What is Menopause?
Menopause is a transitional period in a woman’s body, following the absence of any menstrual period for at least 12 months. This time of change may last a few months to several years. This is a natural process where the female body tries to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain and weight gain may affect each woman to varying degrees.
What are the stages of Menopause?
Perimenopause is the time when hormone levels start to decrease and menstrual periods may become irregular and eventually stop. Some of the common symptoms during this stage include:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes & Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Irregular periods
- Loss of libido
These symptoms commonly persist through to the second phase known as Menopause. After one year without a menstrual period, a woman has officially entered into Menopause.
The third phase is referred to as post-menopause. In this phase, women acclimate to the hormonal changes and the symptoms typically subside, although some women still continue to experience the symptoms, often to a lesser degree.
How can Menopause empower women?
This period is also known as the “Wise Woman” stage, during which women may attain greater self-awareness, and often feel more confident, awakened and energized. Every woman experiences this change in life differently, and women now have more options to take control of their own health. As part of their self-care practice, many women aptly turn to holistic and natural solutions, including massage therapy and yoga to ease some common complaints. Some of the benefits of massage and yoga to provide support:
- Increases your ability to relax
- Reduces the perception of stress
- Improves sleep patterns
- Decreases headaches, joint pain and stiffness
- Increases blood and lymph flow
- Connects you with your body
- Improves your overall body image
Additionally, yoga can help:
- Strengthen bones and reduce bone loss
- Support pelvic health and inner balance
- Enhance emotional and spiritual well-being
What types of massage are most beneficial?
Depending on the symptoms a woman is experiencing and the phase of menopause she may be in, there are different types of massage and bodywork that may prove more beneficial.
- Full body relaxation massage can help to alleviate stress and increase overall relaxation.
- Deep tissue massage addresses aches and pains such as joint pain or headaches.
- Yoga can improve strength and flexibility, and encourage greater energy and vitality.
- Reflexology techniques have been shown to help increase blood circulation and reduce perceived stress and fatigue.
- Chinese medicinal massage and meridian massage have been shown to ease menopausal symptoms.
Massage therapists offer a calming, natural, and drug-free way to ease common symptoms of menopause. Yoga provides an additional outlet for spiritual and intuitive expression as a balancing factor during menopause.
No matter what phase a woman is in, massage therapy and yoga can be physiologically and even psychologically beneficial during menopause.
What can you do?
Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself especially during transitional times in your life such as menopause. Seek out a professional massage therapist who understands the difficulties associated with menopause. Find the type of massage that addresses the issues you are experiencing. Look to yoga as a helpful adjunct to restoring ease and balance. And, schedule regular massages to help you to nourish, heal, and regain a sense of balance and body-mind connection.