4 WAYS TO GET RID OF HOT FLASHES WITH EASTERN MEDICINE
Skip The Suffering With These Natural Tricks
All of a sudden your face gets red, you start to sweat, and you feel like someone just cranked the thermostat all the way up–but everyone else in the room is fine. You’re having a hot flash.
3 in 4 American women get hot flashes when they go through menopause. In fact, hot flashes are almost seen as the symbolic symptom of menopause, the 12 months of a woman’s life after her final period as her levels of reproductive hormones naturally decrease.
But just because they’re common doesn’t mean you have to suffer through them. Luckily, there are science-backed ways to deal with hot flashes with Eastern medicine.
What Are Hot Flashes?
We know how hot flashes feel–like you suddenly stepped into a sauna. Some people’s heart rates skyrocket during hot flashes, and they can even wake you up from a dead sleep. But we don’t really know why they happen. Scientists think it may have something to do with how our circulation system changes during menopause, but that’s just a guess. Unfortunately, hot flashes often last much longer than the year or so of menopause. Some women get hot flashes for as long as a decade!
Strangely enough, hot flashes don’t universally affect women across the globe. In Asian countries, many menopausal women never even experience the uncomfortable phenomenon. That may be because of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
According to TCM, the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes are caused by Kidney Yin deficiency. Yin is the cool, feminine, passive energy that counterbalances the fiery, passionate Yang. The Kidney comes into the picture here because it’s the organ that controls or oversees how we age and get older. The older we get, the weaker our Yin energy is and the more likely we’re going to experience unbalanced internal heat–like hot flashes. Some think that Asian women are less likely to suffer from hot flashes because as they get older they nourish their bodies with cooling, Yin-rich foods to offset the effects of aging.
How To Get Rid Of Hot Flashes With Eastern Medicine
Hot flashes can happen anytime. They’re just as likely to strike in the middle of the day as the middle of the night. But there are certain things that can trigger hot flashes. One of the major causes is something many of us can’t seem to get rid of–stress. In fact, people with anxiety are 3-4 times more likely to experience hot flashes! So if you’re looking to avoid hot flashes, it’s also a good idea to avoid stress.
And when it comes to managing stress, Eastern medicine has lots of answers. You can reach for an adaptogen like Ashwagandha or Holy Basil to help your body cope with the pressure of stress. Ayurvedic breathing exercises like nadi shodhana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) can help us calm down, and meditation is a proven way to find your zen. Hitting the gym is another good stress relief method because it releases endorphins, but low-impact yoga can work just as well.
For more info about stress relief and eastern medicine, check out these blogs:
- Why The Should-Be Happy Holidays Stress Us Out And How To Deal With It Naturally
- 5 Eastern Medicine Tips To Destress & Find Balance
- 6 Tips To Destress Naturally
- Modern Stressors And Ancient Acupressure Points
Some scientists think that hot flashes are a result of our internal thermostat becoming very sensitive while our hormones change during menopause. According to the Mayo Clinic, even a small increase in the temperature can trigger a hot flash. So one strategy to avoid hot flashes is keeping cool as much as possible.
You can keep your house at a lower temperature, dress in layers, and wear breathable clothing. But from a TCM perspective, there’s a much more direct way to control your body’s temperature: with food. In TCM, food is medicine. And it can have a big effect on our bodies, even changing our internal temperatures. That’s because all foods have “natures” that are either warming, cooling, or neutral. If you want to cool the fiery Yang energy that heats our body up during menopause, you need to counterbalance it with Yin-rich foods.
According to TCM, here are some cooling foods:
Skip the Spice
Eating cooling foods isn’t the only way your diet can affect your hot flashes. It’s also important to avoid foods with warming or hot natures if you want to avoid hot flashes. That means nixing spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol from your diet as much as possible, according to the Cleveland Clinic.The foods to avoid are alliums like onion, scallions, cloves, cinnamon and other warming spices.
Of course, it’s important to remember that everyone’s hot flashes are triggered by different things. Some people may have to ditch caffeine completely, but alcohol doesn’t affect them. Just be mindful of what you ate or drank before you get a hot flash so you know what to avoid.
During menopause, our estrogen levels tank. This lack of hormonal balance might be a major trigger for hot flashes. But luckily, there’s natural ways to increase the estrogen in your body, even if you stop producing it naturally.
Increasing the amount of phytoestrogen–compounds that are very similar to estrogen but can be found in some plants–may help lessen the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. In fact, soy products like tofu and miso are loaded with phytoestrogen, which may be why Asian women are far less likely to suffer with hot flashes than American women. One study found that women who consumed soy had 30% fewer hot flashes than those who didn’t. So make sure to stock up on soy products like edamame, soy sauce, tofu, and tempeh.
For most women, menopause is a fact of life. But that doesn’t mean you have to sweat and suffer through it. Try out these Eastern medicine tips and tricks to help you stay cool in the face of hot flashes.