Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks


The Top 10 PULSE Articles

  1. Ginseng
  2. Impotence
  3. Menopause Resource
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  6. Depression - Chinese Herbal Prozac
  7. Dang Gui
  8. Yin and Yang
  9. Taking Herbs Safely and Intelligently
  10. Attention Deficit/ Hyperactive Disorder Resource

Cultural Gender Issues
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Cultural gender issues
Differences between men and women, their cultural roles, and how culture affects women's experience of menopause.

"The middle-aged woman no longer has the option of fulfilling the demands of patriarchal society. She can no longer play the obedient daughter, the pneumatic sex object or the madonna. Unless she consents to enter into the expensive, time-consuming and utterly futile business of denying that she has passed her sell-by date, she has sooner or later to register the fact that she has been junked by consumer culture." (The Change by Germaine Greer)

It is important to note that the societal bias is as much at play in menopause as any biochemical process. In fact, this bias may be influencing biochemistry. Several anthropological studies suggest that the experience of menopause is indeed culture-specific.

Generally speaking, men and women develop on almost opposite tracks with regard to their relationship with self, family and the world. The earlier part of a woman's development is more focused on the internal emotional processes, the development of relationship with self, intimates and the creation of family. The development of relationship to the community at large, the world, achievement and power comes at mid-life and thereafter.

Women have more female hormones earlier in life. As they age, these hormones are reduced, leaving androgen (male) hormones. Conversely men tend to be focused outward to community, achievement and their relationship with the world in the early part of life. At mid-life they tend to look inward, toward self, intimates and hearth.

We have to consider in treating the menopausal woman just whom are we treating. Are we aiding the woman in her individuation process, helping her to experience herself in a more external, achievement orientation, or are we inhibiting this natural process, keeping her biologically (and thereby influencing her psychologically to stay) bound to hearth and home? Is Hormone Replacement Therapy more a treatment for the patriarchy who may be uncomfortable with this more outward, "masculine" move of women which is occurring precisely at the same time the man is making his own uncomfortable move inward?

It is important for practitioners to remember that while we cannot escape our cultural bias, but we can be more conscious of the particularities of that bias.

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