Is it true that meditation can help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause?
Before going any further, for anyone who believes that meditation is simply a way to calm down and relax, this article is in no way meant to justify anyone telling a woman struggling with the symptoms experienced during menopause to “just relax”. That would imply a serious lack of understanding about both menopause and meditation.
Mood swings. Irritability. Depression. For a woman in her early 40s, these are harbingers of the dreaded “change”. Not that long ago, in the infrequent times it was actually talked about, menopause would be discussed in the same hushed tones reserved for terminal illness and the recent dearly departed. Fortunately, those days are gone, and women are bringing everything about this transitional period out into the open, so that it can be understood and managed rather than allowing it to be viewed as something shameful, needing to be hidden.
Today, women are preparing themselves for the time when their ovaries stop producing the hormones, estrogen and progesterone, menstruation slows and stops and there is no longer the ability to become pregnant. The symptoms and level of severity associated with this transition can be mild to extremely difficult, but, at the same time, many women experience a welcome sense of freedom and anticipation about the coming new chapter in life.
Knowing what to expect and being aware of the treatment options available can make a huge difference in the way this stage of life is experienced. In addition to the emotional roller coaster effects of menopause, some of the more common physical symptoms include…
- Heart palpitations and rapid, irregular heartbeats
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Abdominal weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Food cravings, especially for sugar and carbohydrates
- Memory issues
- Joint pain
Treatment options include nutritional programs, exercise regimens, Bio-identical hormones and stress reduction. While each of these are important and the best option may well be a combination of all of them, stress reduction should not be viewed as less important than the others. We are constantly discovering the effect that stress plays in all areas of our lives. This is true physically as well as emotionally. Stress can be the trigger for many of the symptoms that come with menopause.
Meditation the Ultimate Stress Reducer
According to Emergency Medicine physician, Dr. Josh Trutt, “When we relax, our heart rate slows down. But when we meditate, the interval between each beat of our heart changes and becomes smoother. That interval between each beat is called Heart Rate Variability (or HRV), and smoothing it out is what lets Yogi masters live longer—in fact in 2010 the American Journal of Cardiology reported that maintaining a healthy HRV as we age actually predicts longevity!”
Meditation has been shown to actually reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in improved sleep and enhanced mood. It can also lower the risk of heart attack, reduce metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes, alleviate anxiety levels and decrease the incidence of mood swings and hot flashes. The more meditation is studied, the more we realize that we are just scratching the surface of its possibilities.
A study conducted at Johns Hopkins found that meditation was as effective in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain as antidepressants. While not a “magic bullet”, the researchers determined that meditation is an active form of brain training and a legitimate tool in managing numerous types of symptoms.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, multiple approaches are utilized to achieve the balance necessary to alleviate the distress and bodily degeneration caused by menopause. Methods utilized include a positive lifestyle change optimizing diet, nutritional supplementation, stress reduction and exercise along with Bioidentical Hormone restoration. Optimizing and balancing hormones with Bio-identical hormones not only helps ease menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms, but may also decrease the risk of osteoporosis, colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
To learn more about menopause and what can be done, take advantage of our Free Consultation by calling (424) 247-4962 or click here to use our convenient online form.