic counseling skills with children. Journal of Counseling & Development, 82(3), p. 313-318.

Worden, W. J. (2009). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (4th ed.). New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.

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