Welcome to the Hormone Rollercoaster…Hot flashes, migraines, crazy periods, insomnia, night sweats, mood swings and low libido. Sister, at 48 years old, I am with you on this wild ride. Let’s make it a good one!

What is Perimenopause?

You are considered to be in menopause when you haven’t had a period for at least 12 months. Perimenoupause is the time leading up to menopause. It usually starts in your 40s, and can last as long as 10 years, although for most women it’s closer to 4 years. This is when your ovaries start to give up the game, so to speak, producing less hormones. 

First, let’s get rid of this idea that perimenopause is some kind of disorder, once and for all.

Perimenopause is a totally natural and healthy part of life.

While we’ve all heard horror stories about how bad it can be, those symptoms are signs of imbalance which are quite treatable with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). You will notice changes in your body, but you do NOT have to suffer horribly through perimenopause.

Your Second Spring

I’d like to offer a different perspective on menopause. Here in Western cultures, we tend to think of this with some dread of aging, losing something of ourselves. I call cultural bulls….um, brainwashing on that perspective. This weird worship of youth is not doing anyone any favors. While youth has its benefits, so does the wisdom of aging and experience. 

For centuries, Asian cultures have viewed menopause as your Second Spring. All that energy that goes into cycling and preparing for pregnancy every single month for nearly 40 years is freed up. The ancient texts say that the energy of the uterus moves up to the heart, leading to deeper wisdom. All that energy is coming back to you, instead of out in the world. 

What if you looked at menopause as a new beginning?

After years of so much of your energy going to others, what if you give it back to yourself? What if you can finally focus on some long-lost dreams or realize you might have entirely new dreams? What would this world look like if women entering menopause were also entering their power, their gifts, and their voice?

I invite you look at menopause as a kind of personal rebirth.

But the symptoms…

Yes, the symptoms…that is important! Did you know that many women breeze through perimenopause with hardly a symptom, and that is actually normal

Of course many of us do have symptoms that are quite uncomfortable and disruptive, and we need some relief!

While there are many western medical approaches to perimenopausal symptoms, they come with their own risks and side effects. They also are more of a “band-aid” treatment, treating symptoms but not the root imbalance. These can be worthwhile. However, if you are looking for a more natural approach to treating your symptoms AND the root causes, it’s time to try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM).

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for perimenopause relief and rebalance

Chinese medicine has been successfully treating the symptoms of perimenopause (and the root imbalances leading to those symptoms) for centuries. And it’s pretty darn good at it! One of the things I like the most about Chinese medicine and perimenopause is that it doesn’t look at it as something to fix, just something that may need to be rebalanced for optimal health. Because, as I said above, perimenopause and menopause are not a disease or disorder! Just a normal part of life.

With both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, we can cool those hot flashes, dry those night sweats, calm your moods, help with your sleep, reduce migraines, and just generally even you out. As with most things, we strongly recommend weekly acupuncture treatments for 4-6 weeks then tapering to every other week as your symptoms subside. The best part about acupuncture is that you will feel more relaxed and better after each treatment, and the effect is cumulative. As one of my patients says, it makes her “less killy,” lol.

Chinese herbal medicine is really important and effective in treating perimenopausal symptoms, as they work daily.

These formulas focus on cooling, moistening and anchoring your Qi, so you feel calmer and, well, cooler. In fact, studies have found these formulas to be safe and effective in relieving symptoms.¹ You can expect to be taking these formulas for several months, and may need them again as you move through the stages of perimenopause. We keep it easy for you, though, and do all of our formulas in capsule form. Even the worst hot flashes find relief withing a day or two with formulas like Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan. 

Together, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can bring you fast and lasting relief from your perimenopausal symptoms, and keep you more healthy and balanced along the way. 

We offer free 15-minute initial consults to answer your questions and see if we’re a good fit for you! For more personalized perimenopause support with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, or for your free 15-minute initial consult, book an appointment with Dr. Jennie.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752783/

Chronic pain affects your whole life.

Whether it’s neck or back pain, migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve pain or anything else, chronic pain can create anxiety and depression, insomnia and has a huge impact on your ability to do “normal” things. Dealing with the pain itself is exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically. And since it’s not usually visible to others, your family, friends and coworkers may have a hard time understanding why you aren’t your usual self.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic pain is any pain anywhere in your body that lasts for more than three months, whether it comes and goes or is constant. If you suffer from chronic pain, you aren’t alone. Statistics show about 25% of American adults experience chronic pain.[1]

Sometimes the cause is obvious, like an accident or injury. In other cases it isn’t so obvious. Did you know chronic stress, anxiety and depression are related to chronic pain due to suspected endorphin imbalance? In some cases, like fibromyalgia, it’s believed the brain changes to become more sensitized to pain, possibly due to chronic viral infection like Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and potentially, long-Covid.

While Western medicine has pharmaceutical options to treat chronic pain, they can come with a lot of side-effects with long-term use, like with opioids or corticosteroids. Even NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen are problematic for the gut and liver when used daily. Often, these don’t totally reduce the pain. More concerning, they rarely treat the problem.

So where does that leave you?

The good news is, both acupuncture and massage therapy can treat both the pain and the root cause of many types of pain.

A meta-analysis study, published in 2017 in The Journal of Pain, that reviewed years of studies on the efficacy of acupuncture in treating musculoskeletal pain, headaches and osteoarthritis pain found that not only was acupuncture effective in relieving pain, but that the effects of acupuncture persist over time…meaning the results last![2]

Acupuncture treats the whole person, both the symptoms and the underlying causes of the pain.

Whether it’s an injury, anxiety, a chronic viral condition like EBV, hormone imbalance underlying migraines or just wear and tear with osteoarthritis, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has centuries of experience in treating pain AND the root cause.

Massage therapy is another natural way to treat and manage pain, especially when it’s musculoskeletal pain.

A review of studies found that massage is effective at treating chronic low back pain, as well as shoulder pain and headaches stemming from neck tension, and can be helpful in treating other chronic pain symptoms.[3] Researchers believe massage may relieve pain in several ways, including “…relaxing painful muscles; relieving stress and anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers…”[4]

At Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, we offer acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, and visceral manipulation to help you manage and heal from your pain.

We recommend you book a free 15 minute telemedicine consult with Dr. Jennie to determine which combination of therapies will help you the most, and fastest. You’ll usually feel better after your first visit, and after weekly treatments for several weeks, you’ll start to feel better all around, without side effects.

For personalized support with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, or for your free 15-minute initial telemedicine consult, from the comfort of your home or office, book an appointment with Dr. Jennie. 

Book a massage anytime here

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

[1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4798-chronic-pain

[2] https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(17)30780-0/fulltext

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1876616/

[4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/alternative-and-integrative-health/therapeutic-massage-for-pain-relief

Migraines are no joke. As a migraine sufferer myself, I can attest.

Did you know migraines rank 3rd in the world’s most disabling illnesses?1

Migraines are a neurological event. In addition to an awful headache, you might have nausea, vomiting, see flashing lights, or have parts of your vision become blurry. You can be light and sound sensitive to the point you have to stay in a dark quiet room for hours at a time. You may have slurred speech, weakness, or numbness in your face or one side of your body2….you might wonder if you’re having a stroke. These symptoms can last for hours to days. 

Frequent migraines severely impact your quality of life. They make it hard to function, hard to even think straight. It impacts your job, your social life, and your family life. Afterall, how do you take care of your kids or get that project done for work when you’ve got all that going on? Those close to you who don’t get migraines probably have a hard time understanding how bad it can be, because there isn’t anything else like it.

Making things more challenging, migraines are complicated.

Each person may have different triggers, and often there seems to a mix of things that can trigger migraines. Red wine, chocolate, aged cheese, a big change in the weather, strong wind, change in your sleep schedule, food sensitivities, tight jaw or neck…..the list goes on. Sometimes you might get a migraine even when you do everything right. 

Western pharmaceutical medications, like triptans, and sometimes even ibuprofen, can help but often don’t. Plus, both preventative and acute migraine pharmaceuticals often have a lot of unwanted side-effects. This can leave us feeling a lot of despair and frustration.

So what can you do? Luckily, there are a lot of effective and natural treatments for migraines. They can all be used alone or together, even with your prescription meds.  Often, a combination of things works best. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is very effective at treating migraines and has been successfully treating them for many centuries, without side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine always treat both your symptoms AND the underlying root issues that cause the migraines in the first place, something Western medicine can’t do. 

In PubMed, you can see this study, an overview of several other large systematic reviews of studies done between 2011 and 2019, which “…found high quality of evidence indicated that the effective rate of acupuncture was superior to western medicine in treatment of migraine.” This study also found that acupuncture reduced headache days, reduced the times painkillers were needed, and was “…more effective in reducing the frequency and degree of headache than western medicine and sham acupuncture…” 3

For best results, you can expect to need weekly acupuncture (or even 2-3 times a week if they’re really severe and frequent) for at least 6-8 weeks, then tapering down over time. Once your migraines are managed, you may just need to come every now and then for a tune-up. 

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is also extremely helpful in treating the underlying root issues of your migraines, as well as reducing frequency and intensity. We use easy-to-take encapsulated formulas to keep things simple and practical.

One of the most effective things about CHM (and acupuncture) is that it isn’t “one-size-fits-all.” While there are certain herbs and formulas that make the foundation of treatments, your migraines are not necessarily stemming from the same issues as another person. We look at your unique “constitution,” situation, symptoms and history to treat YOU, not just your migraines.

Since CHM is so tailored to each person, you’ll need to come in for an appointment so we can prescribe exactly what works best for you.

Supplements

Several nutritional supplements and western herbs have proven helpful in treating migraines, as well. These are more general and are safe for most people unless you’re taking blood thinners, anti-seizure meds, or lithium. It’s always wise to consult with us or your medical doctor if you’re unsure.

CoQ10

A meta-analysis study done in 2021 found daily CoQ10 use reduced both duration and frequency of migraines, helps with energy and stamina, and is helpful for cardiovascular health.4 

Feverfew

Known as the “medieval aspirin,” this herb has been used in western herbology for centuries to treat pain. However, if you’re allergic to ragweed, you may be sensitive to this plant, too. 

MigraMaxx  

This supplement helps stabilize cerebral blood vessels and nerve sensitivity. 

It contains:

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has also been well studied and found to reduce the frequency and duration of migraine.5 
  • Magnesium has been shown to also reduce the frequency and duration of migraines and can be helpful during a migraine, as well.6 
  • Butterbur has been shown to be effective at treating and reducing migraines and is safe when pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are removed, as in this supplement.7 

You can read more and directly order these supplements in our Migraine protocol here.

If you’re suffering from chronic migraines, it’s time to give these treatments and supplements a try. We’ve treated hundreds of migraine sufferers with great success. 

We offer free 15-minute initial consults to answer your questions and see if we’re a good fit. For more personalized migraine support with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, or for your free 15-minute initial consult, book an appointment with Dr. Jennie.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705

1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15070571/
2https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/understanding-migraine-symptoms
3 Li, Y. X., Xiao, X. L., Zhong, D. L., Luo, L. J., Yang, H., Zhou, J., He, M. X., Shi, L. H., Li, J., Zheng, H., & Jin, R. J. (2020). Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture for Migraine: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Pain research & management, 2020, 3825617. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/3825617
4 Sazali, S., Badrin, S., Norhayati, M. N., & Idris, N. S. (2021). Coenzyme Q10 supplementation for prophylaxis in adult patients with migraine-a meta-analysis. BMJ open, 11(1), e039358. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-039358
5Namazi, N., Heshmati, J., & Tarighat-Esfanjani, A. (2015). Supplementation with Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) for Migraine Prophylaxis in Adults and Children: A Review. International journal for vitamin and nutrition
6 https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/magnesium-migraine
7https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/butterbur

 

Has anyone ever told you they tried acupuncture once and it didn’t work?

Well, that’s because just one acupuncture treatment may make you feel better for a day or two, but as magical as acupuncture can be, a series of treatments is needed to achieve deep and lasting results.

How many treatments you’ll need depends on a few things, including what issue we’re treating, how long you’ve had it, your overall health, and how severe the issue is. Long-standing chronic issues, or very severe problems, will likely require a longer series of treatments, while something like a mild ankle sprain will respond well in just 2-3 treatments.  

Acupuncture and massage therapy are dose-dependent.

Cumulative treatments are usually needed, just like when you see a chiropractor or physical therapist. You’ll get some relief from your first treatment, but a series of treatments make lasting changes by retraining the nervous system and muscle memory, calming inflammation, improving circulation, strengthening the immune system, and regulating hormones.

In general with acupuncture, we recommend weekly treatment for the first 4-6 visits, then taper to every other week, then monthly if needed. You should feel better after each treatment, however, it takes multiple visits close together to create lasting change. Herbal medicine may also be recommended, and can greatly enhance and speed up treatment since it is taken daily.

Here are some examples of commonly treated problems that usually follow this treatment plan

(If your symptoms are especially severe, you may need more weekly treatment, or 2+ visits the first week or two for best results):

Migraines

Weekly acupuncture for 4-6 weeks, then every other week for 1-2 months, then as needed as migraines subside. Herbs may be prescribed. Craniosacral therapy and neck massage may also be recommended

Painful and/or irregular periods

Weekly acupuncture for 4 weeks, then every other week for two more months, as near as possible to ovulation and period. Herbs are highly recommended for best results. Visceral manipulation for painful periods may be recommended.

Long-Covid

Weekly acupuncture 4+ weeks then tapering as above. This depends entirely on the severity of symptoms and the systems affected. Mild symptoms may resolve in a month, severe symptoms can take months to clear. Herbal medicine is highly recommended in most cases.

Insomnia

Weekly 4-6 visits, then tapering as above. Herbal medicine is highly recommended.

Anxiety

Weekly 4-6 weeks, then tapering as above. Herbal medicine is very helpful and works daily. Those with chronic anxiety do best with monthly maintenance sessions once symptoms are managed. Craniosacral therapy may be recommended, as well.

For massage, you may just need a session or two to relieve your sore muscles or occasional massages for self-care.

Several weekly treatments are recommended for chronic conditions that are causing you ongoing problems. Problems like chronic neck or back pain, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other chronic musculoskeletal pain respond best to consistent work during the first few weeks, as your massage therapist releases tension and adhesions in the tissue and surrounding areas that may be contributing to your pain patterns.

Of course, many people get a regular monthly massage and/or acupuncture for health maintenance, too.

We highly recommend monthly maintenance sessions as a wonderful and feel-good part of your healthy lifestyle! Monthly maintenance sessions are a great way to manage stress, calm anxiety, improve circulation, manage chronic health issues, and keep your immune system strong.

We are also here if you need us for those flare-ups, new issues and to help manage stress and anxiety.

As always, let us know if you have questions about treatment, including what we can treat. We’re happy to help!

Book an appointment for acupuncture or massage, or a 15-minute free initial consult at https://acusimple.com/access/7870/#/appointments/1016/

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness
720.507.1705