Menopause is the natural termination of the menstrual cycle, lasting from a few months to years. The average woman experiences menopause at approximately 51 years, and it usually occurs between the ages of 40 to 55, at around the same age as the woman’s mother began menopause. Common physical symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, urinary problems, and headaches. Menopause is also characterized by emotional symptoms such as sudden mood changes, depression, irritability, insomnia, and nervousness.
During this time of hormonal and energy fluctuation, menopausal complications reduce the quality of a woman’s life and result in uncomfortable or even debilitating symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy is the standard Western treatment for menopausal difficulties; however, estrogen supplements have been linked to undesired side effects and increased health risks. Traditional Chinese medicine offers an alternate way to reduce menopausal symptoms through diet, herbal remedies and acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Offers an Alternative
According to Chinese medicine, imbalanced interaction between kidney yin and yang leads to difficulties during menopause. The theoretic framework of yin-yang is used to explain aspects of the human body as well as to guide diagnosis and treatment. Women may have yin or yang deficiencies that affect how they experience menopause.
The kidneys are viewed as the central organs responsible for controlling other bodily functions, and kidney yin and yang deficiencies lead to certain associated menopausal symptoms, with different treatment existing for each type. Symptoms of yang deficiency in menopause may include tiredness, lower back pain, incontinence, and aversion to cold. Symptoms of yin deficiency (the far more common type) include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and irritability.
Nutrition for Menopause
Some common foods that help build yin for yin-deficiency type menopause include wheat germ, mung bean, seaweed, cucumber, millet, black bean, tofu, kidney bean, barley, black sesame seed, and royal jelly. Women should follow a low-fat, high-fiber diet. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and reducing stress are all important. Chinese medicine can effectively and quickly treat symptoms such as hot flashes through many herbal formulas, commonly including dang gui (Chinese angelica) and yi mu cao (motherwort). Thus, traditional Chinese medicine can alleviate menopausal symptoms without the risks of hormone replacement therapy.
About the author:
In addition to her thirty years of acupuncture and Chinese herbal experience, Dr. Qiao “Chelsea” Xu has also practiced qigong and yoga over twenty years, utilizing concepts from these practices in her treatments. She offers treatment in pain management, female and digestive disorders, allergies, asthma, and stress. In her spare time, she likes to practice qigong, taiji, and meditation.
The practice of Chinese dietary therapy comprises of choosing specific foods to cause a desired change in health. Summer is the season of active growth and heat. Energy is strong and rises easily. Here are some TCM nutrition tips on how to “eat for the heat.”
The dominant organ in the summer according to TCM is the Heart. A common excess pattern in summer is known as “Heart Fire.” Some of the symptoms of heart fire are: irritability, mental restlessness, dream-disturbed sleep, thirst, mouth ulcers, red face, and palpitations. When this pattern occurs the “fire” dries out fluids (yin substances). Due to the intimate relationship between the Heart and Small Intestine, the heat tries to eliminate through increased urination. It is best to eat foods that are cooling in nature and to avoid excessive alcohol as well as spicy, rich, and greasy foods.
5 Foods for Summer Heat
Sweet & cool
Nourish Heart & Stomach
Clear toxic heat, summer-heat, and promote urination
Help lower blood fat and renew arteries
Low fat, high fiber, high protein, high iron
Cautions: Not suitable for Spleen deficiency type diarrhea (chronic loose or watery stools, poor appetite, fatigue, abdominal distention after meals)
Sweet & cool
Strengthens Spleen, regulates Stomach, nourishes Liver
Clears heat, promotes urination, and reduces edema
Slightly Sweet, ranges from warm to neutral
Nourishes Spleen, Stomach, & Kidney
Generates fluid, relieves thirst
Sweet & cold
Nourishes Stomach & Small Intestine
Clears heat, relieves thirst, promotes urination, clears toxins
Sweet & cold
Nourishes Heart, Stomach, Bladder
Clears summer-heat, eliminates restlessness, relieves thirst, & promotes urination
Cautions: Not good for diarrhea due to Spleen deficient cold or for diabetics
Chilled Cucumber Soup
4 cups cucumber, chopped
2 cups water or broth
1 cup yogurt
1 clove garlic (optional)
Several fresh mint leaves
Puree everything in the blender. Serve chilled. Serves 4-6.
Jade Green Soup
1/2 cup tofu, diced
2 cups leafy greens, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon oil (optional)
3 cups broth
Sauté or steam tofu 5 minutes. Add salt.
Add greens. Sauté 2 minutes.
Add broth and simmer until greens are bright-colored.
Lu, Henry. Chinese Herbs with Common Foods: Recipes for Health and Healing. Kodansha International 1997.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. 2002. North Atlantic Books.
 Within Chinese medicine, each “organ” is not just the actual, individual organ, but rather a whole system unto itself that regulates many aspects and functions of the body. There is a close relationship between these organ systems, the five flavors of food, and the elements.
Calling all leaders, coaches, teachers, role models, and guides!
After in-depth assessment & re-envisioning, AOMA Admissions is pleased to present a newly-designed mentor program for new students that better reflects the needs, goals, and ideals expressed by AOMA’s student body.
AOMA is excited to introduce the NEW InterTransform Mentoring Circle!
InterTransform Mentoring Circle offers a structured extracurricular environment for students to build peer relationships and cultivate professional prowess. The program:
- Fosters community amongst and between student cohorts, helping new students lay a foundation for success,
- Features group-mentoring cohorts, positioning the program as a
microcosm of the AOMA community at large,
- Trains participants to model collaborative, inclusive, and
appropriate relationships in a professional and academic setting,
- Provides opportunities for self reflection, and to practice building
confidence in networking with peers .
For many new students, AOMA’s MAcOM program represents their first entry to a professional career. For others, the MAcOM is a reimagining or transformation of their professional career. InterTransform Mentoring Circle helps new students from any background acclimate to the culture of AOMA’s student and academic communities.
The program’s model featuring group-mentoring cohorts positions the program as a microcosm of the AOMA community at large. The program benefits participants and the greater AOMA student body by increasing and promoting sustained, meaningful connections across cohorts, levels of study, and social groups.
Program participants are trained to model collaborative, inclusive, and appropriate relationships in a professional and academic setting. The program sets a standard for thoughtful communication and relationship building, thereby encouraging similar behaviors across all facets of AOMA’s student community.
The program provides opportunities for students to reflect upon, and practice building confidence in networking with advanced peers, ultimately supporting the development of behaviors that may be beneficial in future professional and/or academic settings.
Joining the Program: Nominations for mentors are solicited from faculty members, AOMA Student Association representatives, and staff. Eligible students must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 6 terms at AOMA or have begun clinical internship. All mentors must complete an application form to be considered for the program.
Participation as a mentee is voluntary and new students may apply to participate as mentees at the start of their first 3 terms within the master’s program. Mentees are required to complete an application form prior to enrollment in the program.
Training: Mentors are required to participate in all training activities and to review all training materials. Training for mentors focuses on developing effective leadership and communication skills, establishing interpersonal boundaries and expectations, and goal-setting. Both mentors and mentees have access to student services support throughout the program and mentors are given information about how to make appropriate referrals for student services.
One of AOMA’s faculty, Rupesh Chhagan, LAc, MSOM, LMT, serves as an advisor to the program and assists with mentor training. Chhagan teaches the Clinical Communication Skills series within the graduate program.
Duration: An individual mentoring period lasts 3 academic terms. Participants’ satisifaction with the program is assessed at the end each mentoring period.
To apply to be a mentor, or to request more information, contact Elizabeth Arris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AOMA student, Gregory King can usually be found by his resounding laughter echoing in the hallway. Greg comes from Louisville, Kentucky where he discovered martial arts. During the first year of the program at AOMA he was working as a mentor for inner city youth. His case load included children who struggled with suicidal motives, depression, gang violence, and social isolation. Greg says, “I am grateful for the learning of the experience but it was extremely difficult. I overcame by really taking myself to the mat.” He began collaborating with world renowned martial artist Tom Callos and joined Ultimate Black Belt Team. Greg says, “This simple practice gave me a focus on becoming stronger because I was feeling the weakest and most vulnerable I have ever felt in my entire life.”
Greg received his first acupuncture treatment from Umaru Jutte, one of the most experienced practitioners in Tennessee. Another friend that studied acupuncture and had Umaru as a mentor Umaru really inspired me. “Lisa always encouraged me to practice medical qigong for hours a day to augment the treatments I was receiving from her. This made me a better student and martial artist.”
Greg did his undergraduate senior project on “Meditations on Medicine” where he integrated his own health philosophy with medical traditions of Kamet, Tibet and China. While engaged in this project he felt called to ministry and began applying to seminary schools. After the passing of several family members Greg ended up regrouping in Austin with a set of close friends. Around the same time, his health started declining and he felt that beginning acupuncture school at AOMA would help center him and improve his health. Now, with the help of AOMA professor Dr. Joel Cone, practicing martial arts, and receiving regular acupuncture treatments, Greg feels like he as healthy as he has ever been.
Greg is involved in AOMA Jujitsu club and continues his martial arts studies. In clinic, he is inspired by working with Dr. William Morris because of his passion for Chinese medicine. He says, “Will is excited and knowledgeable about what he does and that invokes excitement in me. He is able to teach a method that is practical and able to integrate what I am currently learning in my classes.”
Greg is also very politically minded when it comes to healthcare. He participated in one sit-in against the state of Tennessee for cutting 350,000 people from state funded TennCare. His passion for health and wellness is marked by his personal mission to study models of healthcare that are accessible to the underserved. He is also moved to educate people about investing in local and organic foods and the dangers of big farm industry and genetically modified foods.
Greg is the first from his family to graduate with a college degree and upon receiving his masters at AOMA he has big ideas of how to promote the medicine. He would like to do research to better understand the biomedical overlap of western and Chinese medicine. He wants to provide acupuncture to individuals that cannot afford healthcare, particularly the Appalachian community that has been devastated by industrial development. He has also been thinking about opening a healthcare coop as a viable solution to get people invested in their own health and promoting the ginseng industry to help people become more connected to making their own medicine.
Approximately 27 million Americans suffer from the pains of arthritis, making it one of the most common causes of physical disability among adults. Although it becomes more common as one ages, arthritis can affect adults of all ages.
Symptoms of arthritis include joint or muscle pain in any joint area including the spine, hips, and fingers. Other symptoms include morning muscle/joint stiffness, loss of appetite, low-grade fever and loss of energy. Joints may become swollen when inflamed and even turn red.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid arthritis
The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting an estimated 21 million adults in the US. It begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness in the fingers, knees, hips, and spine. Repetitive injuries and physical trauma may contribute to the deterioration of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the joints and in some cases, may affect the blood, lungs, or the heart. Inflammation is the main cause of the pain, stiffness, and swelling. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are familiar with “flares” or active symptoms and “remissions” when the symptoms dissipate for a period of time. This ebb and flow of symptoms can go on for years or a lifetime.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
According to Chinese medical theory, arthritis occurs when the Qi (energy, life-force) in the body becomes blocked. Unique acupuncture points will be determined after a careful evaluation of the patient’s medical history and once the licensed practitioner pinpoints the root cause of the patient’s Qi blockage. The practitioner will also likely prescribe Chinese herbs and make lifestyle and/or dietary recommendations.
In a study by the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, acupuncture was shown to reduce the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants had a 40% decrease in pain and improvement of joint function from baseline evaluation after only 14 weeks of treatments.
Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations
Lifestyle and diet can make a huge impact on quality of life for people who suffer from arthritis. A healthy diet can ease arthritis pain and help keep your joints healthy. Chinese medicine nutritional therapy would recommend avoiding “damp” foods such as greasy and spicy foods, as well as dairy products.
Here are some other foods to consider adding to your diet:
Ginger - A natural anti-inflammatory. Take according to supplement label or make a tea with half a teaspoon of grated ginger root and eight ounces of boiling water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pineapple - Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, reduces inflammation.
Cherries - Cherries are an excellent source of nutrients that may help to reduce joint pain and inflammation related to arthritis.
Fish - Cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce pain and swelling as well as keep joints healthy.
Turmeric - A natural anti-inflammatory. Take according to supplement label and use as a cooking spice whenever possible.
 Acupuncture for Arthritis by Diane Joswick. https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Acupuncture+for+Arthritis