Jill talked with Dr. Patricia Van Santen, a California-based licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Dr. Patricia works with many women in midlife and menopause, and her patients have found great relief in her formulas and treatments.

Because many Westerners are still unfamiliar with the practice of Chinese medicine, we asked Dr. Patricia to share her learning and expertise with us.

Dr. Patricia got started working on bodies because, as a professional dancer surrounded by other professional dancers, she was familiar with bodies and the complexities thereof. She told us about how art, physicality, health, and celebration of movement came together to lead her to her current practice.

As a dancer and choreographer, you experience the world in different ways than other people, Dr. Patricia says. Hear her thoughts on how we should all, like dancers, learn to listen to our bodies to stay healthy or help ourselves heal.

How do we know we’re listening to our bodies and hearing them correctly? Dr. Patricia says to “start by listening to your doubt.” Hear how to do it and why it works.

How does your tribe help you be in the moment, listen, and thrive? There’s power in the help and support only your tribe can provide.

Dr. Patricia introduces us to the fundamental differences in approach to menopause between Western and Chinese medicine. Many women all over the world have found relief in both traditions, so it’s worth exploring all the options.

How do you change your health when you can’t really change your circumstances? You may not be able to change your job or move to another climate, but Dr. Patricia shares other, smaller changes you can make to bring your life and body into better balance.

To give us an example of what a consultation might look like, Jill shared her long-standing issue with night sweats. Dr. Patricia takes her through how she might identify the underlying issues and create a personalized formula to address them.

Once the formula is determined, what next? Since presumably your local drugstore won’t be able to provide, where do clients go to find the items they need? Dr. Patricia lets us in on the best ways to source the solutions. (hint: Oriental Medical Schools pretty much rock this)

How do Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture complement each other, and what other components should we be integrating into our self care?

Many Westerners are unfamiliar with Chinese medicine and acupuncture – Dr. Patricia shares how she brings her patients to a place of openness and trust.

If someone is looking for a practitioner of Chinese medicine, how should they go about finding one? What questions should they ask, and where do you even start?

How do you establish expectations when patients are impatient for solutions? Dr. Patricia lets us in on things women can do any time to start the process of feeling better.

Dr. Patricia advises us on what all women over 40 should be doing to nourish themselves inside and out. Observe yourself, she says: what makes you feel better or worse? What in life brings you joy? Do what Mae West used to do, Dr. Patricia says, and start your day positively. Walk, observe, be present.

How do we learn to embrace and celebrate midlife? Disentangle yourself from the notion that only fertile women are productive and useful, Dr. Patricia says, because you have a great deal yet to give.

If you’re looking for a practitioner near you, visit NCCAOM.org, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. To learn more about Dr. Patricia, visit her website.


Shannon Perry

May 30, 2017
Director of Programming & Media

Medically Reviewed By

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