As we enter the warm months of summer, we often shift our focus to outdoor activities, vacations, and time with family and friends. However, for some individuals, summer can also bring on a variety of hormone-related symptoms such as anxiety, hot flashes, and sleep disturbances. If we aren't careful, we can experience an excess of heat in the body during summer- which can lead to more painful cramps, cycle irregularity, and more intense mood swings (amongst other things). Luckily, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers an array of natural remedies to help balance your hormones and keep you feeling great all summer long.
1. Balance your Hormones by Modifying your Diet
One of the biggest culprits of hormonal imbalances is what we put into our bodies. TCM suggests that we focus on consuming cooling foods during the summer months to help balance hormones. Avoiding spicy and fried foods while incorporating more cooling fruits and vegetables can help reduce inflammation and create a more balanced internal environment. Some great cooling foods include cucumbers, watermelon, grapefruit, lettuce, and mung beans. Pomegranate seeds are another cooling fruit seed with lots of fiber- try adding them on top of yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Check out your local Farmer's Market (I love Urban Harvest in Houston) to get some locally grown fruits & veggies.
Check out my Top Hormone-Balancing Foods for some more ideas!
Acupuncture is a healing technique that has been used in TCM for thousands of years. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to balance qi (pronounced “chee”), or life force energy. Acupuncture can help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings by restoring the balance of hormonal systems within the body. Read some clinically documented results of acupuncture on women's sex hormones here. If you're located in Houston, I recommend visiting my favorite acupuncturist, Dr. Sebastian Bonilla at Templ Wellness.
Remember that acupuncture works WITH your body to bring it back into equilibrium, so a few sessions will be required to achieve your desired results.
3. Herbal remedies
TCM also utilizes a variety of herbal remedies to balance hormones and improve overall wellness. Dong Quai, for example, is commonly used in TCM to regulate menstrual cycles and relieve hot flashes. Other common herbs include chasteberry, black cohosh, and red clover. Check out my list of Herbal Teas For Hormonal Balance for more ideas on this. Although herbal remedies can be beneficial, it is important to consult with a TCM practitioner before incorporating any new herbs into your routine.
4. Lifestyle modifications
Summer is the perfect time to embrace healthy lifestyle habits that can help to balance hormones naturally. Incorporating activities such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Additionally, regular exercise and a consistent sleep schedule can also help to regulate hormones and improve overall wellness. Sunshine will be abundant, so make sure you're getting outside to soak up some natural sunlight within 2 hours of waking up- this is a hormonal health game changer!
If you live in Houston, come try one of my Yoga Events or catch me on the schedule at Soul Tribes in Spring Branch on Tuesday nights.
5. Mind-body treatments
In TCM, the mind and body are considered to be intrinsically linked. Mind-body treatments such as chi gong, tai chi, and acupuncture can help to balance hormones and improve overall physical and emotional wellbeing. Acupressure and shiatsu can also be helpful in balancing the mid and body. These practices can help reduce stress and improve the flow of energy throughout the body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a wide range of natural remedies to help balance hormones and promote overall wellness during the summer months. Incorporating cooling foods into your diet, practicing acupuncture and other mind-body treatments, taking herbal remedies, and embracing healthy lifestyle habits are all great ways to keep your hormones in check and promote optimal internal balance. By exploring the principles of TCM, you can discover a world of natural remedies to improve your health and feel your best all summer long.