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Podcast: Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle & Fertility

Podcast: Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle & Fertility

Ancient menstrual wisdom from Chinese medicine

Menstrual periods are not the same for every woman. A woman’s period can change throughout her lifetime and timing, duration, colour and flow of periods can vary greatly.                                                   
Every month, the hormonal cycle of a woman in her fertile years goes through the process to prepare for pregnancy. Your hormones oestrogen and progesterone usually change throughout the cycle. If the egg does not become fertilised, the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation.         
In Chinese medicine we look at four phases of the menstrual cycle which are determined by the ebb and flow of yin (oestrogen) and yang (progesterone). The kidneys, heart and liver are of utmost importance for an harmonious cycle, the health of the spleen and stomach play a role as well.

What you will get out of tuning in:

  • The different phases of a menstrual cycle seen from a Traditional Chinese medicine perspective.
  • What’s a normal healthy cycle like?
  • How do you diagnose infertility with Chinese medicine?
  • What are the most common Chinese medicine patterns / imbalances for infertility?
  • How is the spleen energy related to fertility?
  • What role does the liver play in fertility?
  • How is the heart connected to the uterus and what does this mean for fertility?
  • Why are the kidneys so important for fertility?
  • What are a kidney yang and a kidney yin deficiency?
  • How do I treat an imbalance in my practice? What are the different steps?
  • How can a couple/woman/man support this process to increase the chances to conceive?
  • How can the Embody to Thrive program help to balance hormones and to boost fertility?

Favorite Quotes:

“According to Chinese medicine, the menstrual cycle is determined by the ebb and flow of Kidney-Yin and of Kidney-Yang. The amount of Yin oestrogen and Yang progesterone (and specifically Kidney-Yin and Kidney-Yang) fluctuates like a tide during the month in a defined pattern.”

“Very important to mention is that uncomfortable symptoms around ovulation, before, during and after the period are NOT normal. They indicate an imbalance.”

“In terms of fertility there are four organ systems – Kidney, Spleen, Heart and Liver that, when unbalanced, can lead to infertility.”

“Women with Spleen Qi deficiency typically have low energy, cravings for sugar, breads and other carbs, poor circulation and may experience spotting before their periods, menstrual cramps and fatigue during their periods. A Spleen Qi deficiency pattern is common in women with luteal phase defect.”

“The uterus (bao gong) is not seen in TCM as an isolated organ, but includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and the cervix.”

Tune in

Spotify

Itunes / Apple Podcast

Are you interested what Ayurveda and Yoga have to offer for a healthy menstrual cycle and to enhance fertility? Then tune into the other podcast episode here.

Are you looking for natural ways to have a healthy menstrual cycle?
Do you want to boost your fertility naturally?

I offer in my practice in Barcelona tailor-made treatments for women with acupuncture, Chinese herbals, Hormone Yoga Therapy and food recommendations. This natural therapy approach can help to ease menstrual discomforts, to enhance your fertility and support IVF treatments.

Podcast: An Ayurvedic and Yogic Approach to a Healthy Menstrual Cycle

Podcast: An Ayurvedic and Yogic Approach to a Healthy Menstrual Cycle

Ancient menstrual wisdom from Ayurveda and Yoga

Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences and provide us with tools that can help build resilience to the hormonal imbalances we are so prone to.

The woman’s menstrual cycle plays a major role in Ayurveda. If you go to an Ayurveda doctor or consultant, you will be asked questions about digestion and as a woman as well some questions about your menstruation cycle: Is the cycle regular? What colour is the blood? Are there any complaints before, after or during the menstruation? A woman’s cycle has a huge impact on life and wellbeing. The monthly bleeding is a cleansing phase for the body.

A lot of functions in our body are controlled by hormones, which is why it makes sense, as a woman, to be more concerned with our own cycle. In Ayurveda, the different phases of the cycle are determined by different doshas. ​​As a result, they have an effect on the physical and emotional level. Hormonal balance is crucial for being fertile and having a good pregnancy.

What you’ll get out of tuning in:

  • Understand your Ayurvedic menstrual cycle (three phases of Vata, Kapha & Pitta)
  • One tip for each phase of your cycle
  • How can we connect to our womb energetically, mentally or physically
  • Sound to activate second chakra and why the second chakra is related to fertility & hormones
  • Tips for better digestion & sleep
  • How can Embody to Thrive help a woman become more fertile?
  • One book recommendation that helps understand our female bodies better

Favorite Quotes:

Vata is the force that regulates all downward movements in the body, pushing the menstrual blood down and out of the body.”

“The womb is a sacred space where sensuality, intuition and creativity of the universe originate.”

“By learning how to direct energy to our womb and fertility centres, we can restore the juiciness and vitality that was otherwise lost.”

Tune in


Spotify

Apple Podcast

Are you interested what Chinese medicine has to offer for a healthy menstrual cycle and to boost fertility? Then tune into my other podcast episode here.

Embody to Thrive

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go toward lifelong health and wellness? Discover my health and lifestyle program Embody to Thrive.

Is your metabolism balanced? What are the signs of a healthy metabolism?

Is your metabolism balanced? What are the signs of a healthy metabolism?

What is metabolism? Is your metabolism in balance?

Good metabolism, poor metabolism, too slow, too quick, … The word metabolism is often used – and is often misunderstood. Because metabolism is not the same as digestion.

The metabolism is the basis of all vital processes in the body. Metabolism is roughly understood as all biochemical processes that take place within the cells. In other words: The components of the supplied nutrients are metabolised in the cells.

Enzymes, hormones and nutrients regulate the metabolism. As a result, everything that you eat and drink is broken down and converted by the body. If all metabolic processes run smoothly, the cells live in peaceful harmony.

Bad lifestyle habits can lead to metabolic disorders such as: diabetes mellitus, overweight, thyroid diseases e.g. hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, other hormonal and mental imbalances and diseases. A healthy lifestyle prevents and helps to boost the metabolism.

What are the signs that your metabolism is out of balance? Here we go …

  • You have difficulties to fall asleep, and you wake up feeling tired and sluggish.
  • Your hormones are imbalanced and you suffer from menopause, fertility or menstrual problems.
  • In the afternoon you can barely keep yourself from falling asleep.
  • You need coffee to get started in the morning and some alcohol every now and then to calm down and relax in the evening.
  • You regularly crave things that are actually not good for you.
  • Your immune system is weakened.
  • You have blemished skin or other skin problems like psoriasis, rosacea, …
  • You have a thick coating on your tongue.
  • Your bowel movements are not as we would like them to be (read more about that further down).
  • You have a bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
  • You have undesirable retention of water in the tissues.
  • You are quickly stressed and often do not feel balanced.

Do you recognise yourself here? I am often surprised and dismayed that many people don’t notice these signs because they consider them normal. Because others feel the same way. According to Eastern medicine, none of this is normal!

Let’s take a closer look at your bowel movement. When they are out of whack,

  • Your bowel movements are irregular and you may suffer from diarrhoea, constipation or hard bowel movement.
  • You empty your bowels more than twice a day or not every day.
  • Your stools have a strong smell or sticks to the side of the bowl.
  • You sometimes have heartburn or stomach pain.
  • You have air in your stomach, you have to burp, you have gas or a bloated belly.
  • You sometimes have attacks of hunger pangs or loose your appetite.

These are all concrete signs that your metabolism is out of balance.

In my online program Embody to Thrive you will learn to differentiate more precisely which sign stands for which imbalance, so that you can optimally counteract this.

You will establish simple new routines that help regulate your metabolism and, above all, how you can integrate them into your daily life.

How do you feel when your metabolism works optimally?

  • You have an appetite for the things that are good for you and that keep you in balance.
  • You fall asleep easily and wake up refreshed in the morning.
  • You have your feel-good weight and you like your body.
  • You have a consistent energy throughout the day, even in the afternoon.
  • You have a strong immune system and can quickly counteract if it gets out of balance.
  • Your hormones are balanced – no menopause, menstrual or fertility problems.
  • You have glowing, rosy skin.
  • You are emotionally balanced and feel grounded.
  • Your concentration and focus improve significantly.
Does this sound good to you? We strive for all of this in my program Embody to Thrive.

In this health and wellness journey you will start to sleep better, jump out of bed refreshed in the morning, get better skin, balanced hormones, more energy and don’t get sick as often. You will start treating yourself more lovingly and suddenly have the strength and motivation to follow your desires and dreams. And much more…

I would like you to feel the best you can and to discover yourself in a way that gives you all the tools you need to live a healthy and mindful life. I want you to have access to your true nature. Your potential. And from there it is much easier to live!

Take a look at Embody to Thrive and book your Free Discovery Call with me.

This program combines ancient Eastern medicine wisdom, modern behavioural sciences and coaching in a dynamic international group.

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

History of Hormone Yoga Therapy

Hormone Yoga Therapy is a form of yoga developed by Dinah Rodriguez, a Brazilian author and yoga teacher. Her aim first was to help women who are suffering from unwanted side effects of menopause. But soon she discovered, that the benefits serve all women suffering from any of the multitude of problems caused by hormonal imbalances.

In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about Hormone Yoga Therapy and how it can benefit you.

What is Hormone Yoga Therapy?

It is a holistic practice used to reactivate hormone production. As a result, it is said to improve and even eliminate hormonal imbalances.

HYT includes a fixed set of yoga postures, breathing techniques and visualisations. It draws primarily on hatha and kundalini yoga poses and practices.

Breath techniques (pranayama) alongside yoga poses activate the following glands: the hypophysis, thyroid, adrenal, and ovarian glands. The stimulation of these glands is increased by the application of mudras and bandhas alongside a Tibetan energy technique.

A bandha is also known as a body lock, whereas mudras are gestures with the fingers and hands. Both are used to help energy flow into certain parts of the body. 

Who is it for?

The therapy can reactivate glands and treat low or imbalanced hormones. It is therefore useful for women of any age, and specifically helpful for women who are:

  • experiencing a hormonal imbalance, for example: difficulty conceiving, menstrual disorders, ovarian cysts, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive.
  • looking for a preventative measure for the symptoms of peri- and menopause. Hormone levels start to drop at around 35 years old. 

Techniques used in Hormone Yoga Therapy

The techniques used in the therapy include: asanas (yoga poses), pranayama, mudras, bandhas, visualisation. We also work with the chakras. In order to stimulate the glands, we will practice dynamic asanas, along with powerful breathing.

Various types of breathing techniques are practiced during the class. To stimulate the glands, we use pranayama techniques involving strong abdominal breathing. For instance, breath of fire and full yogic breathing. Strong abdominal breathing moves the qi, prana, in the body and therefore improves circulation to the glands. 

These breathing techniques can also be used daily when you’re looking to find a little more calm or focus.

The practice consists of basic yoga poses and therefore you don’t need to have any experience in yoga to start the therapy! You will be taken step by step through each pose, as well as the breathing techniques.

Relaxation is also an important part. Students are led through the practice of yoga nidra, a relaxing, meditative style of yoga that takes you into a dream-like state. This, consequently, has huge benefits on your mental wellbeing and sleep.

What are the benefits?

This holistic therapy offers a host of mental and physical benefits for women of all ages, who experience hormonal imbalances. 

Managing the symptoms of the menopause

No woman should have to deal with the symptoms of menopause. HYT offers a natural and drug-free alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

In short, it can help alleviate the following symptoms of menopause:

  • Hot flushes
  • Urogenital dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety and sadness
  • Changes in periods
  • Osteoporosis prevention

Infertility

Infertility is often linked to low hormone levels and other hormonal imbalances. The therapy will therefore stimulate hormone-producing glands and consequently help with infertility problems.

Yoga is also a wonderful support to the stresses surrounding difficulties with conception. A regular hormone yoga practice, will promote a positive relationship with your body. As a result, you will learn to love and nurture your body rather than feeling frustrated with or negative about it.

Stress and anxiety

In addition, whether you are experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, HYT can alleviate the symptoms and leave you feeling much calmer and grounded. Meditative relaxation and visualisation techniques teach you to focus less on your thoughts and more on the present moment. So, these techniques are incredibly valuable and you can practice them on your own whenever needed.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Moreover, hormone yoga therapy, can lessen and even heal hormonal imbalances around the period, such as: tender breasts, cramps, mood swings, food cravings, digestion problems and others. It is the regular practice that increases blood circulation in the reproductive organs and balances hormones. As a result, it can help significantly with PMS problems.

More benefits of HYT

Other imbalances where HYT can help:

  • Insomnia
  • Painful periods
  • Incontinence
  • Hypertension
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Low libido
  • Depression and emotional instability
  • Absence/loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)

In addition, here are a few other ways that HYT can help with:

  • Balance the immune system
  • Balance the autonomic nervous system
  • Improve circulation and healing
  • Weight loss
  • Increase flexibility
  • Balance emotions
  • Develop an awareness of a healthy diet and lifestyle

When you should avoid HYT

Certainly, there are some conditions for which HYT is not suitable. Therefore, contact a doctor if you have, or have ever had:

  • During pregnancy
  • Cancer that is hormone related
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Severe hyperthyroidism
  • Severe hypertension
  • Large myomas/fibroids
  • Women who have had appendicitis but still have the appendix
  • Advanced endometriosis
  • Undiagnosed abdominal pain
  • Recent surgery
  • Severe cardiovascular diseases
  • Advanced osteoporosis

In conclusion, Hormone Yoga Therapy offers a natural alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy. Most importantly, when practised regularly, it can alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalances. As a result, Hormone Yoga Therapy will help you feel your best again!

Hormone Yoga Therapy Online Workshop

Join me for the next online workshop to learn and discover the hormone yoga exercise series by Dinah Rodrigues. A flow connecting you deeper to your feminine power. Tune in with your natural rhythms and make your hormones work for you.

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Fertility in Chinese Medicine and your kidneys

The kidneys belong to the water element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They create our sense of being rooted in our life and feeling inner security. Most importantly, they are the foundation for all of the body’s yin and yang energies. Some of their functions are: govern growth, development, water metabolism, reproduction and aging. Furthermore, they store the kidney essence. Also called jing which is considered to be the root of life of all aspects of human life. In Chinese medicine we see a kidney deficiency as one of the most common causes for fertility issues.

Some mental-emotional signs that your kidneys are out of whack are:

  • Not wanting to be by oneself.
  • Fear of social gatherings.
  • Difficulties to love oneself.
  • Feeling of unworthiness.
  • Searching for the purpose in life.
  • Not feeling secure and rooted in life.
  • Not using one’s full potential.
  • Feeling critical with oneself and others.
  • Fear of financial insecurity and the future.
  • Defining oneself by its roles and status in life.

Do you identify yourself with many of these aspects? Then it’s very probable that your kidneys are out of balance.

Your kidneys strongly influence your fertility and menstruation. Consequently, a kidney deficiency is at the root of many women´s problems like: infertility, amenorrhea, scanty or heavy periods, irregular periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and miscarriage. Let´s look today at their role in fertility.

Understanding kidney-yin and kidney-yang

The kidneys in Chinese medicine have a yin part (left kidney) and yang part (right kidney).

Kidney-yin corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system and is responsible for restoration and regeneration. When deficient it can show symptoms of:

  • exhaustion
  • feeling of heat
  • frequent and sudden urination
  • restlessness and anxiety
  • insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • dry skin, eyes and mucous membranes
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth and throat
  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • spontaneous sweating
  • often constipation esp. before period
  • vaginal dryness
  • dark scanty urine
  • a pale face with flushed red cheeks
  • a red peeled tongue

Kidney-yang is the foundation of the yang qi in the whole body. Its mission is to warm the whole body to promote the proper functioning of all organs and tissues. Therefore, when deficient we can experience symptoms of:

  • exhaustion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of joie de vivre and vitality up to depression
  • feeling cold and aversion to cold
  • declining or loss of libido
  • difficulty in urination and incontinence
  • excessive passage of urine at night
  • water retention and edema
  • lower backache esp. with menses
  • low BBT readings
  • often diarrhea esp. before or at the beginning of the period
  • cold feet
  • pale tongue

In practice we nearly always see a simultaneous deficiency of both as the two are inseparably linked. This can also lead to contradictory symptoms in women e.g.: feeling of heat of the face while having cold feet.

For getting a better understanding how they work together you could imagine that kidney-yin and kidney-yang are like an old-fashioned oil-lamp. Where kidney-yin is representing the oil and kidney-yang the flame. In other words, if there is not enough oil, the flame can die down and vice versa.

How the kidneys influence the fertilitzation process

In the reproductive system the kidney-yin is responsible for the quality of the ova (substance). While, the kidney-yang matures the follicles and provides the heat that ovulation can happen. Additionally, it is in charge of that the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for the fertilized egg. As a result, we can see if ovulation happened in the BBT monitoring (basal body temperature) by a temperature rise after ovulation.

Consequently, we can conclude that if there are not many ova and / or the quality of the ova is poor the kidney-yin is weak. Whereas, a deficient kidney-yang can show the following symptoms: the ova is not ripening, ovulation is not happening and the uterus lining not thickening.

Furthermore, the ovaries produce the two sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Both are crucial for conceiving and a healthy pregnancy. As a conclusion we can say that if there are low oestrogen levels, a woman can show symptoms of kidney-yin deficiency. Whereas, in case of low progesterone levels, symptoms of kidney-yang deficiency can be detected.

A kidney deficiency can be one of the reasons for recurrent miscarriages.

The main reasons for a kidney deficiency are: poor diet, chronic stress, long persisting emotional problems, certain medications, an inherited poor constitution, smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

Optimizing female fertility with natural therapies

Hormonal balance is then given when the warming (yang) and cooling (yin) functions of the body are well-balanced. For women showing any signs of kidney deficiency and menstruation problems the following treatments can be applied in my practice: dietary recommendations, acupuncture, herbal and yoga therapy and Bach flower essences.

References

Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine. 2nd Edition. by Giovanni Maciocia

Also see my other articles

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you!