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It isn't uncommon to hear coworkers complaining about how tired they are — because we are.
Most of us spend our adult life struggling with compromised immune function, infertility, and sleepless nights, using stimulants like caffeine and sugar to make it through the day. When you consider the fact that more than 21 million Americans drink six or more cups of coffee a day, referred to as the "most commonly used mood altering drug in the world" by Johns Hopkins with the potential to induce anxiety and disrupt sleep, the modern-day exhaustion epidemic makes sense.1,2 Add to that the fact that the average American eats more sugar than ever, at an estimated 160 pounds a year, and we have created the perfect storm.3
By the time that retirement is an option, many of us are on at least two to three pharmaceutical medications — if not more. As of 2014, close to 50 percent of Americans took one or more medications, with prescription drug use more likely to increase with age.4
Dr. Shiao-Ting Jing, a sixth generation physician at the Traditional Chinese Medicine Healing Center in Los Angeles specializing in hard-to-treat disorders and women's health, believes that natural medicine such as acupuncture and herbology creates an opportunity for people to live long and full lives.
What many women consider to be normal symptoms of PMS, like breast tenderness, headaches, low energy, and irritability, could be caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance. A ready-made probiotic like Dong Quai can help to strengthen digestion, balance hormones, and ease symptoms of menopause and PMS.
Dr. Jing was on her way to becoming a surgeon in China, until she began her internship working in an emergency room. There, she realized that Western medicine focused on disease care, rather than on prevention and sustaining quality of life. Changing her specialty to obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Jing became a teacher and a chief physician at Beijing Immunology Hospital. She has been practicing medicine for the last 28 years.
It is now more common than ever to see both men and women in their 20s struggling with infection, fluctuations in hormones, and declining libido.
While disease can have many faces, in traditional Chinese medicine all things, including disease, are an expression of yin and yang. Yin and yang are two fundamental and opposing forces that come together in the creation of the natural world. The Classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine exhibit held at the National Library of Medicine described how this delicate relationship is thought to affect the health of the body, "Good health is believed to come from a balance of Yin (negative, dark, and feminine) and Yang (positive, bright, and masculine)."5
Dr. Jing tells us that to achieve radiant health, "We are looking for yin and yang balance."
Such imbalances of the two are found in PMS and menopause. Dr. Jing believes the signs of PMS and menopause that women experience today are not normal. The profound shift in hormones suggests an underlying imbalance.
Imbalances that women should be aware of include:
Around the age of 35, a woman usually begins her transition into menopause. While she may not notice this shift until she reaches her fortieth year, there may be small clues indicating the rise and fall of certain key hormones. Up to 75 percent of menopausal women in the U.S. experience hot flashes and night sweats — lasting as long as seven years for many women, according to 2015 research published JAMA Internal Medicine.6 And anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of women approaching menopause turn to non-hormonal therapy to treat these hormonal symptoms, often because of the dangers associated with hormone replacement during menopause.7 Effectively addressing these hormonal changes during menopause is critical. Because we are living longer, a woman could spend 40 percent of her life in a postmenopausal state.8
Early hormonal indicators of menopause include:
In Chinese medicine, there is a focus on what are known as The Five Elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. These five elements are used to explain how the body progresses from one state into another. The Earth element, or our digestive force, is the foundation of The Five Element system. According to Dr. Jing, in order to have a healthy reproductive system and well-balanced hormones, it is essential to first take care of digestive function.
To improve digestive function, we must strengthen the Earth element.
Besides weak digestion, people with a weak Earth element often overwork, worry, crave sweets, and have a proclivity to gain weight. Exercise and seated meditation are also said to be beneficial in strengthening the Earth element.
Research confirms that many adults continually struggle with a compromised immune system, infertility, and lack of sleep, relying on stimulants like caffeine and sugar to make it through the day. This chronic exhaustion can lead to the use of multiple medications by the time we reach retirement age.
Today, it's more common than ever to see young men and women in their 20s experiencing fluctuating hormones, declining libido, and infection. But according to traditional Chinese medicine, all diseases and disorders are an expression of Yin and Yang — caused by an inner imbalance.
Balancing hormones begins by strengthening digestion. In Chinese medicine, the Earth element is related to digestive force and can support healthy reproduction and balanced hormones.
To strengthen your digestion and Earth element, use these helpful steps:
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