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Changing harmony: The menopause from a TCM perspective

Prof. (chin.) Jiangtao Dong

Prof. (chin.) Jiangtao Dong

October 18, 2023

reading time

5 min

Immerse yourself in the world of traditional Chinese medicine and discover how this centuries-old healing art accompanies women through the menopause. Prof Jiangtao Dong, Head of TCM, shares his knowledge.

What are the basic concepts of TCM?

The basic concepts of TCM include the holistic concept, the individual concept, the qi/energy concept and other concepts. These basic concepts play a fundamental guiding role in the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases in TCM, especially during the menopause.

The holistic concept refers to the overall connection between different systems, tissues and organs of the body: the unity of body and mind and the harmony between man and nature/society. From a TCM perspective, it is extremely important to see and treat the patient in his or her entirety.

The individual concept states that there are individual differences between people. Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases should therefore be based on individual differences.

The qi concept (energy concept) is not only a physical concept, but also a physiological and philosophical concept at the level of TCM. Qi is found in nature and in living organisms. It is the basis of life, the driving force and expression of organ functions. Qi is constantly in motion. If Qi is deficient or blocked, health problems can occur. Therefore, supporting Qi in the body is one of the important basic principles of TCM treatment (e.g. through acupuncture).

In addition, the concept of yin-yang balance (the balance of the origin of life energy, which is also considered the balance of sex hormones) is also an important basic concept of TCM. If the balance of yin and yang is lost, menopausal symptoms can occur, for example.

What forms of TCM treatment are there?

There are basically five forms of TCM treatment. These are also known as the five pillars:

  • Pillar: acupuncture, laser acupuncture, electro-acupuncture/ TENS, ear acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, etc.
  • Pillar: Phytotherapy (herbs)
  • Pillar: Acupressure and Tuina massage
  • Pillar: Dietetics
  • Pillar: Exercises (Tai-Ji, Qi-Gong, etc.)

Of these forms of treatment, the methods of the first and second pillars are used most frequently in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, as they are particularly helpful in alleviating and eliminating these symptoms. In addition, it is of course also important to follow the right diet and exercise. During the menopause, TCM advocates reducing spicy foods (e.g. chilli) and foods that are too cold (e.g. ice cream).

  • Therapist performs cupping treatment on a patient.
    Treatment with cupping by Prof Dong
  • Acupuncture treatment by Prof Dong


How can TCM help with menopausal symptoms?

From a TCM perspective, the main cause of menopausal symptoms is the persistent imbalance of yin-yang energy and dysfunction of the organs. TCM treatments such as acupuncture, herbs, etc., can restore the balance of yin and yang and improve the disturbed functional state.

For example, acupuncture can suppress hyperfunction (hot flushes, night sweats, palpitations, irritability, etc.) and activate hypofunction (fatigue, depression, urogenital Sjögren's syndrome, etc.). Some studies have shown that these effects of acupuncture are achieved by stimulating the secretion of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine in the central nervous system.

Overall, TCM is a good complement to Western medicine and the combination of TCM and Western medicine in particular can help women to get through the menopause with a high quality of life.

Portrait photo of Prof. (chin.) Jiangtao Dong

Prof. (chin.) Jiangtao Dong

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