Using alternative therapies for menopause relief can be extremely helpful in enabling you to relax and de-stress. If hormone replacement or other forms of medication are not for you, do not despair as there are other alternatives. At the end of the day it is whatever works best for you.
Massage is one of the oldest healing traditions. One of the immediate benefits of regular massage is a feeling of calm and deep relaxation – effects which last longer after the massage is over.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma is believed to stimulate brain function. Absorbed through the skin, they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing. Uses include pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function. You can achieve the benefits of natural essential oils by mixing and using the oils yourself or you can have a regular aromatherapy massage. Geranium is said to be particularly effective for menopausal symptoms.
Many women have found that yoga including restorative and supportive poses can alleviate the troublesome effects of menopause.
Meditation is a time efficient way of dealing with issues between the physical and mental stresses of the day and the deep sleep needed to be able to function during the waking hours. Try this:-
- Prepare a quiet, bland space and sit in a straight backed chair
- Place a hand on your stomach
- Concentrate on the sensation of your lungs filling with air as you take long slow breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Once you feel your stomach rise and fall under your hand you know that its working
One of the benefits is to clear your mind of all the worries of the world and this will come eventually, even it, at first your mind is flooded with them. It may help to concentrate on the sensation of your breathing or a singular item such as the sun, the moon, a flower, a palm tree, a sunset…
Mindfulness is basically a way of living your life. There are various techniques used by people to operate ‘mindfully’ in their everyday lives, but many choose to get their daily dose through meditation.
Helen Breward, International Hypnotherapist & Speaker and Pioneer of the nationally and internationally recognised Menopause Relief Programme. If this is something of interest to you, you may find Helen’s post heplful ‘Hypnosis – Mind Over Menopause’.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on modifying negative thought patterns and behaviours. This type of therapy encourages people to become aware of their negative thinking and respond to challenging situations in more effective ways. It’s free of any side-effects, suitable for everyone and is recommended by NICE (The National Institute for Health Care and Clinical Excellence) as an alternative menopause treatment.
A small study recently reported in the Journal Menopause concluded that CBT was particularly effective in improving hot flushes and night sweats, depression, sleep disorders and sexual concerns. Researchers stated ‘although future studies will be need to confirm the impact of CBT-Meno on anxiety symptoms, these results suggest that this protocol is effective in targeting commonly reported menopause symptoms.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body.
A small Danish study published in BMJ Open in 2019 suggests that acupuncture may be worth considering for ease of symptoms. The Danish study found that five weeks of acupuncture in women with menopausal symptoms reduced hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and emotional problems. However, researchers cautioned that they could not rule out that he results were as a result of the placebo effect.
Reflexology, also known as zone therapy is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different parts of the body.
There is no absolute evidence based material backing reflexology for menopause relief, however, some women swear by it, so it comes down to what works for you.
Rest and Relaxation
The most successful and not to mention the most cost effective alternatives have to be the art of rest and relaxation. If you can facilitate time out for yourself for rest and relaxation as often as possible, these two things alone can make the most significant difference to your perimenopausal transition.
Kamma Sundgaard Lund et al. Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study). Retrieved on 30 June 2019. Retrieved from https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/1/e023637
Nirmala Vaze & Sulabna Joshi 2010. Yoga and Menopausal Transition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122509/
Chatha R, Nagarathna R, Padmalatha V, Nagendra HR. Effect of Yoga on cognitive functions in climacteric syndrome: A randomized control study. BJOG. 2008;115:991–1000. [PubMed]
What is Reflexology? Retrieved from https://www.aor.org.uk/home/what-is-reflexology
Green, Sheryl M. PhD et al. Cognitive behavior therapy for menopausal symptoms (CBT-Meno) a randomized controlled trialMenopause: Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/publishahead/Cognitive_behavior_therapy_for_menopausal_symptoms.97375.aspx May 15, 2019 – Volume Publish Ahead of Print – Issue – p