Alternative treatments for menopause symptoms

Although many women find the alternative treatments below helpful for easing symptoms of menopause, more research is required to fully understand their mechanism of action and effectiveness. However, in my opinion when used properly, they can prove extremely helpful.

  • Acupuncture: This is an ancient Chinese medicine system, which is based on “life force” energy or “Qi”. A qualified acupuncturist aims to balance the body’s energy along pathways called meridians. This is aided by the insertion of very fine needles into the pathways. Acupuncture is thought to raise the levels of endorphins in the brain that may help with the function of the temperature-controlling centre and has been shown to reduce flushes.
  • Alexander technique: This technique is a method of adopting the ultimate posture to allow good breathing technique and help energy flow. This creates “postural harmony” which allows body and mind spiritual freedom. Although there is no evidence of the effect of the Alexander technique specifically on menopausal symptoms, the breathing technique of paced respiration has been shown to reduce flushes by 39%.
  • Aromatherapy: Essential oils are produced from different parts of aromatic plants. They are then concentrated and their properties become more potent. They can be used blended in carrier oils before coming in contact with skin. The smell or inhalation of them also has an effect. The oils can be used in the bath, or for massage.
    • Bergamot reduces depression
    • Chamomile like the tea can aid a feeling of calm
    • Clary sage is useful for
    • PMS Fennel helps alleviate water retention
    • Geranium has a regulation effect and can help with anxiety and feelings of restlessness
    • Jasmine helps with depression tension and anxiety
    • Juniper has a detoxifying effect
    • Lavender is useful in aiding sleep
    • Roesmary helps prevent fluid retention when used regularly for massage.

The whole feeling is most enjoyable when combined with a good massage technique. Although little is known about the effect of aromatherapy specifically on menopausal symptoms, any therapy which allows you valuable “timeout” – is an investment in yourself and, in my opinion, will help you cope with the menopause better.

  • Homeopathy: Homeopathy consists of the use of minute doses of a substance that has matching characteristics to the patient’s symptoms, to stimulate the body’s own healing processes and reduce or eliminate the symptoms and the disorder. Studies have shown a beneficial effect on menopausal symptoms. Some of the preparations commonly used are:
    • Aconiitum
    • Lycopodium
    • Natrum Muriaticum
    • Nux vomica
    • Pulsatilla
    • Sepia
    • Sulphur
    • Belladonna
    • Bryonia
    • and Argentum
  • Yoga: The discipline of yoga promotes stretching, deep breathing and relaxation which are helpful for all areas of health. Yoga can have a broad impact on your ability to cope with the menopausal changes and improve your general well-being as well as helping to control hot flushes. Try to find out what classes are available locally to you.

For nutritional and herbal supplements for the menopause see next month’s issue: Menopause: Supplements A to Z.

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