Prioritizing Breast Health: Supporting imbalance in women from adolescence through menopause with Dr. Janine Mahon.

Prioritizing Breast Health: Supporting imbalance in women from adolescence through menopause with Dr. Janine Mahon.

Dr Janine Mahon’s practice is rooted in helping women. The national board-certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and licensed doctor of Chinese medicine earned her stripes by surrounding herself with generations of Chinese medical doctors in Taiwan. She now shares that innate wisdom in both her products and professional practice.

Dr. Janine’s eponymous range of products launched with the Rejuvenating Breast Oil in response to her own health needs. Today, it’s the centerpiece in her line of plant-based formulas designed to nurture a woman’s life force, or Qi, from adolescence through menopause. Her slew of unique products, which are based on the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine, includes an organic skincare range that promotes circulation and blood flow, helping to improve the lymphatic system and balance the body’s delicate energy.

Here, Dr. Janine shares how to best care for our breast health and support ourselves through the transitions of menopause, the why and inspiration behind her formulations, and addressing low libido with Chinese medicine.

What inspired you to study Chinese medicine and what was the impetus to launch your practice? 

I grew up in Mendocino, California, a sleepy little beach town a couple of hours north of San Francisco. A childhood illustrated by tall rocky cliffs, the wild ocean, ancient redwoods, and a back-to-the-earth philosophy. We were so far removed from mainstream pop culture that surfing, hiking and exploring the forest were always on the itinerary. Nature has always been my biggest influence. From this, I learned to trust plants and respect their power. As the daughter of the community pediatrician, I became familiar with western medicine and its shortcomings. I found myself broadening my worldview and growing interest in holistic medicine. This avenue led me to Chinese medicine, which deeply resonated with my understanding of nature and the body.

How does Chinese medicine differ from western medicine? What are its advantages?

I have a deep reverence for Chinese medicine. I attribute this adoration to my time in Mendocino, where I witnessed how life and nature are completely intertwined. Our world is one big circumbiant web, just like our bodies. There is a root cause of illness and there are also branches. In my experience, western medicine aims to address the branches. However, in my practice, I believe that when you take the time to heal the root, all of the branches follow suit.

Chinese medicine is part of a Chinese lifestyle philosophy based on Taoism and the balance of our natural world in the universe. I love the freedom in this approach to finding health. There are many paths one could take to start making changes. This makes Chinese medicine very approachable and easy to incorporate. For example, you could start with the temperature, flavor, or color of the food you eat or the time of day or type of exercise you do. Chinese medicine is a truly personalized experience.

What does a typical session look like with you?

In a session, whether in-person or virtual (lifestyle consult), we spend time talking so that I can get to know the path your life has taken you on. Where you were born, the climate, what food you crave or dislike, daily habits, how you sleep, your dreams, digestion, and emotions, etc. What begins to appear are patterns and parallels. This gives me a sketch from which we can begin to explore options. There is no judgment; it is just information that helps us to make gentle shifts and encourage your body and mind back into balance. We are all seeking balance, it is never done. Chinese medicine offers you an opportunity to feel great and age gracefully. During a physical session, you could also experience acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, moxa, or herbal therapy as needed.

You have successfully developed a line of products formulated to help restore physical, mental, and emotional harmony in women. What was your inspiration behind product development and which product is your favorite that you have developed so far?

Rejuvenating Breast Oil started out as a personal formula in response to my own experience with mastitis. I later had a patient with a breast implant that had calcified after an accident. She had been experiencing pain, unable to receive touch, or sleep on her right side for eight years when she came to me. The option she had been given by her surgeon was to remove and redo the implant. I gave her the formula and when she came back for her monthly treatment, she told me that after 15 days the pain had reduced by 50% and by the end of the month, it was 100% gone. She asked me for a dozen bottles for all of her close girlfriends. That was just the beginning. I launched Rejuvenating Breast Oil 6 months later, and my first carrier was Violet Grey.

All of my formulas have emerged out of my clinic. They are a response to the needs of my community. I am proud of my line of products because they have given me the ability to share options with people outside of my clinic who can experience the same transformational effects of the formulas that my patients do. It is really hard for me to say I have a favorite. I love Rejuvenating Breast Oil because it brings care and attention to an often overlooked part of the body. We are not taught daily self-care for breast health; we are offered mammograms. This formula helps support healing, blending ancient Chinese herbs that have been known to help with breast health and bring personal connection and empowerment. Menopause formula is also incredibly helpful no matter what stage or peri-menopause or menopause one is in. It can be used once a month when experiencing insomnia or heat after your period or daily. My Illuminating 3-in-1 Powder softly exfoliates the skin, calms heat, irritation, and acne with honeysuckle, and brings moisture with goat milk. I truly could mention all of my formulas as favorites. They all address areas of our lives to support stress, libido, stamina, and changing hormones.

How does taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally during the decade leading up to peri-menopause determine how we will experience the transition? 

Our sense of self-worth plays an impactful role in how we experience the natural shift through peri-menopause, menopause, and beyond. In communities that attribute status and power to women, fewer menopausal symptoms are experienced. Chinese medicine suggests that our overall health is determined by how balanced our emotional and physical bodies are. Prolonged imbalance, compounded by stress and poor diet, leads to stagnation. Stagnation slows down or stops functions in the body and is the main cause of menopausal symptoms. 

During the decade leading up to peri-menopause and menopause, keep your body moving. Expand your mind with new experiences, stretch, exercise, and keep your digestion moving. Free stuck energy through orgasms, and surround yourself with people who honor your individuality and support you in following your dreams. 

Your Rejuvenating Breast Oil has become a hero in your line of products. What are your tips for taking care of our breasts? 

  1. The more we can be tender with ourselves, the more we can unwind. Emotional turmoil is one of the key factors in impeding the flow of Liver Qi, the Meridian of which runs through the breasts. Stress, be it emotional or physical, can drain the body, leading to excess heat that develops into nodules in the breast. I truly believe in the power of acknowledging that our bodies are constantly doing the best they can. We can support our own bodies with healthy practices like the breast oil. 
  2. Our bodies repair and digest while we sleep. Drinking a warm glass of water with lemon first thing in the morning will help flush out toxins.
  3. Become familiar with your breasts. We have been directed to examine our breasts once a month, checking for any abnormalities. Having regular, loving contact with your breasts will develop a relationship with them.
  4. The herbs in Rejuvenating Breast Oil are revered in Chinese medicine for their ability to break up accumulations, quickly resolving injuries, swelling, and pain, promoting wound healing, and the generation of new cells. Consistent use can help support and prevent abnormal hardness and break up congestion in the lymphatic system. 
  5. Sour/pungent foods stimulate the circulation in the body, dissolve mucus and improve the liver’s detoxification abilities. Chinese medicine considers the free flow of Qi as one of the most important factors in good health. 
  6. Try adding the following to your diet: onions, garlic, mustard greens, asparagus, cabbage, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, artichokes, carrots, celery, turmeric, horseradish, pepper, cardamom, cumin, fennel, dill, and ginger.
  7. Move. Dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, stretching, swimming, or any other exercise that involves stretching and twisting helps to move our lymphatic system, which acts as a filter in the body.

How is the liver connected to the health of our breasts?

The liver meridian runs through the chest and is in charge of Qi circulation throughout the body. The flow of Qi also determines how blood, body fluids, and other nutrients are distributed.

When it comes to women's health, can you explain how balancing meridians help balance our hormones? 

Meridians are a network of channels that run through the body carrying Qi and other vital substances. When restoring the flow of meridians, you can influence how the body functions, shifting the hormonal balance.

How can Chinese medicine address low libido and sexual health as we age? 

Chinese medicine is a complete system. We look at all aspects of life for clues that indicate areas of imbalance. In regards to libido, there are two main meridians/organ systems that need to be in balance, the kidney (fear) and the heart (joy). Keeping the flow of Qi (energy) moving freely and abundantly through the physical and energetic body is the key to expansive living with a healthy libido. When we are in a healthy state, our libido is strong. When our bodies are out of balance, our libido can disappear. Feeling stressed is one of the quickest ways to deplete your immune system and libido.

How can your libido oil help with these issues? 

For centuries, Chinese herbal medicine has been known for its ability to address low libido and sexual health. Longevity and optimal sexual health have long been associated with strong kidney Qi. The Libido Vita formula is a topical oil that is applied to the neck (an acupressure hotspot!). One drop of the formula is all you need to help ease anxiety, warm the heart, and awaken your desire.

These are a few key herbs in Libido Vita: 

Dang Gui (angelica root) means “to return to your original state.” It allows the body and mind to feel supple and receptive.

Mo Li Hua (jasmine) is a nocturnal flower, giving off its strongest scent in the midnight air, the most Yin time of day. When we use this sweet medicinal herb, our bodies are nourished and uplifted in ways that clear agitation, release bound-up Qi, inspire us to forgive, and emotionally lift us out of depression and heal our self-image. It has been respected for centuries for its aphrodisiac qualities. 

Bai Yu Lan Ye (magnolia) has a long history of being cultivated in temple gardens in China. Its gift of transformation helps us to clear the fog that overcomes the mind and step forward. This herb eases pain, physically and emotionally, allowing us to feel the support we need to move through with clarity.

When it comes to aging well, what are your tips for supporting our skin from within? 

Aging skin can be affected by diet, emotions, environment, and lifestyle. Staying hydrated not only by drinking water as well as eating foods that are high in moisture content is key. Every function in the body relies on proper hydration. Without it, toxins build up and actively slow down organ function. This leads to premature aging. Choose water that is filtered and not stored in plastic if available. 

A balanced diet of healthy fats, leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and nuts will provide your skin with essential nutrients. Too much dairy, meat, alcohol, and sweets are known to cause dampness in the body leading to congestion, puffy skin, joint paint, and bloating. Key foods to favor for our skin as we age are seaweed, sesame seeds, walnuts, goji berries, pears, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, yam, ginger, and bone broth.

What are your personal wellness non-negotiables you practice in your everyday life? 

  1. When I first wake up and even before I open my eyes, I notice my emotions—focusing on the thoughts that make me feel optimistic and expansive. I want to start my day moving in an inspiring direction.
  2. Drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. 
  3. Walking in nature every day (even when I don’t have much time) brings me back to my center.

If you could choose 5 herbs to support everyday wellness and vitality, which would you choose? 

Astragalus (Huang Qi)

Ashwagandha (Shui Qie)

Frankincense (Ru Xiang)

Dandelion (Pu Gong Yin)

Pearl (Zhen Zhu Mu)

Reishi (Lingzhi)