Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
How can I help my mood swings that I am associating with pre-menopause?
A: As your body nears menopause, your hormones begin to shift, causing imbalances, which manifest as emotional ebbs and mood shifts. One of the best ways to harmonize the emotions and help cope with the other symptoms of menopause is through tai chi or qigong exercises. A research study showed that menopausal women who practiced 20 minutes per day of qigong exercise showed higher levels of estrogen compared to those who did not; thus, the exercises helped the women to maintain a better balance between yin and yang aspects of their bodies. A good source for learning qigong is your local acupuncture schools; they usually offer local classes for the community and hold workout sessions. You can also check www.chihealth.org for additional information.
The other key area is your diet. I recommend avoiding stress, stimulants, and tension. Eat more black beans, sesame seeds, soybeans, walnuts, lycii berries, mulberries, yams, and licorice.
If your mood swings are severe, you should consult with an acupuncturist, as they may be able to help with more specific herbal prescriptions and acupuncture.
Additionally, you may also try the specially formulated products from the Traditions of Tao: “Women’s Wellness” to strengthen your yin, “Ancient Treasures” tea, and “Passages Plus”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.