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Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

How can Chinese Medicine promote a healthy sex life

Having a fulfilling and healthy sex life is important for our physical and mental health and powerful for our personal growth. It depends on many different aspects including your physical state and emotional wellbeing. Therefore, we will take a look at how Chinese medicine can help us with difficulties we might experience. Let’s first understand the basic principle of TCM to see how this is connected with our sexuality.

Chinese Medicine and the principle of Yin & Yang

Chinese medicine is based on the theory that all imbalances and illnesses are due to a disturbance in Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposite forces but interdependent and they attract and complement each other.

Yin is feminine and stands for: black, dark, passive, the moon, cold, soft, receptive, sensitive and quiet.

Yang on the other side is masculine and represents: white, light, fire, creativity, warm, rich, hard, penetrating and active.

They both form a unity and everything in the universe can be seen through this perspective.

When you look at a hill, you will see a side exposed to the sun and another part in the shadow. Yang presents here the sunny part and Yin the shady side. In the transformation from day and night, the day is yang and active, bright and dynamic and the night associated with yin as it is passive, dark and calm. Yang will go over in Yin and Yin goes over in Yang.

Every single thing is going through this process of constant change and transformation. One cannot exist without the other.

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Yin & Yang and their role in Sexual Health

In sexuality, two people meet to express and experience themselves as one. They want to complement each other to enjoy pleasure, closeness and intimacy. Yin and Yang meet here to form a unity and then will separate again. Yin is the receptive, soft, passive and lubricating part and Yang the penetrating, hard and active one.

In each organ, a Yin and Yang part is represented and the organs most important for having a healthy sex life are the kidneys, liver and the heart.

The kidneys organ system consists of the kidney Yin, kidney Yang and kidney Essence. The Essence, also called jing, is inherited by our parents and considered to be the base for development, and human growth and vitality. In effect, the kidneys are the root of life and they influence our fertility, vital force, ageing, sexual vitality and procreative ability in men.

The heart governs blood, controls the blood vessels and sweating and is responsible for bringing oxygenated blood to all parts in the body. The heart hosts the mind “shen” which relates to spirit and mental health. If the mind “shen” is anchored in the heart we can experience joy, pleasure and open our heart to others.

The liver meridian (energy pathway) is circling the external genitals and goes through the chest and one of the main tasks of the liver is to ensure a smooth flow of Qi in the body.

All the organs are interconnected to each other and cannot properly function when one is out of balance, and therefore counteractive towards a healthy sex life.

The most common sexual problems women are experiencing are:

  • Lack of sexual desire or low libido
  • Lack of arousal
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm
  • Painful intercourse

Lack of sexual desire or low libido

Even when a healthy sex life is desired, low libido is often experienced due to a deficient kidney yang in combination with the heart yang. As a result, we experience too much cold and can feel slightly depressed, the kidney Yangs function to ignite the sexual fire is impaired. It can be accompanied by feelings of exhaustion and tiredness, spontaneous sweating, breathlessness, infertility, under-functioning thyroid, cold feet and lower back, nocturia, lower backache, abdominal distention and fullness, and water retention in the feet and around ankles. This state has usually developed over a longer period of time.

Possible reasons for having a deficient kidney Yang:

  • Diet: Too much raw foods, ice-cooled foods and drinks, sugar, refined carbohydrates, yoghurt, cow milk products, soft drink, soy milk products, black tea, green tea.
  • Excessive physical work and exercise.
  • Chronic illnesses e.g. Hypothyroidism
  • Inherited poor constitution.
  • Chronic anxiety.

Foods that strengthen kidney-Yang:

  • Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon
  • Sardines, salmon, squid
  • Quinoa, oat, whole grain rice, wild rice, black rice
  • Walnut, chestnut
  • Pumpkin seed
  • Red wine (just here and there a glass)
  • Pumpkin seed oil, sesame oil (not roasted)

Eat regularly, never skip any dishes, prefer warm foods out of the oven, cooked and stir-fried.

Acupuncture and Herbs help to:

  • Tonify and warm kidney and heart yang
  • Promote the transformation of fluids

When lack of arousal hinders a healthy sex life

A lack of arousal can be experienced when the kidney Yin and kidney Essence is weak, often accompanied by heart Yin deficiency. You might still have a desire for sex but with the missing physical stimuli needed for a healthy sex life. Then the body lacks moisture it can show up in vaginal dryness. Depending on how long the deficiency has existed, other symptoms can occur as well like: dizziness, tinnitus, depression, poor memory, lower backache, night sweating and dry mouth during the night.

Possible reasons for having a deficient kidney Yin:

  • Diet: Foods poor in minerals, fast food, plenty of coffee, regular consumption of spicy and fried foods, alcohol.
  • Overwork over a period of several years.
  • Stress, lack of sleep, spending too much time in front of the TV and notebook.
  • Strong bleeding during pregnancy, birth and period or during operation.
  • Excessive sexual activity, especially during the teenage years.
  • Overconsumption of Chinese herbs that strengthen kidney Yang.
  • Chronic anxiety and worry.

Foods that strengthen kidney-Yin and kidney essence:

  • Algae
  • Amaranth, millet
  • Black beans, green beans and kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, mulberry
  • Coconut meat and milk
  • Olive oil
  • Raisins, dates, black grapes
  • Black sesame, chia seeds
  • Sesame oil
  • Shiitake (mushrooms)
  • Soy sauce (Tamari or Shoyu)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tempeh
  • Sardines, white fish, oyster
  • Wheat grain tea

Your preference should be for foods that are steamed, blanched or boiled in water.

Acupuncture and Herbs help to:

  • Tonify kidney Yin and heart Yin
  • Calm the mind
  • Clear heat if necessary

Conclusion: Give your body time to rebuild kidney Yin and kidney Yang. It takes patience but pays out in the long run for your health and sexual life.

Difficulty achieving orgasm

The inability to achieve sexual climax can be a result of a stagnant liver Qi. If the liver Qi stagnation occurs in the meridian it can lead to a decline of arousal in the breasts and difficulties to achieve an orgasm. Other symptoms that might appear are melancholy, moodiness, feeling of a lump in the throat, irregular periods, premenstrual tension, cold hands, feeling of distention in the chest or abdomen, tender breasts before period and feeling easily irritable and aggressive.

Possible reasons for having a stagnant liver Qi:

  • Diet: Too much meat, heavy and grilled foods, fast food and convenience products, overconsumption of: spicy foods, cinnamon, chai tea, garlic, sweets, coffee.
  • Eating too quickly. Overeating.
  • Excessive demands and overwork, the pressure to perform.
  • Not enough movement.
  • Stress over a long period of time.
  • Too much alcohol and some medications and contraceptives.
  • The most common symptom is excessive emotions like recurrent feelings of anger, resentment and frustration.

Foods that promote a smooth liver Qi flow:

  • Saffron, turmeric
  • Cider vinegar
  • Eggplants, artichoke, turnip cabbage, green cabbage, beetroot, radish, celery, olives, sprouts
  • Plums
  • Fresh green herbs like basil, cress, mint, chive
  • Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil
  • Teas like orange flower blossom, rose flower tea, dandelion, peppermint and jasmine

Don’t eat under stress, avoid heavy and greasy dishes, too much alcohol, grilled and deep-fried foods.

Acupuncture and Herbs help to:

  • Move liver Qi
  • Smooth the liver

Painful intercourse

Pain during sexual intercourse can put a strain on a relationship. Some women experience pain during sex as their vagina is too dry. Then all the advice above for a weak kidney Yin apply.

Other women have very tight vaginal muscles, also called vaginismus. In this state, they are unable to relax these muscles and consequently, penetration cannot happen. Sexual and physical traumas can lead to this condition. In this case, food cannot offer a solution, however, acupuncture has shown good results by balancing the Yin and Yang via liver and pericardium points.

In addition, trauma therapy and Bach flower remedies can help to overcome the trauma. Some Bach flower remedies that have shown good results are Crab Apple, Larch, Rock Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Vine, Walnut and Water Violet.

Some women diagnosed with endometriosis and fibroids experience painful intercourse as well. In their case, it is due to blood stagnation combined with other imbalances.

Please find more ideas about what to eat and to avoid in my articles:

Fibroid Diet – Best and Worst Foods to eat

Endometriosis and Diet – Foods to avoid and what you should eat more of

In my practice, I advise my patients on the use of herbs and acupuncture that encourages blood circulation, invigorates blood, clears heat and moves the liver Qi. Food alone cannot bring a solution when the diseases are already too advanced but it is crucial for the positive course of treatment. Women with fibroids and endometriosis must be accompanied by a Gyn.

Any questions? Get in contact with me and let’s discuss together how I can help you.

Also have a look at my article 5 Foods that Boost your Sex Drive”

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.

Some resources:

Vaginismus Successfully Treated with Chinese Medicine – A Case Study

The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text by Giovanni Maciocia CAc( Nanjing)

Congee: Health Benefits and How to Make this Rice Porridge

Congee: Health Benefits and How to Make this Rice Porridge

Congee is a healing rice porridge used as an everyday medicine to heal and sustain your health

Where does this healthy, simple rice porridge come from?

This ancient recipe from Traditional Chinese Medicine heals your gut health and is a real dish for kings. Food is one of the most important pillars of sustaining health and therefore, congee is high up the list! This silky, savoury porridge is an everyday breakfast in China and in some other parts of the world. Congee is also called jook, khao tom moo, and arroz caldo.

What are the health benefits of eating congee?

To be straight with you, you have probably eaten more intense flavoured dishes. However, this simple grain soup is easily digested and assimilated, tonifies the blood and the Qi, harmonizes the digestion and soothes inflammation. It ensures an optimal balance for Yin and Yang which results in good health. If you want to detox your body, cure your intestinal flora, lose some weight or enhance energy circulation, eat this creamy rice porridge on a regular basis.

Which health problems can be addressed with congee?

– red skin rashes like atopic dermatitis, eczema, acne
– water retention (oedema)
– overweight
– food allergies
– digestive problems, especially stomach burning, soft stools, diarrhoea
– hot flashes
– cellulite
– endometriosis
– cysts, fibroids and myomas
– chronic bladder infections and urinary tract infections
– headaches and migraines
– menstruation problems
– recurrent lung infections and respiratory allergies
– congested nose and sinuses

When should you avoid eating congee?

– during pregnancy
– if you are underweight or suffering from anorexia
– if you have chronic ice-cold feet and constant freezing
– if you are experiencing chronic constipation and hard, painful stools
– when feeling very weak and exhausted

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How to make congee?

To prepare congee, you simply need to simmer a small amount of rice in a large amount of water for several hours (3-4 hours).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice (around 100g)
  • 10 cups of water

The proportion must be 1: 10. If your digestion is weak, take white rice. Otherwise, I recommend you whole grain rice. Always take organic rice to lower the risk of having arsenic in your rice.

Equipment

Pressure cooker (needs less cooking time, around 1-2 hours) or saucepan with a lid.

How to cook

  • Combine the rice and water in the cooker.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover.
  • Continue simmering for around 3-4 hours (pressure cooker less). Stir the congee from time to time. If the porridge is getting too stiff, add more water.
  • Serve the congee in a bowl and enjoy with a spoon. No spices, salt and fat are added.

Congee can also be cooked from other grains depending on the therapeutic goals.

How often should I eat congee?

This depends on which issues and goals you have. You can replace one of your regular daily meals with a bowl of congee. Ideally eaten in the morning between 7 – 11 am as this is when the spleen and stomach are most active. The congee warms up the digestive system and sets a good foundation for the body to absorb the nutrients from the rest of the food that you will eat throughout the day.

If you want to do a rice cure, simply eat the congee for 3 to 7 days. At least 3 days are necessary, as it is during this period of time that a person’s gut bacteria changes. To further help the body rinse out the toxins, it is recommended that you drink plenty of hot, boiled water and herbal teas based on your personal demand. If you have slight problems of evacuation of the bowels, soak some chia seeds overnight in water and add them to your congee.

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.

Liver Detox and 6 tips to Support your Liver

Liver Detox and 6 tips to Support your Liver

How to Detox your Liver Naturally

The liver, associated with spring in Chinese Medicine, is the largest organ of your body and is always busy rinsing your body of toxins and performs over 500 functions. It’s responsible for an astounding variety of life-sustaining and health-promoting tasks. Some of the very important jobs are detoxifying your blood, producing the bile needed to digest fats, balancing cholesterol and your hormones and storing vitamins, iron and minerals.

It is doing a big job! That is why it is so necessary to keep this overachieving organ in optimal shape. The power of your liver to regenerate is incredible. But before we get to the smooth liver detox, let us take a look what Chinese Medicine has to say about this amazing organ and how your body reacts if the liver is in imbalance.

The Liver in Chinese Medicine

The liver regulates Qi, the vital energy, that sustains life and stores blood. It carries Qi around the body and supports the functioning of our organs, limbs and tissues. While you’re awake, the liver controls the flow of blood out into the muscles and sinews during activity, and brings it back to the liver during night to clean it. The liver controls as well the tendons and sinews, opens into the eyes and manifests in the nails. On a physical level it gives us strength and flexibility.

It expresses itself in a free flow of emotions and the emotion of anger is associated with it. Suppressing your feelings or uncontrolled outbursts, lead to an imbalance of the liver energy. When it is in balance, you can express your feelings adequately.

The liver also houses the “Hun”, or soul, which gives us our consciousness and sense of purpose. This spirit is as well responsible for loving kindness, awareness of suffering, empathy, compassion, and tolerance. If the liver energy is strong, you will have a clear overview of your life and you are able to plan, focus and make decisions.

Some signs of bad liver health are bloating, gas, constipation, haemorrhoids, problems to digest fat, skin and eye problems, inability to loose weight, high blood pressure, yellowish skin or eyes, migraines and headaches, fertility problems, muscular weakness and insomnia. The menstruation is also greatly effected by it and keeps your menstrual cycles running smoothly but when in imbalance shows up in absent or infrequent menstrual periods, excessive, prolonged or shortened bleeding, painful periods and clots. Emotionally it can express in unexplained irritability, moodiness, anger, bitterness, unkindness and impatience.

Fortunately, you can help improve your liver’s functioning.

How to do a smooth Liver Detox

While doing a liver detox it is important to reduce stress and demanding physical workouts. Try to create more time for doing the things you love and that benefit your well-being e.g. taking walks, participating in a yoga class, seeing friends, reading a book, just to name a few.

Start your day by drinking a cup of hot water with some freshly squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. For the rest of the day continue drinking cooked water and/or a herbal tea with a mix of the following liver supporting herbs: dandelion, milk thistle, parsley, chamomile, licorice, lemon balm, yarrow, orange blossom. A cup of green tea per day is also supportive.

Your breakfast can be a vegetable soup or if you crave for something sweet a cooked porridge is great as well e.g. mix millet and quinoa and add an apple or pear with some dried fruits. At the end of the cooking process you can season it with cardamom and add some nutritional yeast flakes.

At lunch you can eat a vegetable soup, a rice-vegetable dish or another vegan dish. It is important that it is steamed, cooked or out of the oven. Avoid any fried food. Let your dish be accompanied by a salad with endives, rocket, dandelion or field salad with fresh herbs like basil, parsley, watercress, dill or chive. As a dressing, mix fresh lemon with olive or sesame oil.

Your cooked dinner should be eaten before 7pm, as after this time the digestion slows down.

For any hunger in between you can eat an apple or some slices of cucumber.

If you need some inspiration what to cook you can find here some ideas: Recipes

Choose foods which are especially good for your liver:

  • Grains like amaranth, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice
  • Vegetables like green veggies (e.g. artichokes, asparagus, celery, dandelion, kale, brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garden sorrel, leek), fresh green herbs, beets, sweet potatoes, turmeric
  • Legumes (soak them overnight so that they are easier digestible) like white, kidney and lima beans
  • Fruits like lemons, limes, strawberries (clean the blood), berries

Start the detox for a week and if you feel well, you can extend it. You should eat vegan during this time and after finishing the detox, introduce other foods step by step. Slight headaches, skin irritations and slight changes in the digestion are normal signs of the detox. However, if you are not feeling well or you experience unexpected discomforts then please stop the detox. When you suffer from any illnesses, then consult your practitioner or doctor before starting.

To sustain a proper liver function you should reduce or avoid the following things in the future

  • Excess dietary fats, especially trans fat
  • Refined sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Refined carbohydrates, including white rice and products made from white flour
  • Soy protein isolates, found in many protein energy bars and processed soy foods
  • Regular and too much alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and caffeine

6 Tips to support the Liver

1. Acupressure point liver 3 “Tai Chong”
One of the most popular points in Chinese medicine. If you are feeling cranky, irritable or angry, this point has a calming effect. It is also used for menstrual disorders, headaches, dizziness, detoxification, eye issues and promotes the flow of Qi in the body. Just to name a few of the wonderful effects of this point.

You find it on the dorsum of the foot in a depression distal to the junctions of the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones, slide your thumb up until you feel a depression about 1/2 inch up. Massage or press it.

2. Meditate daily
It is a process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Regular meditation helps to release stress, calms the mind and improves your concentration significantly. Here you can find different meditations with different length: Mindful Meditations

3. Essential oils for your well-being
They are natural remedies used for various conditions and also can improve the health of skin, hair and body. Inhaled, added in a drink or applied on the skin, they can help with emotional and physical problems. Lemon supports the cleansing process, wild orange benefits a healthy immune system and promotes a free flow of liver Qi and lavender has calming and relaxing qualities. You can find here more information of how they can be used and benefit your health: doTerra

4. Move your liver Qi
To support a smooth flow of liver Qi, you can try Qigong or another energy practice to get your Qi flowing and release toxins from your body. You’ll feel lighter and less tense in mind-body-spirit.

5. Let it out and free your emotions!
Shout or break things (in a safe space) to release your frustrations and anger. I can suggest balloons, bubble wrap, or pillows. Also shouting in free nature can be a big relief (my personal favourite).

6. Sleep
According to Chinese Medicine, it is crucial to sleep latest at 11pm in order to support the organs gallbladder and liver in their function. This is because the gallbladder’s most active time is from 11pm to 1am and the liver’s “repair time” starts at 1am for two hours.

If you should have any questions, feel free to contact me.

About the author Carina Greweling

She is a state-approved naturopath from Germany who studied after her exam Chinese medicine, craniosacral therapy and Bach flowers and deepened her knowledge of meditation and yoga while she was living in India. She offers in her practice in Paris tailor-made treatments and is specialised in women´s health. In regular workshops and yoga retreats she proposes to gain deeper knowledge and inspiration about a healthy body and mind. She also gives online consultations. Contact her if you have any questions.