Chinese Medicine and Monthly Issues

Warning: topic may not be suitable for most men

I must say that I resented my grandmother-in-law every month when she found out it was that time of the month. I started hiding it or denying it. According to my nainai and Chinese medicinal beliefs, a women should not come in contact with cold while on her period. Remember that Chinese medicine is all about keeping the balance between hot and cold. During menstruation, women often suffer from internal cold or deficient Qi. The imbalance brings on side effects like cramps and bloating. This means no showers, no washing dishes, no ice cream and no fruit. Anything cold makes it worse.

I, skeptical about Chinese medicine, would be about to grab a cucumber from the table when my nainai would pull the plate away from me telling me it is a cold food. I’d retort that the cucumber was room temperature. Nope. Despite the actual temperate of the food, certain foods are innately cooling or warming. And the showers? Oh how I hated being denied showers when I felt in most need of them. I never understood the logic. In my world, showers are scalding hot and ice cream is comfort food, perfect things to relieve monthly woes.

Low and behold, there is actually something to this Chinese medicine yin & yang. After being under intense scrutiny a few periods, I realized my symptoms seemed more mild. When I could sneak an ice cream or apple, I got cramps. So now, paying tribute to all my nainai’s efforts, I drink hot water on my periods, but I won’t give up my shower.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Chinese Medicine and Monthly Issues

  1. Great post – I found you through Jocelyn at Speaking of China. I’m a British-NZer who is married to a Taiwanese guy, living in Taiwan. I’ve been through the same with my MIL denying me cold foods and stuff when I’ve got my period but she’s less strict about the showers… I can shower but I just can’t wash my hair! I also recently went to see a Chinese Doc (post coming soon once I have all the pictures) for my pains among other issues which has resulted in 2 weeks of foul tasting medicine. Hopefully the results will be good!!

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  2. having just given birth there are lots of rules too…><
    Same idea but how would you like no showers for a month?

  3. Seems like old wife’s tale, but there may be some thruth in the taboos. After all, Chinese traditional medicine has been around for thosands of years. But don’t go to the extremes. Do have showers, but not too frequent maybe.

  4. Interesting post! It also seems that everyone in China knows that if you have skin problems you should avoid eating spicy food. Have you noticed any truth in this? My boyfriend was very strickt on this when I was in hospital because of skin burn.

    This also reminds me of one time when I wen’t to pharmacy to buy contraceptive pills. I checked the dictionary and asked for the medicine in Chinese. Instead of the pills I wanted they gave me morning-after pill with small plastic bag of some strange seeds. After seeing my face the girls in the pharmacy understood what I really wanted. But I can’t help wondering does those seeds really help and what seeds are they. Does anyone know?

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