About 70% of women undergoing menopause have at some point experienced problems with hot flashes and sweating. For one in 10 women, the problems last for more than five years. Naturally, this has prompted strong interest in alternative treatments to replace or complement traditional hormonal therapy.
A new study began in 2007, with 60 women who had moderate to severe menopausal symptoms at least 50 times a week. The study group had 10 sessions of group relaxation therapy. The therapy is based on a technique in which the patient learns to find the muscle groups in her body, and then allows the body to relax with the help of breathing techniques. Relaxation therapy is rapidly increasing in popularity for a number of different ailments.
Along with the relaxation therapy, the women were given exercises to practice daily at home. During the study, and for three months after, the women kept a diary of their hot flashes. They filled out surveys about quality of life, and were measured for the stress hormone “cortisol.”
It had some seriously good results. Relaxation dropped daily the occurrences of hot flashes from 9.1 times a day to an average of 4.4 per day. The test subjects also had improved memory, concentration, sleep, and anxiety. Levels of cortisol, though, stayed the same.
But for many people, relaxation is something that’s easier said than done. There are established and effective methods to achieve a higher level of relaxation, including yoga, visualization techniques, and progressive muscle relaxation (the method used in the study). To learn more about these techniques, ask your health-care professional.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Want to Beat Hot Flashes? Just Relax
“Effects of applied relaxation on vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial,” Menopause published online November 14, 2012.