I'm a traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, so I know firsthand that balancing hormones is no easy feat. There are cycles to consider and the intricate dance they ride each month. And of course, all along the way there are bumps in the road, or forks in the road, which is part of the deal in modern-day womanhood. It seems that we have two choices: deciding between the pill to "fix" the problem or riding it out and, through trial and error, look for what is really going on. Either way, it's not always an easy path and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
There's been a theme running through my circles over the past few years—self-love, and I've been exploring it deeply. We all have different values, different priorities, and various feelings and emotions that propel us. And it's true that we all perceive things differently. This love isn't necessarily about smooching up with your lover; it's about self-worth and showing up each day.
Why your healing gets stuck.
It became clear that we were missing a huge piece of the puzzle when it came to healing from not only hormone imbalance but illness in general. I had been constantly searching for the answer, looking for that little golden thread that could tie all other aspects of healing together. I'd watch so many patients tick off all of the physical boxes and still find themselves unwell.
Maybe you can relate—amazing diet, good-quality sleep, great mindfulness practice, you've ditched every toxin you can think of, and your beauty cabinet is full of green cosmetics—you've even put a salt lamp in every corner of your home—your home looks like a magical wonderland. You eat turmeric—enough so your skin matches your salt lamps, and you've oil pulled until you gag. You've done it all; well, almost.
The essential practice for holistic healing.
The more I've continued to massage this thought, the more I've found a strong need to weave it through everything I do. My practice, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), completely embodies the idea that health is half physical and half emotional, and that each organ is attached to a specific emotion. It's understood that all organs interact holistically to ensure the body is not only integrated, but all systems are working like a well-oiled machine.
I discovered that when women completely embrace this idea, they are finally able to recover. Periods showed up after being missing for years, acne cleared, endometriosis symptoms began to ease—the benefits were endless. While patients were working on solely the physical aspect, symptoms seemed to continue. Maybe you've made the connection yourself; maybe you feel you've lost your spark because of long-term illness like hormone imbalance or conditions like PCOS? The love for life is gone. Stress, angst, and fear crushes love and joy.
One of my mentors, Dr. Habib Sadeghi, elaborates extensively on the need to address emotions when we're healing. He believes that millions of people are living in a perpetual state of unconfined emotion and that healing all chronic illness, especially women's reproductive conditions, lies in the subtle emotional body. He talks about how, from an early age, girls are taught to supress their feelings in order to please others, and then of course the media continues to influence their mindset—not thin enough, not good enough, not toned enough, not hormonally playing the game, and so on. We aren't taught how to just be imperfect and love ourselves for that. Or to admire our bodies and what they do for us. The expectations placed on women, not necessarily by others but by our biggest critic, ourselves, is fundamentally disempowering.
We cannot control everything. It's time to let go.
Our bodies are extremely smart—they don't forget an emotion that isn't processed but more so tuck it away where it may manifest and grow like a big black mass and take up so much room within, it leaves little for other bodily functions to do anything more than a mediocre job.
It's time to come back to love. Loving yourself enough to realize that perfect is imperfection and that you can forgive yourself. Being the perfect friend, ideal weight, best lover—is all because you aren't perfect but because you show up and be yourself. Accept your body for what it is, the beautiful being that you are, and allow this wash of love to permeate everything you do. Fearing imperfection winds us in the wrong direction. Self-acceptance is the key step toward healing, hormones or otherwise.