Series: Does TCM Address...PT. 4 REGULATING THE CYCLE

The descriptions of the menstrual cycle differ greatly between biomedical explanation and traditional Chinese medicine. Based on ancient traditional Chinese medicine theory, a women will have a major life event every 7 years. At 7 years old, her ‘sea of Blood’ begins to stir. At 14 years old, the ‘sea of Blood’ overspills. This is experienced in young women as their first menarche or menstrual period. By age 49 her uterus ‘dries’, she is without any more eggs, and her menstrual cycle will cease. Biomedicine would classify this as entering menopause.


The menstrual period based on Chinese medicine begins with “white breast milk nutrition.” The body has been preparing for a pregnancy by sending nutrition to the breasts. It would be natural then for a few days prior to the menstrual flow beginning, a woman should feel slight breast tenderness. If there is no implantation of an egg in her uterus, the body signals the breasts to release and discard the nutrition. This breast tenderness will disappear. The “old, white breast milk nutrition” now passes downward past the ‘Fire’ organs of the Heart and Small Intestine that turn the ‘white’ nutrition into ‘red.’ There is an invisible energy channel for this Blood to flow from the Heart to the uterus called the Chong meridian. The menstrual period will begin to flow.

Although common today, it is not normal for a woman to have cramping and clots discharged during her menstrual flow. This would be considered Blood and Qi (vital energy) stagnation and abnormal by Chinese medicine standards. Either there is insufficient Blood for a menstrual cycle, there is a blockage in the transfer of the Blood, or there are imbalances in the organs like the Liver, Heart, or Kidney that prevent the flow. The menstrual flow should also follow a pattern of presenting approximately every 28-32 days on a monthly basis. Her menstrual bleed should last 4-5 days, begin with a light flow, increase to a moderate flow, and then end again with a light flow.

If the menstrual period is too early, or too late monthly, or just irregular, this is also considered abnormal. The menstrual cycle is more than just a dance of hormones that must be controlled based on biomedicine theory. It is a wonderful and dynamic flow that is diagnostic in traditional Chinese medicine. Specifics like I have mentioned above can infer deeper imbalances that exist in the women as the physician seeks to treat the root cause of dis-ease.


Consider trying a different, more natural approach to health with traditional Chinese medicine. If you are suffering from infertility, menstrual problems or menopause symptoms, there are safe and effective natural treatments for menstrual irregularities. Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation, or simply contact our office at (772) 398-4550! Wishing you the best of health!















Dr. Stuart Shipe, D.A.O.M., R.Ph.


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