The Second Spring: Menopause

The Second Spring: Menopause

From the perspective of TCM, a woman’s transition out of her childbearing years is celebrated as the beginning of a very special era. As the term “Second Spring” suggests, menopause is akin to a renaissance, marking a shift in energy that restores focus inward—to the Heart and personal or spiritual development. Although this transition is associated with symptoms that can be quite destabilizing, Chinese culture encourages us to approach with faith in our capacity for a graceful aging process. As always in TCM, the cultivation of balance in preparation for this transition enhances the possibilities of a more harmonious experience. 


As a woman’s body relinquishes fertility on a physiological level, other parts of her are able to become more fertile. During her reproductive years, the Heart supplies Blood to the womb in order to nourish the possibility of new life; it then continues its downward flow as it is released through menstruation. During menopause, however, Blood flows “backward” from the uterus to the Heart, where Shen (Spirit) resides. This abundance of Qi to the Heart resources the Spirit, bestowing a myriad of gifts, including heightened intuition, wisdom distilled from one’s life experiences, courage and fearlessness, self-awareness, and confidence rooted in authentic expression. Of course, Chinese culture holds deep reverence for elders, which can make these gifts feel more available. 


By design, menopause is one of our many innate regulatory mechanisms that’s intended to facilitate and restore balance through the constant transitions that characterize life on Earth. Indeed, menopause supports the conservation of Qi and Blood, actually moderating the aging process for women. Nonetheless, the hormonal changes that occur during this time can be challenging and the body undergoes a tremendous recalibration process. When we focus on nurturing our own processes of regulation and therefore adaptability, we truly embrace a TCM understanding of vibrant health, which depends upon resiliency in the face of change. 


The Kidneys and Liver are two of the most foundational organ systems when it comes to reproductive health, additionally playing crucial roles during perimenopause and menopause. The Kidneys store the highest concentrations of Jing (Essence), which determines longevity, and are also the root of all bodily Yin and Yang energies—our primary regulatory mechanism. The Liver, as our most important detoxification pathway, is responsible for metabolizing multiple endocrine hormones, and is additionally responsible for regulating Qi and Blood. Supporting these organs with specialized support from tonic herbs and acupuncture can be incredibly transformative, and you’ll never regret beginning well in advance.


Tonic Herbal Support:

  • He Shou Wu: Tonifying to the Kidneys and Liver, He Shou Wu is one of the best allies for women through all of her reproductive cycles. One of the most revered Jing tonics, it is also a powerful Yin, Qi, and Blood rejuvenation tonic renowned for its longevity-promoting properties. He Shou Wu can help make the natural transition of menopause smoother, including by mitigating symptoms like insomnia, dizziness, blurred vision, and weakness in the lower back and knees. 
  • Schizandra: A perfectly balanced Yin and Yang tonic that is nourishing to the Kidneys and modulates estrogen production, supporting those with estrogen dominance or deficiency (most common in peri/menopause). In regulating the body’s nonspecific stress response via the HPA axis and sympathetic-adrenal system, it helps mitigate hormonal dysregulation caused by stress (resulting in excess stress hormones). Schizandra has long been revered as a beauty and antiaging tonic, promoting resilience, cognitive function, and nourishing all Three Treasures, considered life’s vital substances—Jing (Essence), Qi (vital energy) and Shen (Spirit). 


  • Shen Blend: A well-rounded Shen-tonifying formula featuring extracts of Reishi, Asparagus Root, Polygala Root, Jujube Seed, White Peony Root, and Albizia Bark. The stress-mitigating qualities of these herbs support the hormone rebalancing process characteristic of a harmonious Second Spring, additionally nourishing Yin and promoting restorative sleep. Shen is crucial to the process of becoming an embodied elder. These spiritual growth herbs help us evolve through extremely stressful conditions, enhancing our ability to not only overcome challenges but to also extract the wisdom from our experiences.