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!
About the Author
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 🙂 ).
- She uses cisgender terms throughout.
- I notice this because I’m trying to avoid this in an effort to be more inclusive and welcoming. For the purposes of her book, I do believe it makes sense as everything is focused on female hormones and medical experiences. I do hope that this doesn’t deter anyone who might struggle with this type of language, as I do think there are some valuable insights.
- Not a step-by-step, one size fits all guide to balancing hormones.
- If you’re looking for a step-by-step, “this is what you do to perfectly balance your hormones”, this isn’t the book. But it’s because you are unique, and any imbalances are unique to you and require a unique approach. She gives lots of suggestions that you can do yourself, today, as well as long term interventions that would require a professional practitioner. (So, really not a negative, but maybe not what you’re looking for).
- Bit repetitive if you try to read it in one of two sittings.
- This is only a slight negative because I read it straight through. Each chapter has take-away messages which had a fair amount of repetition. This was done, I assume, because it would be really convenient if you picked the book up just to read that one chapter. And honestly, repetition is probably beneficial to reinforce certain concepts. But, with a book that’s nearly 300 pages long, it becomes a bit draining if you’re trying to read it straight through.
Should you read it?
Yes! I have become more interested in alternative frameworks on how to approach menstrual health and this book was a lovely read into Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. If you have no background understanding of hormones, the first section might be quite dense. However, it does set up the groundwork for understanding the rest of the book. And gaining the knowledge from the first section is only going to strengthen your bodily autonomy, so take it slow and re-read as needed.
If you’re interested in Ayurveda and Balance your Hormones, I found this website to be full of fascinating articles. It’s one of the sources Dr. Welch suggests throughout her book. Moreover, there are a few articles dedicated to menstruation as well! Want more book reviews? Click here.
Welch, C. (2011). Balance your hormones, balance your life: achieving optimal health and wellness through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Science. Da Capo Press.
Written by Morgan Ludington, Photo by: Morgan Ludington
February 16th, 2021
Edited by: Lilypads