Find yin yang balance during menopause
Hot flashes, sudden bursts of anger, sleeplessness. Those are just some of the symptoms women experience when going through menopause.
It can be an uncomfortable transition, but West Linn acupuncturist Gary Wagman offers a solution that is worth investigating. Wagman, a practitioner of Eastern medicine and doctor of philosophy in psychology, is the founder of Harmony Clinic and the American Institute of Korean Traditional Medicine. He is the author of "Your Yin Yang Body Type" and has recently released "Yin Yang Balance for Menopause: the Korean Tradition of Sasang Medicine."
"You may be wondering why a guy like me is presenting himself as a menopause expert without being able to experience it firsthand myself," Wagman writes in the book's introduction. He said he never anticipated writing a book about menopause.
His career started with the usual acupuncture treatments for back and shoulder pain, but Wagman said he soon realized that more than 80% of his patients were women of menopausal age. When inquiring about pain he would ask if there was anything else they wished to address.
"It was like I had opened Pandora's Box!" he said. "I was asked 'What can you do for hot flashes, insomnia, depression and (waning) libido?' I felt deep inside that the body-type-specific approach of Sasang medicine could offer tremendous relief during menopause, and I was right! Now 15 years later I have a thriving practice and have successfully addressed the menopausal concerns of thousands of patients."
Sasang medicine was first established by Korean doctor Lee Jae Ma (1837 to 1900), who was well versed in the Oriental medical tradition. Ma was distraught by the fact that certain patients who suffered from the same symptoms improved quickly, while others suffered longer despite adequate treatment. The development of Sasang medicine was based on his ability to cater to these differences while emphasizing the unique constitutional structure of each patient. In a nutshell, Sasang medicine is a branch of Oriental medicine that focuses treatment on the individual rather than the disease. According to Sasang medicine each and every person is born with a stronger and a weaker organ depending upon their body type. It also focuses on the balance of yin and yang energy to treat emotional and/or physical illness.
The five premises of Sasang medicine can be applied not only to menopause but to any health situation.
Wagman outlines the five premises of Sasang medicine as related to menopause thus:
The way you respond to menopause depends on the inborn inclinations of your mind and body.
Emotions move energy.
Each menopausal symptom has its own body-type-specific emotional and physiological source.
By getting to know your body-type-specific tendencies and making an effort to balance your innate energies, you are capable of alleviating menopausal symptoms.
Balance, and nothing else, is the essence of well-being.
"Yin Yang Balance for Menopause" introduces the yin and yang theory and how it applies to each of the yin yang body types, then explores how yin and yang relate to the physiological and psychological tendencies of each yin yang body type.
Readers can discover their own yin yang body type by completing a detailed questionnaire about their emotional and physical tendencies.
"Since emotional balance is the center of all Sasang medicine healing processes, the journey continues with the third chapter, in which you will find out how to balance your emotions during menopause," Wagman says. "Navigating the waters can be a bit tricky because our true nature often lurks under layer upon layer of coping strategy."
The book also discusses nine of the most common symptoms of menopause, and while Wagman says readers might be tempted to read just those parts which apply to their specific situation, he recommends taking ample time to read them all.
"The deeper you dive, the more you will understand," he says.
Wagman stresses that menopause is not an illness.
"Menopause is one of the most misunderstood emotional and biological phases of human life," he said. "Historically women during this stage were routinely believed to be ill, crazy or even dangerous!" He believes instead that menopause should motivate women to ask "what are my strengths/talents?"
"There are numerous examples of women who accomplished their greatest achievements in life 'past' prime," he said. He cites as examples that Laura Ingles Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, wrote her first book at age 64; Julie Child, the famous author of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and television star didn't show interest in cooking until she was 49, and Susan Boyle, who had never sung professionally, suddenly became a YouTube phenomenon at age 48.
"Fame and prosperity aren't what I am advocating here; rather it is the ability to discover and pursue your life's path or purpose, which is facilitated by discovering your yin yang body type's inherent psychological and physiological traits, as disclosed in this book," he said.
"Yin Yang Balance for Menopause: the Korean Tradition of Sasang Medicine" is available to purchase online at Amazon.com.
After graduating with a B.A. in Asian Studies Wagman immediately enrolled in Korean language classes and completing several years of Oriental medicine training in Korea. In 2002, he opened his first clinic in Yachats, Ore. After four years of "getting my feet wet, we decided to move to Portland to follow a passion of teaching about Oriental medicine at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine," he said. While working in Portland he decided to pursue a PhD degree in psychology.
"I felt that this was a necessary step in order to contribute to the integrity of Oriental medicine in the US," he said. "I thought that there was more to being an acupuncturist than just acupuncture."
He received his PhD in 2010, after four years of intense study in the fields of psy-
chology and acupuncture research.
"My passion for Oriental medicine is endless," he said. "It is my life, flowing through every cell of my being. Every day I seek to deepen my understanding of this beautiful medicine and philosophy by translating ancient books, teaching at the college and in the community, and interacting with my beloved family, clients and friends."
Harmony Acupuncture and Herbs is located at 21730 Willamette Drive in West Linn. Visit harmonyclinics.com or call 503-722-5224.
Speaking engagements and book signings will be announced at a later date.
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