In my medical career thus far, I have come to love wearing many hats in practice;  acupuncturist, herbalist, nutritionist, counselor, shoulder to cry on, ear to listen and mirror.  This is a focus and responsibility that I have come to love and feel extremely grateful for.  Working with women and the health issues that affect us because we are women, have become one of my most passionate life paths.  Here is why I love practicing women’s medicine.

It has allowed me to get to know my own body very intimately...

Each time I am presented with a new patient, I am given a new opportunity to learn about female physiology.  It always feels so close to home as I have either experienced what the woman is going through, or know that I may experience it some day, simply because I am a woman too.  It’s a very different experience to treat a woman with menstrual pain or PMS than a person with diabetes or heart disease, as I have been where she is.  There is a level of understanding between patient and practitioner, when the experience is shared.  And through my patients’ healing, I learn more deeply about my own.

Women’s bodies are an open book…

As women, we should always be grateful for the physiological intricacies that make us female.  We can discover so much about ourselves in those functional systems that make us physically, hormonally, emotionally and energetically women.  As a practitioner, it is a gift to have the femal cycle as a diagnostic tool.  A woman can discover so much about herself through her cyclical fluctuations and menstruation.  If subtle (or not-so-subtle) pathology appears within the reproductive physiology, it is a very obvious sign of something being off in the rest of the body.  Take PMS for example.  The type of symptoms a woman experiences can tell of a nutritional deficiency, an inadequacy in hormonal communication or a stagnation in other organ systems.  Typically, the symptoms are not severe enough to warrant medical intervention such as pharmaceutical medications or surgery.  If modalities such as acupuncture or herbal medicine can be applied at a time when the pathology is in its early stages, prevention of more extreme illness in the future can be achieved.  I am so grateful for the notion that a woman can prevent things such as uterine fibroids, reproductive cancers and other pathological conditions throughout the body, by treating feminine pathology in the early stages, when it is merely an annoyance, rather than a full blown issue.

Alternative Medicine Celebrates Being a Woman…

I was born and raised in Canada and therefore grew up in a culture that sees being a woman as painful, inconvenient, embarrassing and an annoyance (at least where physiology is concerned).  I remember the first time I read a book called Reflections of the Moon on Water by Xiaolan Zhao (a TCM doctor who practices in Toronto).  It’s the Chinese perspective on everything that makes us a women, from menstruation to pregnancy, to sexuality, to menopause.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these things are revered, embraced and celebrated.  As a result, medical treatment is approached very differently.  The little symptoms matter because it is the TCM opinion that your period should not be painful.  Pregnancy and the time close to the birth and after should be about nourishment, care, community and rest — not about how much you weigh, how fast you can regain your six pack or how quickly you return to work.  Menopause should be celebrated, as the entrance to a new stage in life.  It doesn’t have to be an emotionally and physiologically tumultuous time.  Not only do they hold these beliefs, they offer tools for women to achieve them practically.

I wake up every morning feeling so thankful that I have been able to deeply embrace and fall in love with my own body and what makes me a woman.  Beyond that, words cannot express how grateful I feel for the opportunity to help other women make the same journey.

 

Michelle Kapler
Michelle Kapler
When I’m not working, you can find me knitting socks, writing for my blog, eating oysters that my husband has lovingly shucked, creating and co-creating meals for loved ones or hanging out with my Herbal Medicine Textbooks and and a very specifically pulled espresso.
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