Menopause in the Workplaceby Pat Duckworth
Complementary and alternative therapies
For women who do not want to take prescribed medicines, there is a range of complementary and alternative therapies that can help to relieve menopausal symptoms.
Food supplements can be useful in supporting health though the menopause, even for women who are already eating a healthy, balanced diet. Multivitamins, combined with minerals and specifically designed for menopausal symptoms, are available in chemists, health food stores and online.
Omega 3 fatty acids are sold separately and are important for their anti-inflammatory action, helping with mood swings and in reducing hot flushes.
Herbal remedies can be helpful in alleviating menopausal symptoms. Remedies can be purchased in chemists and food stores, but for best effects it is advisable to consult a qualified herbalist. It is also safer, as herbal remedies (bear in mind that a high proportion of pharmaceutical drugs are originally derived from plants) can be powerful and may have side effects or contraindications.
Women taking herbal remedies should check the recommended period for taking them, as many are only suitable for short-term use.
Women who are taking other medication or who seek medical treatment should tell their doctor if they are taking herbal remedies.
Homeopathic remedies can be helpful in easing menopause symptoms. A range of homeopathic products can be purchased in chemists and food stores but, as with herbal remedies, for best effects, it is advisable to consult a qualified homeopath. The appropriate remedy will depend on the constitution of the patient and how they are experiencing the symptoms.
Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in helping women who experience hot flushes, particularly when hypnosis includes visualisation of cool images. Women can be taught self-hypnosis so that they can take control of their symptoms. Hypnosis recordings are also very effective.
There are also a number of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) techniques that can target particular menopausal symptoms, including poor sleep, weight gain and low mood.
Qualified hypnotherapists can be found via the Complementary & Natural Health Council website.
Reflexology is based on the principle that there are areas in the feet and hands that mirror each organ and structure in the body and are connected to those organs by energy channels. Gentle but firm pressure is applied with thumbs and fingers on those areas. The therapist can induce a state of deep relaxation and trigger the body’s self-healing ability.
By identifying imbalances and treating areas which need attention, regular reflexology can provide physical, mental and emotional support to a woman going through menopause.
Qualified reflexologists can be found via the Complementary & Natural Health Council website.
Women experiencing menopausal symptoms may also try
- Reiki – a Japanese healing treatment for balancing the energy system of the body; the practitioner places his/her hands in various patterns on the body, using a light therapeutic touch
- Acupuncture – used to remove blockages or problems with the flow of energy around the body; various approaches are used to stimulate points around the body, including the use of fine metal needles to penetrate the skin
- Shiatsu – a massage therapy in which pressure is applied to particular points of the body
- Aromatherapy – the use of essential oils to provide a range of therapeutic healing benefits.