The Personal Experience of Qigong as an Effective Health Tool During Menopause
I don’t just believe, “I KNOW that Qigong has helped me through a multitude of challenging situations”. Like most people, I have had my fair share of stresses and strains, grief, loss, frustration, confusion, and sadness. In the last 13 years of my life, Qigong has been a constant partner to help me stay grounded. It can nudge me back to emotional and mental balance when out of whack. It assists me in healing, reduces stress, and improves my ability to relax deeply. So I can achieve balance, strength, and stamina, encourage better sleep, and much more.
In addition, I am 56, post-menopausal, and convinced that Qigong has been an extremely effective health tool during menopause, helping me effectively bridge the transition from fertility to post-fertility.
How can I know that Qigong has helped me on my journey into menopause?
Well firstly, what I have felt and continue to feel in my own systems tells me. Added to this, there are an increasing number of research articles attesting to the efficacy of regular and steady Qigong practice in alleviating and even helping menopausal symptoms. It stands to reason that my long years of daily practice have provided a foundation from which these biological changes have been able to play out in my system with relative ease.
Secondly, when I compare myself with other women. Women I know who don’t practise Qigong or any other holistic movement practices and who are going through or have gone through the same significant life change. I can see that it has been quite a different journey for me than for many others.
Now I’m not saying Qigong is necessarily a cure-all panacea for the potentially challenging symptoms of this transitional life phase. I do know that our genetic tendency also contributes to the wide variety of menopausal experiences, but a regular Qigong practice can make a huge difference in how these experiences play out. Indeed, Qigong is an Effective Health Tool for Women’s Cycle to Menopause
What Characterises Menopause?
At this time in a woman’s life, her ovaries cease egg production. Menopause can kick in as young as 40, but the average age is 51. Prior to this (in the perimenopausal phase), women will notice changes in the length of and between periods. Postmenopause is considered to be the time when you haven’t had a period for a year or longer.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is a Chinese system of exercise, meditation, and self-cultivation that originated in China thousands of years ago. Qigong uses movement, breath, and intention to facilitate energy – or ‘Qi’. Qi flow throughout the body, releasing stagnation and encouraging better organ and physiological system function. It is both an art and a science of human potential and healing. Classical Chinese Medicine principles are a foundation of Qigong, One of the key ideas is the concept of Yin and Yang. This idea states that these two forces, which are opposing yet mutually twined, are the basis upon which every universal phenomenon is composed.
Chinese Medicine and Menopausal Symptoms
During menopause, a woman’s body experiences Yin deficiency. Yin body/mind functions relate to nourishment, moistening, and cooling, however, deficiency can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
Hot flushes (also called hot flashes), night sweats, and mood swings can be some of the most common symptoms a woman would experience during and prior to menopause, but she can also feel irritable, have trouble sleeping, night sweats, poor memory, and/or have brain fog.
A Highly Effective Health Tool for Menopause
The depletion of Yin Qi is a strong contributor to the presentation of the aforementioned conditions. Working with your body, however, can support the transition into menopause and help to turn this around. Yin Qi can be nourished through enough rest, as well as through optimizing nutrition, and of course through practicing Qigong. Qigong is key to nourishing Yin, with its deeply tranquil, inward-looking cultivation practices. This act of turning the attention within, away from external demands on your attention, provides space for your Yin to regenerate. A more gentle, restorative approach to dynamic Qigong – like 8 Trigram Qigong – will also assist to that end. Additionally, we can modify the breath to elicit more nourishment of Yin in the body.
In the end, it’s important to remember that menopause is a natural process and to honor this change. Qigong teaches us to embrace change as a universal principle and to adapt accordingly. Qigong helps you to trust in your capacity to be there for yourself, improve your health, replenish energy levels, and support your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies through this incredible life change. In this way, it is a really effective health tool for menopause.
In Part 2 I will go into more detail about how different Qigong practices affect physiological, mental, and emotional changes, and we’ll also delve into some recent scientific research that confirms Qigong’s efficacy as a supportive practice for menopause.