As I got closer to the end of my 40's, I wanted to find out if the therapies I work with were of any value to women going through the menopause (sometimes referred to as the pre-menopause or peri-menopause) or after menopause when periods had stopped completely for more than 2 years.
I undertook a small study in 2015, working with 7 women aged 40-50+ and in different stages of "the change". With their permission, I considered their lifestyle, their stress levels, and general approach to diet. I then worked with reflexology, healing and flower essences to see how their sleep, mood and sense of wellbeing was affected.
It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from and this is what I found:
If you're currently experiencing signs of the menopause please ensure you speak to your GP and get a professional diagnosis The treatments I work with are not a replacement for proper medical care.
As part of my small study I read a lot of information on menopause via different resources. Many of these talked about stress being a contributor to menopause symptoms; and, by stress, I concluded this meant different factors:
Unhealthy eating, with possible food sensitivities or imbalanced gut health
Most middle aged women I know tend to be rushed all the time. Some are Mums of young children or teenagers (or both) and many are working close to full time. Often, they eat on the hoof between one job and the next sometimes relying on snacks, caffeine and sugar to see themselves through their busy day. And, some like a glass of wine with tea to help them finally relax and unwind before heading off to bed. If I am honest, I don't know many women my age who have much time to spend on themselves.
However, based on the many different articles I have read, and the results of my small personal study, I believe that if women can make some valuable changes to their stress levels, they can start to see some improvements in how the menopause might be affecting their mood, sense of calm and quality of their sleep.
For a more detailed explanation of stress, and how it impacts the body, please take a look at the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression
All of the clients found the treatments very relaxing
Some noticed they felt less stressed after treatments
Some felt their general mood improved
Most saw their sleep patterns improve
Some saw their symptoms increase when they felt stressed again
Reflexology encourages deep relaxation which starts to negate any stress responses in the body. These responses can be the root cause of so many problems such as disrupted sleep, low mood, muscle tension, or just feeling tired all the time. So, by relaxing more, these stress responses switch off, or at least calm down.
Healing and Meditation are also deeply relaxing and can really calm a busy mind. Sometimes I add these to the end of a reflexology treatment to encourage a more positive mindset. Or, if more appropriate, I will offer a stand alone healing treatment if the client prefers.
Flower or Gem Essences are a gentle way of helping balance the emotions. When busy thoughts are forever in the back of the mind, it can create a sense of feeling overwhelmed, low in mood and mental exhaustion. This is where I find flower essences helpful I have used them on myself, my family and my friends for a number of years.
Sue Hamblin fmar
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Foot, Facial & Hand Reflexologist
Karuna Reiki® Healing Practitioner
Flower Essences & Guided Meditation