In Traditional Chinese Medicine women’s menstrual cycles fall into 4 distinct phases, Blood, Yin, Yang, and Qi. By understanding the basis of each phase you can hen learn how you can support your cycle in each phase using food! I believe that food can be used as an incredible tool so you can support your body and your cycle in between treatments. You get to be your own doctor and healer!
Phase I: The Blood Phase- Menses
This phase starts on the first day of true bleeding. If you have spotting a few days before your period, in TCM those days are still part of your previous cycle.
Focus: The key to this phase is MOVEMENT specifically the moving Qi and blood. All of the old blood and tissue is pushed out of the body during the Blood Phase. If you have cramps or clots in the menstrual blood it is likely because there is not enough movement during this phase.
You can increase the movement of the Blood Phase by adding foods that are also moving. Below you will find foods to increase during phase one and foods to avoid.
Add: Comfort foods such as stews, casseroles, whole grains, root veggies
Avoid: Dairy, Alcohol, Spicy foods as much as you can
Phase II: The Yin Phase- The Follicular Phase
Yin in TCM represents substances that have shape and form. Things that are considered Yin are dense and/or gooey. Endometrium is Yin and during this phase the lining is being built. This phase leads up to ovulation.
Focus: The key to this phase is BUILDING both Yin and Blood
The fods listed below are nourishing food for both Yin and Blood
Add: Protein Rich Foods- beans, fish, eggs, meats, cooked leafy greens, shellfish, beets, sweet rice, apricots, cherries, grapes
Avoid: Sugar, Excess salt and processed food, as well as dairy, alcohol, and spicy foods
OVULATION: Day 14ish- The release of the egg shows Yin turning into Yang
Focus: Support the Switch from yin dominance to yang dominance
Add: Lighter foods- fish, quinoa, salads, cooked beets, whole grains, chicken, ginger, cinnamon, onions
Phase III: The Yang Phase- The Luteal Phase
This phase is like the dawn coming after the night. Yang represents “movement” it has no shape like Yin, but it gives power and movement to the things that do have shape. An example of this is wind. Wind has no shape in itself but it can make objects move. This Yang energy is what pushes the egg released during ovulation down the fallopian tubes. Progesterone is considered a Yang hormone because of its warming and drying effect- this also accounts for the rise in basal body temperature during this phase.
Focus: The key of this phase is WARMING to support Yang at its Peak
Add: Warming foods, increase proteins, cooked veggies, brown rice, eggplant, beans, seaweed, spicy food, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts
Avoid- cold raw food and dairy
Phase IV: The Qi Phase
For the purpose of this blog post I am going to assume that you did conceive in the last phase and you are not pregnant, this phase would be treated different because the fullness of Phase Four would not be reached. A good way to think of this phase is to think of the Yang Cycle from about sunrise to 12pm and then the Qi phase from 12pm to sunset, where the sun starts its long descent down.
Focus: The focus of this phase is to build the Qi needed to move the blood in the next phase (Phase I). If there is a problem in Phase 4 such as spotting before your period, it is because the body is trying to start the menses cycle and move into Phase I- but it lacks the Qi necessary to start, adding tonifying Qi foods during this phase can help with Phase 4 issues.
Add: Oats, rice, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, cherries, figs, grapes, beans, beef, chicken
Avoid: milk, cheese, raw foods, coffee, excess sugar
It is important to note that every person presents different and you may need to alter the food in each Phase to better fit how you present and where your symptoms arrive during your cycle. Food recommendations can all be discussed further for you specifically during your acupuncture appointment!
It’s October! And that means it is the month for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day! Otherwise known as AOM Day which lands on October 24th! So what is AOM Day? It’s a day where acupuncturists from all over get to spread the word about Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. It was designed increase public awareness of the progress, promise, and benefits of this ancient healing art of medicine!
Did you know 1 in 10 adults have received acupuncture at least once in their lives, this statistic shows the increasing need and popularity of acupuncture and AOM Day is a way where we can really promote this, not that I don’t do that everyday :) But on October 24th the United States, Canada, Mexico, and even Pakistan all get to show our love for acupuncture together!
Some other Fun Facts about Acupuncture and AOM DAY:
1. Oriental medicine, such as acupuncture, is a health care system that has been used for more than 3,000 years to treat illness and improve quality of life.
2. All Oriental medicine is based on the idea of bringing the body to balance and improving the the body’s natural energy flow, which is called qi.
3. The World Health Organization has listed acupuncture as a useful treatment for more than 40 health conditions.
4. Acupuncture is known to be helpful as a treatment on its own, as well as a complementary treatment.
5. AOM day is comprised of international partnerships with professional associations, research organizations and educational institutions.
6. The most common complementary and alternative medicines according to the NCCIH survey include acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, tai chi and qigong.
7. Activities on AOM Day include press releases, health fairs, open house tours of college clinics and facilities, and working with AOM professionals and alumni to host free treatments and talks.
8. The 49 AOM colleges and programs in the U.S. are all part of The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which was established in 1982 for the goal of advancing acupuncture and oriental medicine and promoting education.
So you may be thinking thats great but what does that mean for me?
This year to celebrate AOM DAY and to spread the benefits of Acupuncture Denver Mind Body Essence will be offering 20% OFF ALL ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENTS!
That includes- Auricular Acupuncture: Normally $30 but will be just $24
Initial Acupuncture Treatments: Normally $110 but will be $88
Returning Acupuncture Treatments: Normally $70 but will be $56
If your still not sure if Acupuncture is right for you and just want to learn more book a free initial consultation to get all your questions answered!
Appointments will go quick at these prices so book today!