Posted on Mar 6, 2015
There’s nothing quite like springtime to remind you how beautiful change can be. I certainly welcome the buds appearing on the branches of trees throughout San Francisco, and the sunshine warming up the chilly morning air. Whenever the seasons change, it reminds me to take note of what other changes are happening in the rest of the world, and within my own body. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to welcome these inner changes as warmly as I welcome the springtime, because they force me to adapt my comfortable habits, or they interfere with the way I had planned on things going. Over the years, I have learned to truly appreciate Chinese Medicine’s ability to help me navigate the many changes that the universe inevitably throws my way. Chinese Medicine respects the ebb and flow that continually occurs within all of our bodies, and provides us with a way to stay steady in the midst of that current.
In thinking about the changes that we all encounter throughout our lives, I am reminded in particular of the different “seasons” that I have experienced in my own health. My body is very different now than it was when I was a teenager, and so is my mind. Both have grown and evolved, and I’ve found that the more I honor those changes instead of fighting them, the less I end up experiencing tension, and the more comfortable I am in my own skin. However, it’s important to note that accepting the transitions in our body and our health isn’t the same accepting pain or suffering. Over the years, I’ve seen many of my female patients accepting certain “facts of life” as inevitable, when they actually couldn’t be further from the truth. How many women have you heard bemoaning the fact that they just couldn’t control their emotions at certain times during their menstrual cycle, admitting that they struggled every month with mood swing after mood swing? How many pain medications have you seen marketed specifically for women dealing with pain from PMS symptoms? Would you be at all surprised to hear a female relative complain of hot flashes from menopause? We’ve been conditioned to accept these experiences as facts of life, when really, these are abnormal symptoms. You shouldn’t expect to have pain every month before menstruation, any more than you should expect to deal with mental fogginess during menopause. Chinese Medicine emphasizes the importance of balancing the system as a whole, so that the changes that occur over the course of each month (or throughout the entire lifetime) can be accommodated gracefully. Unlike other methods of healthcare that simply aim to put a bandaid on the symptoms that are too difficult to bear, Chinese Medicine aims to bring the entire mind and body into harmony. Finding inner balance allows each of us to build a stable foundation from which to grow and flourish, no matter what the universe sends our way.
In honor of International Women’s Day this coming Sunday, March 8th, I will be sharing a series of blog posts over the next few weeks, all related to women’s health. Please stay tuned for the Chinese Medicine perspective on the major phases in a women’s life, and learn how to welcome these transitions gracefully and comfortably.
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