Menstrual Cycle Basal Body Temperature and Yin Yang Theory
According to Chinese medicine, our health is governed by factors internal and external to the body. Internally, the way energy flows through the body – yin, yang, blood and qi – is a major determinant of overall health. Such energy flows may be cyclical – as yin rises, yang may diminish, and vice versa. And this cycle may be indicated by subtle alterations in organ performance or bodily homeostasis.
The menstrual cycle is an excellent example of this Chinese medical concept in play. As women move from one stage of the cycle to the next, basal body temperature is something Houston practitioners may use to monitor where women are in their cycle.
How Chinese Medicine Explains Basal Body Temperature and its Relationship to the Menstrual Cycle
Practitioners consider the menstrual cycle in four parts. As the cycle moves from one stage to the next, there is a noted shift in energy balance.
The four stages of menstruation from a Chinese medical perspective include:
- The “purging” stage – For the first 1-5 days, women are in the purge part of their cycle. Menstrual bleeding reaches its zenith at this stage and if pregnancy does not occur, there is a noticeable drop in basal body temperature. This indicates a drop in yang energy and a rise in yin energy.
- The follicular stage – From day 6 to day 13 or so, women enter the follicular stage of the cycle, during which a follicle matures into an egg. Chinese medicine practitioners consider this phase to be yin-dominant, as yin is the nutritive, substantive energy of the body. If the body is well-stocked with yin energy (specifically, the kidney yin), then basal body temperature will remain lower than baseline.
- The ovulation stage – During days 14 and 15, women enter the ovulation stage of their cycle. This stage is transitionary in terms of energy expression. The yin energy is reaching its peak at this point and converting into yang energy – a transformation that can happen in both directions. Basal body temperature spikes during ovulation, indicating the yin to yang transition.
- The luteal stage – The luteal stage spans from day 16 to day 28 and is the part of menstruation during which the uterus is ready to nurture and develop a newly fertilized egg. During this phase, yang energy is dominant and therefore basal body temperature remains elevated, though not at the same highs seen during ovulation.
The Menstrual Cycle Maps Closely onto Energy Cycles Described by Chinese Medicine
Menstruation and the body’s essential life energies – yin and yang – are cyclical in nature. And though it’s been replaced by other diagnostic measures in western medicine, basal body temperature remains a useful tool for Chinese practitioners monitoring energy balance in women during their cycle. This information can be used to identify potential health issues during menstruation and resolve them.