Over the last few years there has been increasing interest in and use, not only of Alternative therapies for menopausal symptoms, but also Alternative techniques. As with the Alternative therapies, although many women may find some of these techniques helpful, more research is required to fully understand their mechanism of action and effectiveness. However, when used properly with advice from qualified professionals, it is unlikely that any harm will be caused. Some of the techniques commonly used for menopausal symptoms are described.
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 raisethe levels of endorphins in the brain which may help with
the function of the temperature controlling centre. Many medical
doctors are trained in this, ask your own GP. Acupuncture has been shown
to reduce flushes, though more research is needed - see news
item. British Acupuncture Council, 63 Jeddo Road, London
W12 9HQ Tel: 0208 7350400 www.acupuncture.org.uk British
Medical Acupuncture Society, BMAS House, 3 Winnington Court, Northwich,
Cheshire CW8 1AQ Tel: 01606 786782 www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk
See the news section: Acupuncture may be helpful for hot flushes.
On 20th Feb 2019, the BMJ published a study on acupuncture: Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study).
See Dr Currie's response in the news item here.
ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE - This technique, developed by an Australian actor, 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 may reduce flushes.
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
- ROSEMARY helps prevent fluid retention when used regularly for massage.
There are many others and best used in the hands of an experienced therapist-check for qualifications and years of experience. 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 will help you cope with the menopause better.
AYURVEDA - This is the "Science of life" an Indian system of health care which deals with the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of health and illness. It views menopause not as a disease but as a transition period. The treatment can include massage, baths but also enemas and laxatives. Herbs are prescribed, and meditation and dietary advice would also be given. Only trained practitioners should be consulted.
HOMEOPATHY - Homeopathy consists of the use of minute doses of a medicine which has matching characteristics to the patient's symptoms, to stimulate healing processes and reduce or eliminate the symptoms and the disorder. Studies have shown a beneficial effect on menopausal symptoms. Try to get good quality advice from a trained HOMEOPATHIST - often there will be a GP in your practice or area that has been trained. Some of the preparations commonly used are: Aconiitum, Lycopodium, Natrum Muriaticum, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, Sepia, Sulphur, Belladonna, Bryonia, and Argentum. www.homeopathy-soh.org
HYPNOSIS - seek advice on where to find a qualified practitioner from the Medical and Dental Hypnosis Society (They keep a list of individuals in each area who are trained and seeing patients). British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis, 28 Dale Park Gardens, Cookridge, Leeds LS16 7PT Tel: 07000 560309 www.bsmdh.org
MAGNETIC THERAPY - Magnetic therapy has been used for many years for problems such as joint aches, stiffness and general aches and pains. Magnetic fields are thought to enhance the natural process of healing, perhaps by improvement in circulation, an effect on nerve signals or a change in cells involved in healing.
REFLEXOLOGY - This is a gentle therapy stimulating, massaging and putting pressure on the feet and sometimes the hands. A trained reflexologist uses their skill to pinpoint "reflex points" which correspond to different parts of the body or function.
YOGA - The discipline of yoga promotes stretching, deep breathing and relaxation which are helpful for all areas of health. It is likely that yoga may have a broad impact on coping with menopausal changes and improving well-being rather than specifically controlling hot flushes. There are a few different types of yoga, so do not give up if the first one does not suit you.
See also news item: Yoga-and-menopausal-symptoms.
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