A Solution for Hormonal Transition and Not-So-Joyful Symptoms of “The Change”

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I was at my wits end a few years ago. I was tired of hearing “…it’s all normal, its peri-menopause”. All fine and dandy, however, living with it was a whole other challenge. Hot flashes, monthly migraines, lack of sleep, and hemorrhaging periods (sometimes as close together as every 2.5 to 3 weeks) left me exhausted, low on iron, emotionally challenged, and for the most part…it had become debilitating.

It was an intrusion to living life fully, both personally and professionally. All day client commitments became centred around my (body’s) calendar, to ensure I could leave the house and not have to panic about proximity to the nearest washroom (…dare I stand up too quickly). How many layers of black can you wear, and just how many “bio breaks” can you take when involved in full-day boardroom discussions, client facilitation, or instructing a class?

During lunch with a colleague (who has become a dear friend), we spoke openly of the challenges and hurdles this life stage brings. She, being a few years wiser, could relate to what I was experiencing and how I felt. She shared some advice based on hindsight and what worked for her: this is how I was introduced to Claire Turnbull, and her expertise in the art of Acupuncture.

I recall being in (or near) tears when I sat in Claire’s treatment room the first time. Her soft-spoken nature and compassion were evident, and we connected immediately. What I was sharing was something she frequently heard from other patients. We spoke about treatment and she shared successes she had studied and witnessed, but she was also careful to advise that acupuncture is not a “one size fits all” solution. As in, not everyone experiences the same results. That said, I was willing to give it a try!

It’s been 3 years since I met Claire, and this week, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my friend and talented Doctor of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Claire Turnbull. Here, she shares the benefits of acupuncture, how it improved not only her energy but her physical, emotional, and digestive well-being, and why it can make a life of difference for middle-aged women experiencing “the change”. Read on to learn how she’s helped countless women to resolve hot flashes, balance emotions, and have lighter and more predictable menses.

If you are interested in a session with Claire Turnbull, she has offered D by denise readers a 10% discount on an introductory session at her clinic. See below for her contact information.  

Claire Turnbull - Doctor of Acupuncture

Claire Turnbull, Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist

How did you come to study and practice acupuncture?  I have been passionate about alternative medicine since my early teens. As a child, I struggled with digestive issues that caused a lot of missed school and hospitalization. Besides steroids, surgery, and other heavy medication, conventional medicine did not have a lot to offer me. Determined to feel better, and aware that wellness is not just the absence of disease but also the presence of vitality, I began to seek out other therapies. I wanted to find healthcare that not only addressed my symptoms, but also restored my vibrance and energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine offered a holistic solution to my health concerns, and I very quickly became intrigued with its philosophy and wisdom.

How does acupuncture (as a lifestyle) benefit the middle-aged woman? So many ways! Most women don’t realize that hormonal transitions don’t have to be hard. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help women transition gracefully through peri-menopause without symptoms considered to be part-and-parcel of the ageing process. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine isn’t anti-aging, rather, is “pro-ageing gracefully”. With acupuncture, I’ve helped women have lighter and more predictable menses, resolved hot flashes, balanced emotions, improved digestion and increased energy. The ways acupuncture can benefit the middle-aged woman are truly endless.

What can one expect to experience if you are new to acupuncture? The first treatment is about 45 minutes, and includes a consultation and a treatment. In a private room, we discuss your health history and how traditional Chinese medicine can help. If necessary, we will discuss food therapy and other lifestyle changes in order for you to get the best results. Once a treatment plan is made, you will lay down and acupuncture needles are put in place. The needles stay in for 20-30 minutes, during which time most clients drift off into peaceful meditation (an acu-nap!) while the needles work their magic.

How does acupuncture work?

  • By helping promote a more balanced energy flow throughout the body.
  • By stimulating specific acupuncture points within the body, acupuncture can calm the nervous system, balance hormones, and reduce stress.
  • Specific points can also be chosen to release different muscle groups and trigger points.

Where and how do you recommend middle-aged women begin acupuncture as part of their lifestyle? The first step is book your initial treatment. The way acupuncture should be implemented will vary for each individual. For some, acupuncture may be beneficial 3-4 times a month in order to regulate hormones. For others, only 1 treatment per month may be necessary.

What are you proudest of when you think of the practice of acupuncture?  I’m proudest of the journey I took to study the medicine, and to continuing education (that I continue to prioritize). In order to have the highest quality of education, I moved to Victoria, British Columbia, to do my training where I completed a three-year diploma program. Since then, I’ve written and passed the National Board Exams and have taken continuing education in Taiwan, Ottawa, and Minneapolis, including courses in Allergy Elimination, Cosmetic Acupuncture, Fertility, and Prenatal Care.

What is your favourite experience so far, as a Doctor of Acupuncture?  There are honestly too many to write! Every day in (my) clinic, I’m astonished at how much I love my work, and how grateful I am to be part of my client’s journeys in regaining health and wellness. Nothing is more rewarding or humbling than helping people overcome their varying health challenges.

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Since meeting Claire 3 years ago, she’s become a trusted friend and part of my monthly “wellness” routine. She understands just what I need and is sincerely interested in how I am doing. She always questions contributing factors (influences and stressors) in my life before she performs any treatment. If you’re interested in exploring acupuncture, I caution you to research a practitioner with appropriate training in the practice. There are many clinics with acupuncture as an “extended” service, offered through training gained only by attending workshops to administer the procedure. To get the best results you deserve, seek out a professionally trained Doctor of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in your area.

I look forward to Claire’s return to the blog in a few months time, when she will share other traditional Chinese Medicine approaches we have also experienced together.

If you are struggling with hormonal changes, experiencing “the change”, or are simply seeking better vitality in your life, I encourage you to give acupuncture a try. Why? Because hormonal transitions don’t have to be hard, and because we can.

modern middle aged woman

Contact Claire Turnbull, TCM Acupuncturist, at 204.691.8808 or accupunturewithclaire(at)gmail.com or through her instagram 

Claire practices at Family Acupuncture Wellness Clinic – 897 Corydon Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 

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Photos: Casey Nolin Photography

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