MenoPassage and plant derived hormones

MenoPassage: Helping ourselves with plant-derived hormones

MenoPassage – A holistic journey through the menopausal years




It is well known that plants including herbs can have a very powerful effect on our endocrine system including all the sex hormone receptors.The best know kind are Phytoestrogens, but they include plants having a progesterone or testosterone effect. Let us have a more in depth look so that we might more readily be able to harness the power they have to offer. Fore women in MenoPassage, the message is simple: before or instead of opting for pharmaceutical hormone replacement, see if you can tap into the wide array of resources available in the natural pharmacopoeia.

There are a large variety of herbal formulas available over the counter, both as oral capsules or transdermal creams. Generally, I prefer the transdermal route, as it bypasses the stomach and the first pass through the liver and gives one better bioavailability. You can also do single herbs, depending on what you feel you need. The following discussion might elucidate how you might go about making a choice that fits your specific needs. These choices can be complex, it is good to have a framework within which the choices might be more straightforward. This will of course not be an exhaustive discussion, but might just start giving you some guidelines.

These plants used to be used primarily for the control of vasomotor symptoms, i.e. hot flushes, but their use has widely expanded in the last few years. Thus beneficial effects can be seen in a variety of tissues including bones, heart, brain, breasts, vagina. In addition, plants promoting progesterone activity can have beneficial effects on the immune system. Plants supporting testosterone activity will be strengthening and stimulating, while also supporting healthy brain, muscle, immune and cardiac functions.

These plants also have the power of modulating the emotions, decreasing anxiety, increasing mental focus and alleviating mood disorders. MA few major players in this category are: Hops (humulus lupulus), which will settle restlessness, anxiety and sleeplessness (yes! A glass of beer, which generally has hops as a major constituent, will do just that, but an herbal remedy might be a better friend on a daily basis), and Sage, which will help improve memory and have a calming action by activating the GABA system, the same neurotransmitter also targeted by the benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium.

Whether you need estrogen, progesterone and /or testosterone remains to a large extent experiential. Yes, you can get your blood levels checked, but that may or may not reflect what you really need and how you are going to respond to it. There are definite patterns that can be elucidated (subject for a future blog), but in my clinical experience, it is best to get started on some well balanced support and then adapt as one goes along, depending on symptomatology.

Theses plants act in a variety of ways and it is easiest to understand them by differentiating their mechanism of action.

  • Some bind to hormone receptors, “Phyto-hormones”
  • Some increase the ability of the body to make hormones, “Phyto-hormonogenics”
  • Some mimic important hormone functions , ”Functional mimetics”

The first kind, phyt-ohormones, generally have weak hormone activity. They will do something, but not necessarily a whole lot. This also implies that they are not going to be stimulating enough to cause much concern regarding the possibility of causing cancer, as pharmaceutical hormones can. Depending on the plant, they can stimulate estrogen (such as red clover, kudzu, sage and soy), progesterone (wild yam) and testosterone receptors (“horny goat”).

The second category, the “phyto-hormogenics”, may act either on the endocrine glands themselves or stimulate the brain to upregulate its production. Forskolin directly stimulates progesterone production Withania somnifera stimulates testosterone production.

The third type, the “functional mimetics” is perhaps the most intriguing as they do not even necessarily bind to the endocrine receptors in the cells to mimic the effect of the hormone. It’s like they don’t need to use the same key to enter the door and activate the intracellular mechanisms. The most well-known plant in this category is Bacopa Manniera, which echoes estrogen’s ability to help you adapt to stress and maintain cognitive function. Black cohosh also belongs to this category and is frequently found in menopausal herbal formulas.

Unfortunately, the whole world of “xeno-estrogens”, which are comprised primarily of environmental pollutants, also belongs here. These pollutants, such as a variety of different plastics, can have a powerful dysregulating effect on the endocrine system, causing such issues as premature puberty, infertility and cancer of tissues carrying gonadal hormone receptors, primarily breast, uterus and ovaries. This is a subject for future discussion.



Broadly speaking, phytoestrogens include isoflavones, coumestans, and lignans. Not only are they present in a variety of herbs, but foods as well, and just making some dietary adjustments may provide one with sufficient support. These compounds have been identified in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Soybeans, clover and alfalfa sprouts, and oilseeds (such as flaxseed) are the most significant dietary sources. Studies in suggest that dietary phytoestrogens play an important role in prevention of menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease, probably from  their\estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects, induction of cancer cell differentiation, inhibition of tyrosine kinase and DNA topoisomerase activities, suppression of angiogenesis, and antioxidant effects. Although there currently are no dietary recommendations for individual phytoestrogens, there may be great benefit in increased consumption of plant foods.

Let’s look at a few herbs first:

Black cohosh: not only does it have estrogenic effects that may alleviate hot flushes, it also has calming effects, “relaxes constraint and calms the mind”. It effectively addresses tension patterns, especially with a sensation of heat and flushing. Through its beneficial effect on the heart, it may alleviate anxiety and palpitations, especially when stress-induced.

Red clover: it is particularly helpful for supporting the fluids, thus addresses the dryness symptoms of perimenopause, vaginal dryness, dry skin, brittle hair. It is also good for eliminating toxicity creating inflammation/”heat” in the skin, chest or intestines.

And phytoestrogens in foods:

Soy: It has a very high content of isoflavones, particularly genistein. It is notable that Asian cultures generally consume large amounts of soy and studies have revealed much higher blood levels of genistein. At the same time, menopausal symptoms are generally much less predominant in these cultures, usually only in the 10-20% range, whereas in the Western cultures, it is more in the 80% range.

Its beneficial dietary use has recently been questioned and analyzed, but results suggest that soy is either beneficial or neutral in its effect on health. It is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. I personally prefer the fermented and sprouted forms, i.e. miso, tempeh and fermented tofu, as the processes of fermentation and sprouting predigest the proteins and sugars that may otherwise possibly be problematic.

Fruit and berries – Some berries are rich in phytoestrogens, most notably strawberries, raspberries and cranberries. Peaches and a variety of dried fruits such as figs, apricots and dates are also particularly rich in phytoetsrogens.

Cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli also contain high levels of phytoestrogens and specifically have an enzyme called indole-3-carbinol, which gets metabolized into diinolylmethane, DIM. This DIN is well-known for supporting healthy hormone levels by favorably influencing the ratios of estrogen metabolites. Indeed, estrogen may be metabolized into toxic waste products, and DIM steers the body away from this (more on this in a future blog).


Thus there are multiple ways in which we can augment our estrogen intake and enhance its metabolism that gives us support in the menopausal years without having to have recourse to pharmaceutical grade hormone replacement. The effect will be milder and in harmony with our bodies.

For a discussion of plants having progesterone and testosterone effects, please stay tuned, the next blog will be dedicated to this subject.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

Angela Ingendaay








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HOT FLUSHES  and the nervous system

* Featured image by Julia Yellow for The Washington Post

MenoPassage: a holistic Journey through the menopausal years

Hot flushes are perhaps the one symptom that is most classically associated with menopause. Many women wonder why they have this pesky symptom that sometimes disturbs life quite profoundly. Pesky and sometimes deeply disturbing they are, and yet there are things we may gain from having to endure them, they may well become part of the MenoPassage Journey that leads one to greater inner strength and tranquility.

There are many aspects to this enigmatic phenomenon of HOT FLUSHES. A lot of it has to do with the brain and our nervous system. Indeed, the brain has receptors for estrogen that regulate its activity. In the menopausal years, estrogen levels tend to fluctuate a lot, and the brain has to make corresponding adjustments.

Our sense of how warm it is in our environment and whether we need to do something about it (primarily by SWEATING) is regulated by a specific center in our brain that acts as our thermostat, the “thermoregulatory nucleus”, it maintains the core body temperature within a specific range, “the thermoregulatory zone”. Sweating occurs when it goes above the upper threshold, whereas chills occur when it dips below the lower threshold. Women with hot flushes seem to have a more narrow range that they can tolerate, thus more readily developing the sweats and chills for no apparent reason.

But what leads to the narrowing of the range? This question remains unanswered, it most likely has to do with the large fluctuations of hormones in the brain during menopause. The sudden withdrawal and/or great variability in estrogen levels definitely seem to be a factor, these changes seem to entrain greater variability in certain neurotransmitters including norepinephrine and serotonin.  This in turn will also lead to mood swings, depression and sleep abnormalities.

Can we take charge of these changes in our nervous system?

It does appear to be so. Researchers have found  that it is indeed possible to calm down the fluctuations in hormone levels and thereby diminish hot flushes in a study involving almost 500 women. They were able to show that a key to diminishing hot flushes is RELAXATION, specifically slow-breathing techniques, which in essence are particularly effective in reducing an adrenalized/stressed state. This seems to help widen the thermoregulatory zone, or the range of tolerated temperature. So – enjoy and RELAX, breathe deeply and slowly and watch the hot flushes diminish.

I would particularly recommend the yogic practice of alternate nostril breathing (instructions to this are widely available on YouTube). Though of course, it is easy to just be attentive to one’s breathing and simply deepen the breath, but from my experience it is a good idea to get specific instruction as they are many nuances to pay attention to that will make the experience more effective. One such set of instructions is available for a free download from  the home page of my web site on the right hand side.

Another interesting observation that came out of the same study: endorphins plummet when you have a hot flash, so if we can keep our endorphin levels even and well boosted by exercising regularly as well as other methods outlined below, we have a greater chance of moderating this symptom.

This is actually quite significant, because it shows how much the state of our nervous system, the level of tension vs. deep quiet reserves is a significant factor in hot flushes as well as other menopausal issues. Nourishing our nervous system becomes a crucial element in our approach to hot flushes.

We can accomplish this in so many ways:

  • Exercise, somewhat vigorously, 3x/week for 20 minutes at a time, preferably accompanied by music you really like to get the most enjoyment and maximize the endorphins…. This will also help diminish hormonal fluctuations and thus stabilize your whole experience of menopause.
  • Making space for deep rest, sound sleep (which tends to suffer during menopause as well, subject for another day…)
  • A meditation practice
  • Herbal remedies: here we have a variety of different approaches:
  • Tonifying the nervous system with herbs such as oat straw, the queen of the nerve tonics, hops, gemmotherapy (another blog)
  • Detox and nourish the liver, which is essential to minimize the hyperreactivity of a stressed nervous system. Dandelion, Ho Shou Wu (a Chinese herb), yellow dock, milk thistle, chicory, burdock are all examples of herbs that may work well. You can easily find liver detoxification formulas that include some of the herbs.
  • Phytoestrogenic plants, includingmotherwort, fenugreek, fermented soy products
  • Supplements, vit E, Selenium, vit B, bioflavonoids esp Hesperidin 1000 mg
  • You can also try a homeopathic, lichesis, preferably 30X, has an 80% chance of working

In essence, the more you nourish your nervous system, detoxify your liver and connect to a deep, quiet place inside, the more you will be able to moderate this symptom. This also takes us into the realm of Chinese medicine, which I intend to get more deeply into in future blogs. Chinese medicine provides an in depth understanding of how to nourish and balance one’s nervous system to bring harmony and vitality to all functions and address a variety of symptoms that arise from stress and depletion of energy. 

Taking time to nourish yourself more deeply will enhance your whole MenoPassage Journey, will give you a foundation for stepping into the full vitality and creativity of the next phase of your life. We will continue discussing this in greater depth as we go along, so please stay posted.


by Angela Ingendaay, MD

Angela Ingendaay






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Hormone Health by Helios Academy

Hormone Health: things you can do yourself to enhance it

Menopassage: a holistic Journey through the menopausal years

 In the course of menopause, our estrogen and progesterone levels vastly diminish, no question about it. And yet, in the framework of enhancing your life in the course of MenoPassage, there are many things you can do for yourself that makes this trend have less of a negative impact. Thus the change in hormone levels can be seen as a great call to pay attention to the foundation of our health to ensure some level of stability and maximize our vitality.

 Let’s look at how hormones work for a moment, there are a few principles that we need to understand:

  • In general, hormones – sex hormones not exempt – activate receptors inside the cells to stimulate them to act in a very specific way. Now the receptors are set to a particular level of sensitivity, the stronger the signaling, the less sensitive they become. Thus as the hormone levels diminish and the signal becomes weaker, the sensitivity goes up and the response continues to be more than one might expect. This definitely acts in our favor.
  • For the hormones to act on our receptors, they need to be taken into the interior of the cells, and this process can be enhanced with essential fatty acids, EFA’s, as they help to maintain ideal cell membrane fluidity, allowing optimal transport of hormones across the cell membrane and into the cell.
  • The estrogen we do retain – or supplement for that matter – gets metabolized, meaning broken down and made ready for excretion. This process occurs in the liver and the gut, and can take several pathways, some of which are more toxic than others. One of the pathways can actually end up with carcinogenic metabolites, meaning that it will increase your risk of cancer. There are ways of guiding this in the right direction, especially with appropriate diet. There are also ways of measuring which pathway predominates, I recommend this for anyone on hormone replacement or at higher risk of cancer to begin with. Ask your doctor for the test.
  • It is worthy to note that we not only have our own estrogens on board but also are exposed to a variety of estrogens in what we consume, be it phytoestrogens form a variety of vegetables which actually help us stay healthy and vibrant, or xenoestrogens, the wide array of estrogen mimicking compounds present in plastic, packaged food and drink trays and containers, ( more so when they’ve been heated in the sun or an oven ) as well as hormones fed to animals and transmitted through meat and milk consumption. All of these need to be metabolized and eliminated and it behooves us to maximize healthy elimination.
  • Hormones are also eliminated through the intestinal tract. There are a few items that will enhance this elimination. For example, a healthy gut flora is essential for this process to occur. Thus PROBIOTICS are particularly helpful for this issue. In addition, plentiful fiber is essential as we will see below.

Thus the four pillars of hormone health are:

1.Healthy lifestyle and dietary choices that support optimal hormone function
2.Complete high-grade multiple vitamin-mineral formulation
3. Omega-3 essential fatty acids rich in DHA and EPA
4. Probiotics with multiple species and high count

Hormone Healthy Lifestyle & Diet

Appropriate diet, exercise, rest, sleep, recreation, social interactions, hydration, and detoxification all contribute to vitality and health. Sleep deprivation, excessive stress, or inadequate exercise can each result in decreased levels of testosterone and thyroid hormones, and in an increased risk of obesity. A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, salads, fish, and lean meats or poultry will support optimal hormone health.

The foods that actually promote hormone health and  promote proper metabolism and detoxification of estrogen include:

  • High quality protein, fish, poultry, meat, eggs… will provide the necessary amino-acids that the liver requires for a healthy detoxification process
  • Essential fatty acids, as we discussed above, as can be found in salmon and mackerel. EFA’s come primarily in 2 highly beneficial forms, DHA and EPA, and I generally recommend a combined content of more than 2 g/d.
  • Eat seeds such as sesame, fenugreek and flax, they produce a fiber called lignan that helps eliminate estrogens form the intestinal tract. In fact dietary fiber of all kinds enhances healthy estrogen metabolism
  • Eat cruciferous vegetable, broccoli, brussel sprouts etc… they contain an enzyme referred to as DIM, which helps to safely eliminate estrogens. It ahs actually been shown that people with higher levels of DIM have lower cancer rates,
  • Keep your levels of VitD optimal, it definitely is able to promote healthy metabolism of estrogens
  • Eat fermented food such as sauerkraut, kimchee and pickles and/or add a good probiotic to your diet.
  • Avoid sugar! Sugar has been shown to INHIBIT the regulation of testosterone and estrogen, causing imbalances in hormone balance

These are all simple things that are part of a healthy diet to begin with. It behooves us to pay attention to all these details to have a healthy passage through menopause… and in the end, a highly productive MenoPassage, a holistic journey through the menopausal years that opens a door to new levels of vitality and creativity.

Please add your comments at the bottom of this page. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions you may have.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

Angela Ingendaay






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Part 2-Riding Your Planetary Cycles

Riding Your Planetary Cycles through MenoPassage– an astrological guide to emotional turbulence, growth, and renewal in midlife and onward.

MenoPassage: a holistic journey through Menopause


As we have discussed in part 1 of this article, our lives and all the challenges and treasures they hold for us may well be influenced by planetary cycles, and these become particularly interesting in midlife, when the MenoPassage Journey is in full swing. Understanding these cycles can bring greater understanding, acceptance and depth to one’s experience, so we will continue to explore these in greater detail.

Riding our planetary cycles through midlife and beyond

William Sebrans, evolutionary astrologer and coach

We had seen that for the midlife / Menopassage Journey, the following planetary shifts may be of particular significance:

 Uranus opposition — somewhere between the ages 40-44, often over the course of a year or more — involving radical breaks from the past, liberation, sudden loss. A liberation and entering into the MenoPassage Journey, setting up the process of becoming remolded.

Chiron return, around age 50. — involving an activation of a sacred wound, up for healing, and also a break from the bonds that have held us back. THIS may very well be the greatest contributor  and challenge to the MenoPassage Journey.

Second Saturn return — the year around age 58, a life accounting of sorts — either a harvest and/or a sober recognition of what has passed and what is possible. A Third Act beginning. This coincides with a certain kind of graduation from the MenoPassage Journey, and reflects to some extent on how deep the Journey has been.

Now we will explore more closely how to Employ These Astrological Descriptors and Revelations

“Astrology is not so much concretely predictive as archetypically predictive.”

                                                                                                     – Richard Tarnas

While there are methods to divine amazing things with astrology, including finding lost keys (really!)  precise astrological predictions are notoriously unreliable to the detail. That said, — they are often in the ballpark.

Archetypes are ranges of potentials, not exact characterizations. There are , for example, different kinds of kings and different kinds of servants, but the roles are distinct.  

A Saturn to Moon transit, for example,  will likely not be festive and will almost always accompany some contraction, or limits, or commitment, or responsibilities, or loss …but mapping out how it will unfold can be a crapshoot.  

A Jupiter-to Moon conjunction for a month or a season will, for better or worse,  be expansive… as in someone gets a new opportunity for meaningful work, yet she may actually gain a lot of weight! That’s expansive, right?

The point being — the archetypal unfolding of life will tend to follow certain patterns we can align with and even plan around,  but there is enormous wiggle room around the details of unfolding.

Specifically, then:

If you are 40-43…a good astrologer will look at all the transits,  but will be examining how a Uranus opposition may be unfolding in your life.

A Uranus opposition is when the planet Uranus in its 84 yr cycle (an average human life) has moved to the point opposite it where it was in the natal chart. The corresponding effect of that  is contingent on how Uranus in your natal birth chart relates to the other planets in the chart.

These planets are like forces, or people, or like gods on Olympus who are in relationship to each other in ways that range from exalting and facilitating to challenging and disruptive or denying.

Uranus, as a rule, represents breaks from established patterns, imposed from the outside or as arising from within.  Phrases like – I‘m done. I’m outta here. Gotta do something new –start welling up on the inside. On the outside – WTF just happened? Or I can’t believe he, she, they did that!  Wow – what a ride this year has been!

Sometimes, it is not so extreme but still notable. And sometimes, it is extreme – like lightning and thunder has struck.

“Now that barn has burned to the ground, I have a much clearer view of the Moon.”

                                                                                                                      – Zen proverb

It can be like that. Uranus wants to free up your vision and can nuke things and relationships that stand in the way of your liberation.  It’s a cycle…and the Cosmos is not picking on you.

Chiron Return

Chiron is an asteroid/planetoid discovered in 1977 and lies between Saturn and Uranus.

There is an entire mythology around Chiron from the Greeks – the Centaur and wounder healer – which applies to its significance in current astrological charts.

People did great astrology before Chiron’s discovery, but his presence on the scene lends reliable nuance to understanding ourselves,  and Chiron’s  effect is now commonly accounted for in most astrological circles in the West.

Chiron represents our sacred “wound” – and also, where we subvert the ordinary way of doing things. In mythology, he was the first recorded “alternative healer”. It sheds light not only on the wound but about the resurrection and transformation of it by significant pattern shifts.

The Chiron return around age 50  is often timed right around the time of menopause, and for many a very intense time of their MenoPassage Journey. It marks not only biological and psychological changes but often a call to deep soul-work.

If someone has a Chiron placement in the 6th House of work and service, their life may be set up to experience wounding in that area… for example,– they may have had challenge finding their place in the world of work…or,  if in the 3rd house of communication , – maybe a feeling of unworthiness in expressing themselves or feel rebellion against speaking in traditionally predictable ways in conventional  language.

The Chiron return can invite in therapies and processes to transform that wound. Burnt-out she-warriors in the corporate marketplace lose their jobs, get therapy to find what has been driving them, and train in therapy themselves for a second career. Men who have been too timid to show up fully in relationships find themselves testing the metal in empowering Men’s Work circles.

Second Saturn Return  (age 58)


The Second Saturn Return at age 58 is the pivot point. For many, it may crown the end of the MenoPassage Journey, and they may reap great benefits or have to face hard realities and go through yet another crowning transformation.

Before exploring this fertile and oftentimes challenging year, it demands mention that Saturn – the influence of contraction, limits, lessons,  discipline and the Lord of Time – is ALWAYS operating in our lives, bringing his removing/separating influences… or his mastering, solidifying impact.

Every 2.5 years approximately,  on average, Saturn changes zodiac signs and moves through one of the 12 houses in our charts — bringing his reign to those distinct areas such as finances/resources, communications/siblings, home, work, relationships and so on.

In addition, he is often “aspecting” other planetary forces – that is making an astrological contact , either enabling, challenging, or restricting them, so that the entire astrological and personal picture resists facile sound-bite descriptors.

That said,  there are major arcs of observable major shift, like the 2nd Saturn return.

By age 58, for most people, the children, if they have had them,  are grown and moved out. If they haven’t moved on – that represents right there Saturn’s call to extra responsibility.

Around this time, — the drive to climb the ladder in a prior field of endeavor starts to dissipates.

We lose employment, or get ill from insufficient body-care, or from the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” (Shakespeare)

We may finally finish the ever-demanding- never-ending dissertation begun in the Chiron return, 8 years before. We harvest a few decades of gainful employment … or the harsh rewards of not applying ourselves over the years and the regrets that surface in regard to that.

Saturn is not for sissies.

That said, a right relationship to Saturn invites authentic accounting of our strengths, our foibles, and our remaining possibilities. Here, we are not rewarded for displays of either blustering bravado or for self-pity, hoping to chalk up karmic points  by being in self-denial.

Saturn wants our true sovereignty.

His sometimes stern teaching aims to  end  our individual stories of separation and lack, and he does that by challenging us with the events and feelings that counterpoint that sovereignty – feeling dis-empowered, dependent, or coming up short… Until we get it right, understanding, at last, that we are generally the cause of our own tribulations.

A Saturn return will have us count our losses or regrets … but, rightly used, we dwell on our present gifts and future gains – a mature Saturnine perspective.

“I dwell in possibility,”  – said Emily Dickinson.

It is where we arrive when we have integrated Saturn’s teaching, shedding one skin and growing another.

But let’s say by  58, we feel have won a lottery ticket in life with solid life-work, great children, good health,   and meaningful relationships. Then we are invited to be humbly grateful for whatever abundance has come our way through pluck, luck,  and discipline, but pride does not go down well in Saturn’s domain. He can remove anything at anytime, as an operative principle.

Good astrologers, coaches,  guides, or creativity circles among friends with shared purposes, can bridge the gap between the what was, what is,  and what can be during and following such a transit. Many of my clients reach out during this period without knowing what led them to make the call.

Contemplation and meditation vs. obsessive ruminating is one of the right practices during a Saturn return, and ultimately can lead to the harvest of our hard-won wisdom. Gracefully letting go of what has past and embracing what can be –  can make this 3rd Act  of life joyous, fruitful, and liberating.


There is no real conclusion to all of this. We are in an ever-spiraling and deepening inquiry.

Each one of these life passages marked by the planetary cycles can represent challenges, even crises to health, identity, purpose, and belonging.

There are golden opportunities in each of them when they are embraced for their demanding, liberating, mischievous, and sometimes stern teaching.

We are not being punished but rather groomed, not unlike the beloved story of the chickpea from Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks who brings us to a ripe pause in this exploration.

A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it’s being boiled.

‘Why are you doing this to me?’

The cook knocks him down with the ladle.

‘Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.

Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.’

Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat!

We hope that this has shed some light on your Journey and will help you face the challenges and step into the great opportunities in the Journey through MenoPassage. Please contact me for any questions you may have. Sign Up to get updates.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

Angela Ingendaay








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Riding Your Planetary Cycles through MenoPassage

– an astrological guide to emotional turbulence, growth, and renewal in midlife and onward

MenoPassage: a holistic journey through Menopause


In the MenoPassage years, most women undergo profound psychological shifts, often causing some instability and possibly leading to quite a new sense of identity. We are going to explore whether these shifts, challenges and transformations may actually coincide with the influence of the planets upon our lives, in the framework of the well charted system of astrology.

Indeed, for some, the MenoPassage years may be accompanied by significant emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, and sometimes, the fear of aging and the unknown. For others, it is simply a time to shed one skin, perhaps a part of them very oriented to caring and nurturing, and move into another part of their lives,  – often a creative, more focused and determined part.

Regardless of the shape it takes, what is clear is that a new chapter is opening. And we tend to attribute so much of these shifts to the level of our hormones and, perhaps, make attempts to keep things in their status quo by taking on hormone replacement,- yet women seem to undergo these shifts,  regardless of this physiological aspect. The following article will shed light on this issue.

Riding our planetary cycles through midlife and beyond

~ William Sebrans, evolutionary astrologer and coach

We live our lives in cycles;  no-one knows this better than every woman that endures the energetic ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle. And so our lives also encompass much larger cycles and recurrences, and through them, we have a chance to change, grow, mature, expand… and if one takes a very large step back, one starts seeing very specific patterns, and these patterns in turn do in fact reflect astrological patterns, as we shall explore.

Throughout history, many have referred to these larger cycles… Shakespeare referred to it as the seven ages of man,; psychologist Eric Erickson speaks of five stages; the ancient Chinese speak of 7 stages. By understanding these greater laws, we have a chance to embrace our changes and even move deeply into  and through them to come out stronger on the other side.

According to astrology , these cycles are guided and influenced by the planets, as we will examine more closely. It paints a very detailed map of how our psychology gradually unfolds and what opportunities and challenges arise at various points of our lives.

Some of these planetary influences, of course, are highly individual, but there are also broader patterns and cycles that can be delineated and help us understand our road map regardless of our personal chart. This does not require for you to take on the whole ideology of astrology;  simply may shed some light on patterns that unfold.

Understanding these cycles may well reassure one that, despite the legion messages that spill out from the glossy lifestyle magazine covers, that ambush us with an overwhelming menu of options for living the good life –  in fact, all the great lessons that often happen in midlife, when one’s  whole being seems to be thrown into greater flux, deeper experiences such as loss, shock, disorientation, regret, and other tart experiences are all quite normal and built in to the greater scheme of things.

And it is reassuring to understand that these enormous challenges guided by the planets may lead to a renewal of ourselves, and may even be our sacred invitation.

So What Do Planets Have to Do With It?

In every culture on the planet and from every epoch, there have been astrological traditions that have observed the relationship between planetary movements and the lives of people,  nations, and even the Earth itself.

Without claiming it as a belief system that some planet  –say, -Mars made me throw the dishes at the wall… or that Venus made me fall for a jerk…it has been verified repeatedly through the millennia that when the planets (and distant stars)  are in certain positions in the sky and in relationship to each other, certain lines of character develop in a newborn child and certain predictable ranges of events unfold throughout the life. So, while we might not proclaim the planets and stars are the CAUSES of our lives, we can confidently assert  there are compelling and useful CORRELATIONS to them, validating the ancient maxim from Trismegitus – As above, so below. As without, so within.

As a person progresses through the “ages of man” (see– Shakespeare’s  As You Like It) — there are fairly predictable seasons of expansion and contraction (Jupiter vs. Saturn), abundance and loss, love and loneliness, growth and decay.

By the time we are in mid-40s, we should be getting the impression that  we are not entirely in charge of this play in which we play a part. Change happens. Falls follow rises, and rises follow falls. We are in favor, then not, – in a flow, then not.

“Fate leads she who follows and drags she who resists.”  — Plutarch

Fate is tricky, though. I am biased to think that Fate is not digital terrain of either-or... but rather an analog field of maybe, but also.  Fate has a range of potentials, as does its more upbeat sibling — Destiny. That said, there are times, when something’s gotta give, and that’s what we will explore in this piece.


Everyone has a unique trajectory in life…even twins. That trajectory is based on what planetary influences were present at birth, the planetary movements (transits) that follow over the years, family and societal conditioning, karma perhaps, soul age and soul perception, and even Grace.

The diverse elements in that stew of influences suggests that planetary movements affect people quite differently, despite what the astrology tabloids might influence the gullible to believe.

There is no fixed recipe for how people will experience outer and inner change.

But there are parameters.

Speaking quite broadly, here are some classic times of shift, change, growth, and/or loss.

Saturn Return: Saturn works in a cycle of 29 years, and within one cycle it leads us through all one’s “astrological houses”, i.e. all the different aspects of one’s relationship to oneself and intimate sphere as well as the greater world one interacts with. Thus at the end of the first Return, age 29, one has had a good taste of all that is within one, one’s challenges, and potential. It is a certain coming of age, often challenging with more responsibility. One may well have achieved a basic level of maturity and stability. The next Saturn cycle, ending around age 58, will bring potential deepening and refinement. Most of the MenoPassage years land up within the second cycle of Saturn and are reflecting the challenges of this maturation process. The wine of one’s being acquires depth and character.

At the Second Saturn return the year around age 58, we have a life accounting of sorts — a harvest and/or a sober recognition of what has passed and what is possible. Third Act begins. This coincides with a certain kind of graduation from the MenoPassage Journey, and reflects to some extent how deep the Journey has been.

Jupiter return – every 12 years. New cycles of growth. A Jupiter’s return adds a hue of meaning and being supported by the universe in a mysterious way. When you align with what you’re meant to be doing, magic happens. This may well recur several times in the course of MenoPassage.

Uranus oppositionsomewhere between the ages 40-44, often over the course of a year or more — involving radical breaks from the past, liberation, sudden loss. For many, this marks the time of entering the MenoPassage Journey, setting up the process of becoming remolded. For some, the sense of liberation is a gradual unfolding, for some it comes quite abruptly.

Chiron return, around age 50. — involving an activation of a sacred wound, up for healing, and also a break from the bonds that have held us back. THIS may very well be the greatest contributor  and challenge to the MenoPassage Journey.

These are very broad strokes…In reality, it can be more complex and confounding with multiple significant transits occurring at once that either accentuate or attenuate the themes at play, or both,  — for better or for worse.

Understanding these cycles can help one to take on all the challenges of MenoPassage with courage and an open heart, knowing that it represents a great calling upon one to emerge stronger and freer, more deeply connected to who one truly is. We will explore this in greater detail in section 2 of this article, please stay posted.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

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Do I need Estrogen?

MenoPassage – a holistic Journey through the menopausal years

 In the menopausal years, our hormones vastly diminish, no doubt about it. WhetherDo I need Estrogen? to opt for hormone replacement or not is perhaps one of the most hotly debated subjects concerning menopause, it is a multifaceted subject and there are many schools of thought, each supported by volumes of scientific literature and statistics. In the end, a woman must of course chose what feels right for her body, and we encourage her to develop the sensitivity to know what that might be. By being in tune with our body’s needs and tending to its holistic care, we make the choice easier for ourselves and place it in the framework of a larger perspective, that of the MenoPassage Journey, a gateway to new chapter full of creativity and vitality.

The very short answer to the question “Do I NEED estrogen?” is : MAYBE

One principle that has always worked in my practice is: respect the body’s own self regulatory physiology and intelligence. Listen to you your body and its cues and see what is really going on with you… then find a practitioner that is willing to work with support you in the most appropriate manner. The fact is that even if you do supplement with hormones, they will always be “extrinsic”, i.e. applied from the outside and not incorporated into the regulatory loop that has dictated our hormone levels until now. Their levels are now imposed upon the body, it no longer has a say as to what they should be according to its own intelligence. In health, the level of all hormones are regulated by the brain with the aid of feedback loops so that we can make adjustments from day to day, according to need and circumstances. When you ingest or apply a topical hormone, that is outside of the feedback loop.

The following discussion by Jim Paoletti, (BS Pharmacy, FAARFM, FIACP, Clinical Consultant with over 30 years’ experience creating and using bio-identical hormone and faculty member for the Fellowship of Functional Medicine) very much resonates with my own clinical experience. His approach facilitates a healthy and fruitful MenoPassage Journey.

First of all, let us address the need for estrogen in the PERIMENOPASUSAL years, while a woman is still menstruating…

“The truth is: A woman’s estrogen levels do not decline until the last 6 to 12 months of perimenopause. Furthermore, estradiol levels typically rise slightly when a woman first enters perimenopause, so the hot flashes experienced at this stage of life are not actually caused by a lack of estrogen.”

Many health practitioners were taught to measure FSH levels to confirm that estrogen levels were low. However, it has been shown that estrogen is not the major controller of FSH. Instead, FSH is controlled primarily by inhibin, a hormone produced in the corpus luteum i.e.the ovaries.

Once ovulation ceases, the corpus luteum will no longer produce inhibin, so FSH rises due to lack of inhibit and not lack of estrogen. Progesterone is also produced by the corpus luteum, so elevated FSH is reflective of decreased production of progesterone. A physiologic amount of progesterone is required to make estrogen work correctly.

In early peri-menopause, a woman’s hot flashes are most often caused by a lack of progesterone rather than lack of estrogen.

Although progesterone is key for obtaining optimal effects of estrogen, other hormones may cause or influence the symptoms that we often perceive as a lack of estrogen.

  • High cortisol levels can also cause weight gain, irritability, irregular cycles and hot flashes, even in the present of normal estrogen levels. Consistent low cortisol can also cause or aggravate hot flashes.
  • Low thyroid function can cause similar symptoms that appear as estrogen deficiency.
  • Insulin resistance can do the same.

In recent years, one of the biggest changes to approaching physiologic hormone balance is the way estrogen need is approached. Because so many other hormone levels affect estrogen and estrogen receptors, correcting other hormone issues have led to further and further reduction in the amount of estrogen commonly administered. In other words, if the other hormone or endocrine issues are addressed first, then the amount of estrogen required to treat her assumed “estrogen deficiency” symptoms becomes much less.

No symptom or set of symptoms guarantees estrogen needs.

Many symptoms can be explained by another possible hormone imbalance. Even vaginal dryness or atrophy, which almost always indicates a lack of estrogen, can exist when estrogen levels are normal. Vaginal tissues are also supported by testosterone and thyroid, and a significant deficiency in one or both of these hormones can be the source of the problem. Lack of progesterone can also result in ineffective estrogen. Properly assessing estrogen need and assessing response to estrogen therapy requires balancing the other endocrine hormones simultaneously or prior to estrogen administration.

At certain stages, even precise estrogen level measurement may not reliably indicate need. Estradiol levels begin to fluctuate during peri-menopause, with much wider vacillations towards the end of perimenopause. Therefore, it is wise to not rely on estradiol level measurements during this period. The best approach would be to correct deficiencies or issues with progesterone, cortisol, thyroid, insulin resistance and nutrition or lifestyle, then correlate remaining symptoms with levels, and address estrogen therapy as required.

Does she really need that much estrogen?

Even when women do need estrogen replacement therapy, they are often given too much. Excessive estrogen may help control the hot flashes for a month or two, but eventually the symptoms return.

Too much estrogen causes the same symptoms as too little estrogen, just with a slight time delay before the symptoms return.

At first, excessive estrogen increases the number of estrogen receptors, but after a period of time the body downregulates the number of receptors, so the estrogen cannot work properly regardless of how much is there.

The keys to optimal physiologic estrogen replacement therapy are:

  • Make sure she needs estrogen by correlating symptoms with measurement of levels.
  • Never assume a woman needs estrogen.
  • Always restore progesterone to a physiologic level before assessing how much—if any—estrogen is needed.
  • Test cortisol with a 4 x per day saliva test to help determine adrenal influence on “estrogen deficiency” symptoms. Address as necessary.
  • If symptoms of hypometabolism (hypothyroid) are present, test the TT4, fT4 direct, fT3 direct, TPO and TSH to properly assess. Address appropriately.
  • Check insulin resistance if symptoms indicate and address appropriately
  • ALWAYS start very low on estrogen dosing and make changes slowly.
  • Take steps to ensure safe estrogen metabolism by optimizing liver conjugation, bowel elimination, methylation and glutathione conjugation and by reducing lipid peroxidase activity.”

*From Jim Paoletti, A Practitioner’s Guide to Physiologic Bioidentical Hormone Balance, 2015.

Thus it is really about addressing the foundation of your health before moving forward to hormone replacement and not just treating the symptoms without understanding the underlying condition.

These endocrine imbalances mentioned above also very much reflect the wisdom of Chinese medicine and their view on the multiple self regulatory systems involved in menopause. Once properly identified, they can all be supported in their own specific manner to support overall wellbeing and a holistic approach to menopause.

Understanding these principles is an essential step in a healthy MenoPassage, a journey that can lead you to the next stage of your life in a balanced and well supported state that opens the doors to new vitality and creativity.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

Angela Ingendaay, MD







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The holistic journey of MenoPassage

MenoPassage – A holistic journey through the menopausal years

Emotional turmoil: the dance of hormones and Serotonin

 The menopausal years are often fraught with emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, irritability, a shorter fuse… and of course we tend to look outward for all the myriad reasons… If we take menopause on as a MenoPassage, a passage into a great new chapter in our lives, we get to look inside a little bit more for the causes of this emotional turmoil.

Most women are aware that menopause is a time of fluctuating hormones, and that may well be the cause of the emotional turmoil. But how does it actually work? Why do the change in hormones affect our moods and perceptions so profoundly? Well, we may want to look a little bit deeper at how the brain works and look at the dance of the hormones with Serotonin, the “happiness molecule”, a major neurotransmitter dictating our sense of wellbeing, our ability to focus and our willingness to explore the world.

Let’s have a closer look at Serotonin for a moment.  It fulfills an impressive number of critical roles throughout the body –it promotes feelings of well-being,  and arms us against adversity, providing us with resilience.  But not only does it affect the emotions, it also regulates appetite, temperature, energy balance, platelet coagulation, bone remodeling, sleep cycles, the inflammatory response and  our  libido, just to name a few [2]. To make all these processes happen, serotonin works in a dynamic equilibrium relying on communication from other molecules – most notably enter the hormonal players: estradiol and testosterone, as well as the stress hormone cortisol, as well as many others including Vitamin D. Indeed, hormones play a very important role in modulating serotonin signaling.

When we look at Serotonin levels, we need to also look at

  • how it is made and what boosts its production,
  • how it is broken down and what boosts the breakdown

We will see that it is made from the precursor Tryptopahn, via 5HTP… both substances you can ingest as a supplement… and  this pathway is vastly enhanced by estradiol…

Estradiol enhances the production of serotonin and suppresses the enzyme that breaks it down,  MAO A,  thus extending the longevity of the neurotransmitter. Thus Estrogen is a GREAT SUPPORT for SEROTONIN

This relationship between estradiol and serotonin becomes a lot more evident in perimenopause, when estradiol levels eventually plummet, leaving serotonin somewhat unsupported. This does make a case for potential hormone replacement as a remedy, as it represents one way to support continued high levels of Serotonin. However, now that we understand this, we may be able to look at a variety of other ways of accomplishing the same.

The serotonin system relies heavily on estradiol from the onset of puberty and beyond. This mechanism may also surface in the postpartum period because again estrogen levels suddenly plummet.  In circumstances when estradiol levels decrease profoundly, the serotonin system can struggle to adjust. Loss of equilibrium in the serotonin system can then manifest as mood disorders.

 Let’s have a look at another player: Testosterone

Testosterone may actually lower Serotonin! Its influence on the brain is finally getting much needed research attention.

Some evidence suggests that testosterone may do exactly the opposite, in essence diminishing the longevity of Serotonin.

But this is where the old-fashioned dualism of the line dividing androgens (testosterone) and estrogens becomes blurry and not well-defined.  Many of testosterone’s effects on the brain are paradoxically estrogenic in nature. This is because testosterone also gives rise to estrogen, which in turn supports Serotonin, as we have seen above. Thus it steps on the brakes and the accelerator at the same time, the net effect is more blurred.

 Now enters another key player: CORTISOL, the “stress hormone”

And here we find an unexpected kinship between Cortisol and Serotonin

Stress is one of the primary risk factors for developing mood pathologies. When threats are chronic, unrelenting and intense in nature, vulnerable individuals respond by overactivating the production of cortisol, creating a stress cascade that can become a wrecking crew. High Cortisol levels may well engender diminished serotonin levels, because cortisol is yet another substance that promotes the breakdown of Serotonin.

Yet the plot thickens even more when Serotonin emerges not merely as an innocent passive bystander: it can itself promote the production and outpour of Cortisol, thus contributing to its own demise!  This in turn can cause insomnia, depression, anxiety and panic disorders.

 Ah, and there is one more player: Vitamin D

With respect to serotonin, adequate vitamin D levels are essential for appropriate serotonin biosynthesis. This is probably the one player in the whole drama that is easiest to influence to optimize Serotonin levels.

Now that we understand the territory, we can look at a variety of ways of supporting the serotonin system throughout the menopausal years:

  • Support Serotonin production by increasing intake of 5-HTP and/or L Tryptophan. Unfortunately, eating more turkey and bananas, as is purported sometimes, does not seem to be effective, you may actually need to rach for the supplement bottle.
  • Support the Serotonin system by practicing mindfulness and meditation as well cultivating positive attitudes and response. Seek out pleasurable and fulfilling experiences.
  • Seek exposure to bright light (3000 lux), or even better, sunlight, this has been shown to definitely enhance Serotonin production.
  • Exercise, preferably vigorously, at least 3 times/week.
  • Consider phytoestrogen or bioidentical estrogen supplementation
  • Examine the contribution of Testosterone
  • Stress reduction is absolutely essential. It may be beneficial to get an adrenocortex hormone profile (24hrs urine test) to evaluate your Cortisol levels upon awakening and throughout the day. If they are high, this can be adjusted with life style modification as well as an herbal regimen, such as ashwagandha and other adaptogens.
  • Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can definitely support this system, as we will explain in a future blog, you may wish to consult with a knowledgeable practitioner.
  • Make sure your VitD level is optimal, in my clinical practice, I like levels close to 60 ng

We now have a better understanding of how our hormones interact with our neurotransmitters. By shedding light on this process, we can make adjustments that can alleviate the burden of menopause and allow us to journey through MenoPassage with greater strength and confidence.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

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MENOPASSAGE: a holistic approach

MENOPASSAGE: a holistic approach to the menopausal years

MENOPAUSE: we help you make it a great part of your life

Part 2:  what you can do…

For some women, menopause and the shift of hormones that happens around that time can be quite destabilizing, giving rise to a lot of emotional turmoil and need to reassess the direction in life. At the Helios Academy, we offer guidance and support to help make these years the Passage to great new potential – we call it MenoPassage

Referring to the tremendous inner creative act that can occur around menopause, Christiane Northrup MD writes:

“What you are changing into is the powerful, luscious, fertile, ageless goddess you were meant to be—an expression of the divine, feminine life force unencumbered by cultural expectations that keep you small, overly cautious, and afraid to upset anybody.”

MENOPASSAGE: a holistic approach

Unraveling this creative life force is a clearly a process. It may seem far away, as you may feel that the ground under your feet seems is getting shaky, your mood swings seem ever more intense and the rest you wish more than anything is harder and harder to find,  when the ship seems to have lost the its rudder, it may seem daunting to figure out what to do first. And yet all of this instability can be harnessed to unfold a new creative impulse.  Luckily, there is a well proven roadmap that can guide a woman through this maze of symptoms and emerge as a woman with great new strength.

This midlife madness is really no different than any other challenge in life. It is perfectly feasible to regain control of health and happiness by identifying and tending to all the areas of life that are calling for attention: menopause symptoms, nutrition, fitness, beauty and – perhaps most importantly – the emotions.

First, address the menopause symptoms. The most important lesson here is: we are all different, and no one recipe fits all. You will probably want to work with a healthcare practitioner that can guide you through your specific constellation of personal and family history, your accumulated stressors and how they have affected your body and how you can best release that burden to minimize symptoms. Of course, the discussion of hormone replacement, herbal support and various forms of complementary medicine such as acupuncture also come into play here.

Address everything, the most basic habits, eating, sleeping, exercising, breathing, relaxing, taking time to smell the roses… Leave no leaf unturned, it is time to take deeper care of yourself. Whether it is dieting and exercising or working with a practitioner that can help you sort out the deeper imbalances that make this such a challenging time, you have a great chance to discover your own uniqueness not defined by youth.

Secondly, it becomes essential to hone into your deep quiet place in a new way, allow yourself plenty of quiet time to address the big questions that inevitably arise: “Who am I? What is my purpose?” It’s a great time to embrace the Unknown. As Joseph Campbell says, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” This is precisely what makes MenoPassage such a fertile ground for transformative change.

As you do this, you may well unearth a load of past hurts and stressors that are now coming to the surface as the hormones are retreating and your brain chemistry is changing. This is where it becomes particularly beneficial to learn about simple tools you can use for yourself to release these burdensome emotions, as well as possibly getting some deeper counseling.

Most importantly, DON’T LOOK BACK, there is no need compare yourself to your younger self and other younger women. This bad habit of fantasizing about the youthful past while simultaneously worrying about the future will most certainly sabotage any efforts to live in the present.

You actually get to redefine yourself, what you think you ought to look like, act like, be to others, and take a leap forward into being something real for yourself. You get to redefine what beauty is to you, not what the media dictates. You get to make peace with the very personal history etched into your face, every wrinkle tells a story and the inner glow of your smile brings your face to life in a whole new way.

Most importantly, practice a positive attitude, it is the greatest secret weapon. You get to see the positive in daily challenges so that you can make adaptations. You may be able to start doing things you always dreamed of doing, as well as  celebrating a new you that can live from a place of deeper peace.

All this will definitely take you out of your comfort zone. You will most likely wish to have a support system to keep you on track, compassionate friends and new friends who are also going through menopause. Having a nurturing group of friends to call when you are having a tough day can be the most helpful thing to keep you on this side of sanity.

“You are in the process of discovering your ageless goddess self, and she has many ways to express her creativity and experience the pleasures in life, from feeling good in her body and rediscovering her sexuality to beginning a new relationship, project, or way of living.” ~ Christiane Northrup

At Helios Academy, we offer to guide you through this process step by step, offering you expertise

–         in supporting the challenging changes in your body with both Western and Oriental medical approaches

–         in helping you release the burden of stress and hurt to access greater love for yourself beyond all else

–         in accessing amazing resources that can help you feel great, look great and move forward into an even more creative You, for you to emerge into this new phase of life.

You don’t need to do this all by yourself. We will guide you and also invite you to join a group of peers undergoing the same journey.

We are holistically-minded doctors, counselors, and educators. We bring decades of experience to this area and love to guide women going through “the Change” to the core of their own well-being.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

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MenoPassage: a holistic journey through menopause

We help you make menopause a great time in your life

Part 1: Introduction

Menopause is definitely a time when many take a pause – whether it is accompanied by highly irritating symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings etc… or is a more silent passage, we cannot deny that as a woman we spend several years transitioning into a new phase. But while our bodies are showing signs of aging and requesting more care and attention, this phase also can allow us to be ever more expansive with a great assertion of who we really are.

I have coined the term MenoPassage to point to the great marvels inherent in this time of change, the great new potential that lies beyond the gate of ceasing menstruation and all the hormonal fluctuations that accompany that time. It is so clearly a natural transformation point in a woman’s life. And the gifts become more readily available when we embrace the passage. As Dr. Christiane Northrup says:

“How much easier it is when we can become conscious about the desire to give birth to something new and remember that there are many ways to do that without actually becoming a mother again. “

The gate into the next phase is often obscured by a whole array of problems that seem to arise out of nowhere, and yet are a compilation of the struggles of previous years. Stressors have accumulated as we have struggled through various challenges in our lives, creating and raising a family, building a career, dealing with losses, and they have all made an impact. Now that the supporting and nourishing hormones are retreating, the impact of these stressors suddenly becomes much more apparent. The need for sorting things out and dealing with them effectively becomes imminent.

This is precisely what makes MenoPassage such an opportunity. The discomfort of this period leads us to find new solutions. For many, it is the first time of not being able to take youth, beauty and stamina for granted. And yet, by dwelling with these feelings, addressing all the issues and then learning to release them, attending to the need for more self-care and proper support, we can take a major turn for the better. As Anthony Robins stated:

Transformation begins when you can no longer dwell in a place of pain.”

There is a well proven road map that can guide a woman through the maze of symptoms, it really just requires treating this midlife madness like any other challenge in life. It is perfectly feasible to regain control of health and happiness by identifying and tending to all the areas of life that are calling for attention: menopause symptoms, nutrition, fitness, beauty and – perhaps most importantly – the emotions.

At the Helios Academy, we guide you through the process, resting on both the Western and the Oriental model of this passage. We believe that with insight and understanding of what is actually happening, we have already won half the battle. 5 element Classical acupuncture sheds a very different light on the need for self care at this time of life and is highly beneficial in untangling the knots that lead to difficulties around menopause and then providing the proper support. This generally takes the from of acupuncture, and can be supplemented with herbs and other forms of support.

Within the Western medical model, we do recommend adequate blood testing without being overly concerned about “the right numbers”, looking at the test results in the perspective of the whole person. We do support bioidentical hormone replacement, and also feel that it is not the right or complete answer for every woman.

It is a time to take a pause, reassess and gently build upon the beauty and health that you do have, unfolding new potentials by attending to your needs with deeper care. Celebrating your uniqueness from this deeper place will catapult you through the gate of MenoPassage into a new phase of life, release you into greater care for yourself, your family and your community, accompanied by ever greater creativity.

At Helios Academy, we offer to guide you through this process step by step, offering you expertise:

–       in supporting the challenging changes in your body with both Western and Oriental medical approaches

–       and in helping you release the burden of stress and hurt

for you to emerge into a new phase of life, a new peace and creativity.

We are holistically-minded doctors, counselors, and educators. . Dr Angela Ingendaay has been practicing Western medicine and 5-Element Classical Acupuncture for more than 20 years and has guided many women through this challenging time of life. We bring decades of experience to this area and love to guide women going through “the Change” to the core of their own well-being.

by Angela Ingendaay, MD

Angela Ingendaay








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