If hormone replacement therapy isn’t your thing, and flushes, fatigue, mood swings and forgetfulness are coming on fast, a natural therapist may help…
Menopause is defined as your last period and, for most women, it happens at an average age of 51. However, from the early to mid-forties, changing and fluctuating hormone production causes subtle physical changes. These changes may go unrecognised, and not everyone has a problem but, for other women, symptoms gradually worsen until help is finally sought.
Some form of symptoms affect about 70 to 80% of us. On the whole, they’re due to the fall in oestrogen, but exercise, diet, lifestyle, medications and even attitudes can influence the incidence, severity and impact of symptoms. On average, early symptoms of oestrogen deficiency may last around two years, but some women have none at all, while others continue having symptoms for 20 years or more!
w&h tip:A daily intake of calcium-enriched, non-GMO soya foods – such as soya milk and tofu – are said to help with hot flushes, as they contain phytoestrogens that have a hormone-balancing effect.
Is it for you? Yes, if you love a little firm massage on your feet. This is an ancient art of healing that works pressure points on the feet, hands and ears; these points are linked to organs, glands, or structures of the body, and can help to soothe the host of symptoms we face. “Reflexologists work to balance the changing hormones, and help give your body emotional support,” says expert Rosanna Bickerton. “Hot sweats can be soothed using ear-point reflexology, which is powerful. When you feel one coming on, simply press the point on your ear and it goes away… wonderful!”
How does it feel? Some people find reflexology quite relaxing, but you may feel tenderness when the practitioner hits a spot that matches an area of the body that’s out of ‘balance’.
How often? Once a week for eight weeks initially, then every two to three weeks. For practitioners nationwide, visit sareflexology.org.za, and click on the ‘Reflexologists’ tab.
The Yoga Teacher
So which one? Kundalini. “I teach this form of yoga to so many women,” says guru Siri Datta. “The main principle is about restoring and balancing the glandular system. It’s nothing to do with muscular strength, more about working the muscles that surround the internal organs. It’s not as difficult as most, where getting the pose right is everything. In fact, you practise it with eyes closed most of the time, so you’re not comparing yourself with others.”
Is it for you? Yes, if you dislike the competitive stress of some yoga classes. “It’s challenging, as you need to hold poses for a pretty long period,” admits Siri, “but beginners find they can do it.” As a bonus, you can work on it at home. Some instructors may create a programme for you, tailored to ease symptoms like flushes.
How long? “About six months to get into it properly, but you’ll have increased vitality after just one kundalini class. Keep in mind, though, this isn’t a yoga that slims, it gives you hormone harmony.” To find a class near you, see kundaliniyoga.co.za.
Why go? Naturopathic measures are good at resolving signature symptoms. In a nutshell, a naturopath uses natural methods to support the body while it heals. “The mix of herbal tinctures, and vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as flower therapies, really do help you manage your menopause naturally,” says naturopathic practitioner Sarah Bowles-Flannery.
Additional words, Laurelle Williams