Right off the bat I need to say I am not a doctor nor am I a professional that is licensed in women's medicine. So all that I am about to share to with you is solely from experience.
Back in 2011 at 23 years old, I was told about this book from a fellow Esthetician. She had more years of experience then I did at the time and naturally I trusted and looked up to her. She suggested I read this book to get some guidance and understanding of the body/mind : skin relationship.
At the time I was lost looking for a band aid and/or "cure" for my acneic skin. Which I would soon find out, there is no cure or quick fix. And if there was something topical it wasn't going to address the underlying cause and will mostly be temporary.
After reading this book I felt I had struck gold! There is a direct correlation to skin health and mental/physical health. Once you can find your bodies rhythm in that you can start working on healing skin issues.
Now it has been many years since I last sat down and read this book and have long since loaned out copies to clients, friends, and family. You know how you don't exactly remember all the words to that one song or to a poem or a conversation you had... but you will never forget how it made you FEEL? That is this memory of this book and my skin health/mental health is proof. So, I would love to share Ms. Morgan Ludington's review which feels like words I would have spoken myself.
If you end up getting the book let me know what you think! I love hearing your thoughts!
My advice is to not try and read it straight through, maybe a chapter or 2 a week. It can feel a little repetitive if focusing on the latter.
About the Author
Dr. Claudia Welch is a doctor of Oriental Medicine. She has studied, practiced, and taught Ayurveda and Acupuncture. Her website has lots of articles on health and a game that she created with her husband!
The Main Messages
Shifting Western Science
Shifting the Western Science/Medicine approach to have a more blended view of health is presented.
Simple concepts like balance and recognizing the context of physical and mental issues are often not the primary focus in the Western Science approach. However, in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, these things are vital to understanding the issue and figuring out how to address and improve it. Also, Western Science is a fan of generalizations while Eastern practices recognize unique, individual experiences in health.
Focus on you to Balance your hormones
Focus on what you can do to improve your health versus seeking medication or surgery as a primary line of action.
There is a time and place for Western medicine and interventions – but isn’t necessarily the best first option. She focuses on taking back our bodily autonomy and taking responsibility for our own health. We can do this through simple (though, maybe not always easy!) adjustments to our diet, lifestyle, and stress management. If those don’t work, then she suggests one to seek out a variety of professional health practitioners to discover the best way to care for ourselves.
She has chapters dedicated to understanding hormone replacements, menstruation, breast health, menopause, heart health, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease and what you can do about these experiences.
Pillars of Health
Diet, Lifestyle, and Stress Management are the 3 pillars of health.
They all work together and impact each other. If you aren’t exercising enough, you won’t be able to digest your food optimally. If your diet isn’t giving you adequate nutrition and energy, you’re going to be stressed. Finding the best way for you to manage your stress is going to improve how your body gets and uses energy. And all these things impact your hormones!
Diet – we all probably need to eat more fresh fruit and veggies, but also consider eating more warm foods (especially during winter) to help with digestion.
Lifestyle – try to nail down a good morning routine that includes self care like brushing your teeth and washing your face, practicing mediation or gentle exercise, and a healthy breakfast. This sets you up to have a better day.
Stress Management – take time to be still (this does not mean scrolling through Instagram!) and consider practicing meditation or breathing exercises. I’ve started doing some basic breathing exercises in the morning and evening (mostly because I can do these in bed). It gives me about 5 minutes of gentle focus and I feel like I’m doing something good for my body.
What I liked About Balance your Hormones
Hormones are fully explained through Western Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The entire first section (out of three) is dedicated to understanding hormones on a physiological level. I thought it was an impressive blend of Western science and Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. (I’m familiar with Western science, but new to Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine). For me, I like to know the full story. This helps me to make a change when I understand how a somewhat abstract issue like stress has a perceptible, testable impact on my body – the science behind the experience.
I can improve my menopause experience with what I do now.
The section on perimenopause and menopause was enlightening for me. I’m not anywhere close to this next stage of life, but she explained how it’s better to be prepared long before rather than when you’re already experiencing it. She also explained how my choices now will impact my menopause experience. I’m not going to just skim over or completely ignore articles on menopause anymore!
Listen to your body, it’s pretty good at knowing what it needs.
I really love the idea of listening to your body and nurturing it on its terms. If you’re tired, take a nap. Of course, this takes practice and time, especially if you have unhealthy habits. Like, just because you’re craving a donut, it doesn’t mean that’s the best source of energy for you (though it might not always be harmful 🙂
Don't stop here, check out Dr. Claudia Welch's website for many more juicy reads!