January 24

You too hot!

So think back to 9th grade health class. In mine we discussed nutrition in basic terms, reproductive systems, venereal diseases and teen pregnancy. At the time I didn’t noticed that they totally skipped the other end of the reproductive conversation — that part when it all goes haywire in your 40s and 50s. Why is there no mandatory class to explain to us how we are supposed to deal with hot flashes? I’ve decided that this is a great use of Chinese medicine because for 5,000 years Chinese woman have been dealing with this, right? So I’ve declined HRT in favor of exercise, acupuncture and a classic mix of Chinese herbs blended for this purpose charmingly known as “The Three Immortals.” This combination has been astonishingly effective so much so that I stopped going over the holidays just long enough for the sweats to, yup, start all over again, disrupting my sleep all week. Even exercise won’t discourage this demon.

I went back for more acupuncture this week. Dr. Li first asks me to stick out my tongue. She looks carefully at it and says, “You too hot!” She doesn’t even need to ask what’s wrong. One glance at the tongue is all she needs. She methodically places needles from my toes to my scalp, in my ears, on my hands and legs. Now here’s the amazing part, after erratic sleep all week long, she puts the needles in, turns off the lights and tells me she’ll be back to remove the needles in 30 minutes. Within minutes my body, covered with needles, falls into a deep sleep, lulled by classical Chinese music over the intercom system and the proper flow of Chi. Between appointments my body’s thermostat gradually returns to normal, whatever that is, and like thousands of years of Chinese women before me I feel oh so much better.