As a hormone health practitioner, do you feel like you truly meet your clients in their wholeness?
Sure, you’ve got their functional lab results & FAM charts and you’ve designed a great treatment protocol, but do you feel confident that you have a tangible connection with all the aspects of the unique person sitting in front of you, especially those aspects that lie beyond what can be tested or charted?
As a practitioner of any healing modality, one of the most essential aspects of professional development is to fully comprehend the individual who has entrusted you as the guide of their health journey.
When we are able to perceive the interplay between the physiological and energetic processes within the body, we develop a much more holistic understanding of our patients and clients. From this expanded perspective, we can provide a truly comprehensive diagnosis and customized treatment plan that promote a profound, sustained shift in our client’s health and wellbeing.
This article will help you to learn how incorporating whole body energy medicine can help you to improve the support you are providing to your female clients within your women’s health practice.
The Root of Whole Body Healing
Envision a woman experiencing premenstrual mood swings, breast tenderness, cyclic headaches, and intense period pain. Despite experiencing pronounced symptoms, the hormonal imbalances are undetectable on standard lab work and her medical doctor determines the test results are ‘normal’ and ‘everything is fine’.
Standard Western medical care would prescribe hormonal birth control as an attempt to remedy her symptoms without addressing any root causes. Unfortunately, her underlying physiologic and energetic imbalances will continue to be present and may have uncomfortable implications for her future health, possible fertility, and menopausal transition. As we’ve all witnessed, this situation is much too common in our medical system and one of the main reasons our clients come to us!
If this patient was part of my practice, the basis of my holistic approach would be to perform a complete diagnosis of her energy system through the lens of Chinese Medicine, order a DUTCH test, and teach her menstrual cycle charting.
Currently, because this patient’s issues are manifesting symptomatically but not via standard hormone testing, she is at a critical juncture where intervention at the energetic level could dramatically shift her healing trajectory. Given this, I would emphasize that she begins treatment as soon as possible.
How Energy Imbalances Present Clinically
Energy imbalances that form the root of disease inherently occur before physiological and physical imbalances become measurable by standard diagnostic lab testing and imaging. Therefore, healing is more straightforward when these imbalances are proactively detected and treated within the energetic level and supported with functional medicine principles.
The more entrenched these energetic imbalances become in the body, the more they manifest as measurable physical pathologies and are intrinsically more difficult to treat. This gray area between radiant health and chronic disease is where both Chinese and functional medicine shine with their holistic methodologies and diagnostics.
Functional Medicine vs Chinese Medicine
One of the most prominent complementary threads between functional medicine and Chinese medicine is their shared prioritization of treating the root cause of disease. What distinguishes these two traditions is the lens used to diagnose the root cause.
Functional medicine provides a whole systems approach by accurately assessing an individual’s physiological functioning at a biochemical level. Meanwhile, Chinese medicine excels at understanding and healing the body’s energetic system as the root cause of physiological disease.
Understanding the interplay of the biochemical and energetic physiology in the human body provides us with the most complete picture of health and disease. As the practice of functional medicine is becoming more mainstream and Chinese medicine is becoming more accepted and validated, we have a unique opportunity to discover a union of holistic medicines that support our clients to find the deepest level of healing possible.
The Energy Flow of the Menstrual Cycle
Chinese medicine provides a unique window into holistic cycle physiology that is extremely beneficial for any practitioner who desires to support a profound shift in their client’s menstrual health and fertility.
The two most essential energies in Chinese medicine are yin and yang. Yin energy feels like dark, moist soil under your feet and is the cool, dense, heavy matter of the Universe. Yang energy feels like the bright, warm sun on your face and is the warming, mobile, light energy of the Universe.
Everything around us and within us is composed of the combinations of and transformations between yin and yang. The most holistic understanding of the menstrual cycle is conceptualized within the interplay of yin and yang together with hormonal physiology. The simplest energetic understanding of the cycle is ‘the flow of yin into yang back into yin’.
The follicular phase is characterized by yin and the luteal phase is characterized by yang, and the transitions between the two are ovulation and menstruation.
The yin energy increases as the follicular phase progresses, evident in the growth of the lush endometrium and estrogen secretion from the growing follicles. Yin continues to increase as the dominant follicle develops, bathing the body with a cooling peak of estrogen and fertile cervical fluids. Yin climaxes at ovulation, where the huge push of releasing the egg transforms yin into yang.
Then, the yang energy increases throughout the luteal phase, evident in the dynamic endometrial remodeling and the rise in basal body temperature. Yang peaks and activates the release of menstrual blood from the womb and then transforms back into yin at the onset of menses.
Making Energy Relevant in Clinical Practice
Intentionally cultivating an energetic understanding of the menstrual cycle provides a useful lens to understand, diagnose and treat cyclic hormonal symptoms.
It is especially beneficial to understand the root causes of symptoms that are not yet evident even with the refined accuracy of functional medicine testing. A basic understanding of Chinese & energy medicine as well as having an open mind can support this process. Plus, it is more intuitive to apply than you may think!
A few questions to start asking yourself about each patient/client:
- Are they more yin/dense/sluggish or more yang/mobile/hyperactive?
- Does their energy tend more towards bright and (over)excited or distant and withdrawn?
- Are they too hot or too cold? What about their overall metabolism?
- Is their physiology/cycles moving too fast or too slow?
- Where in their cycle is their energy flow getting stuck or having problems? Is it in the yin (follicular phase), yang (luteal phase), the transformation from yin to yang (ovulation), or the transformation from yang to yin (menstruation)?
Developing a basic understanding of yin and yang can also extend beyond your treatment plan into cultivating the space you hold with each patient/client.
For example, a thin, wiry woman comes to see you and is anxious, talking very fast, with a historically long follicular phase and possible anovulation. For her, the simplest energetic diagnosis is yin deficiency. Her energy is moving too fast and isn’t grounded into or nourished by the yin. Therefore her follicles aren’t ripening in a sustained manner leading to ovulation.
A Chinese medicine diagnosis is much more complex than this, but even this broad insight can inform the way you interact with your client and guide your treatment strategy.
Applying Energy Disposition to Your Practice
Maintaining an awareness of a client’s energetic disposition can beneficially inform every aspect of practitioner/client interaction.
Continuing the above example, holding a calm, steady presence and consciously slowing the energy of the conversation down will provide a foundation that allows this client to trust the therapeutic relationship. The lifestyle recommendations you provide can also easily be modified to suit their yin-yang balance and constitution.
For this patient case, yin-nourishing activities like yin yoga, meditation, walking, and napping are recommended. I would also recommend soups, stews, slow-cooked meats, and steamed veggies. It is also essential to discourage yin-draining activities like running, HIIT, doing anything too fast, and eating spicy or fried food. This energetic diagnosis can also influence the supplements and herbal medicines prescribed, as well as the pace and priorities of the overall treatment plan.
When an understanding of energy medicine is combined with functional medicine, we have the ability to develop a fully holistic perspective that changes the lives of our clients and even more importantly helps them become more informed stewards of their health.
Chinese medicine and its foundations in the energies of yin and yang are a perfect metaphor for the transitions of the menstrual cycle.
For any practitioner, even a very basic understanding of these energies supports the diagnosis and treatment of menstrual cycle pathologies and enables them to truly meet their clients in their wholeness.
About the Author
Jessa Youngs L.Ac. FAE RHE
Jessa Youngs is a holistic health & energy medicine practitioner dedicated to helping women reclaim the vitality & nourishment of their menstrual cycles by merging ancient & modern science-based medicines with essential feminine wisdom. She blends these foundational perspectives with Holistic Pelvic Care, Mayan Abdominal & Uterine Care, Chinese & Western herbalism, yoni steaming and energy medicine in her clinical practice at Embodied Wholeness in Fort Collins, CO. She also provides FAM mentorship for graduating interns at the Well and is the co-facilitator for Advanced Fertility Awareness Practitioner Program, a 9 month program for health-care practitioners passionate about reproductive & menstrual health.
Want to showcase your expertise & business as a guest author for the IAFHH Publication?
You can contact us here or send us an email at email@example.com with your inquiry and we will get back to you regarding options and opportunities for being featured on the next IAFHH Publication.