Have you felt the pull? The stirring of something deep inside you? Are you noticing your body, emotions and spirit shifting, changing, and evolving? Well... you might be starting the process of preparing for your Wisdom Years. Today we’re talking about how to prepare for the next great adventure of our lives, Menopause, and herbal remedies to soothe Hot Flashes associated with this great shift.
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So what’s the big deal about menopause? Does it have to be so dramatic? Of course the answer is not a simple yes or no. It is much more nuanced and complex than that. Today’s video starts this conversation, and there will be more blogs and videos to elaborate on each area.
Yes, menopause has to be intense because it is a powerful initiation into the Wisdom Years. It is supposed to transform us so we become fundamentally different than our previous selves. Powerful experiences that change us so profoundly are usually messy and come with a mix of spiritual awakening and enlightenment, blended with discomfort, sleeplessness, and fear.
Menopause is not an event, it’s a process that evolves gradually over years and sometimes a decade. Slowly, hormonal changes may lead to hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and menstrual irregularities.
Generally speaking, our culture views menopause as the horrible time when our body starts to fall apart and we experience all of these painful symptoms that we don’t know what to do with. So, we try to cover them up and make them just go away with hormones, drugs, and surgeries.
While it’s true, that medically speaking, post menopausal women are considered to have increased vulnerability to certain conditions because of the loss of the protective effects of estrogen on the heart, bones, and brain. Potentially leading to an increase risk of heart attack, osteoporosis, and dementia as the production of estrogen decreases with age. It’s so important that women bolster their health and strengthen their bodies to protect themselves from these diseases. It’s analogous to how we prepare our bodies for childbirth and nursing. And just like how pregnancy and birth are over dramatized and medicalized in our society, so is menopause.
Today is an overview of how to prepare for the journey of menopause. Knowing what to expect from the normal physiological menopause will help you understand and how to effectively cope with the changes as you gracefully move through this phase of your life.
Working with herbs and learning about herbs for women’s health is a form of personal empowerment and independence. Having a realistic expectation about the normal process of menopause is essential for understanding what is happening to you, and to have a more satisfying and healthy life experience. Botanicals support your ability to perform important bodily functions related optimal health during this vulnerable and powerful time of women’s lives.
Before we go any further let’s define menopause. Technically, menopause is the cessation of the monthly cycle. (Menses means month and pausis means to stop) Menopause is a major life transformation taking women out of the childbearing and fertile years and into their wisdom years. Evolving from physical fertility to a new type of creativity and productivity that comes from life experience and wisdom.
What are the signs of menopause? How do you prepare?
As soon as you ask yourself, “is this menopause?” The process of preparing for menopause has begun. You wouldn’t be asking yourself this question unless you’ve experienced some shift or change in your body or life. Maybe it’s a random hot flash, change in your mood, libido, your menstrual cycle, career, or relationships. If you asked yourself, “is this a sign of menopause?” Then the answer is yes. Now is the time to be proactive about your health and to trust the process while allowing it to develop gradually, taking years to unfold.
As a midwife, I see this preparation similarly as how we prepare for childbirth and lactation. Generally speaking, long before you ever actually have the baby you felt the pull, the desire, and the longing for a baby for a while. It can start with the realization that you could have a baby. Then, you start to make room in your life for a baby by improving your diet and habits. You find a partner, the right conditions line up and then the baby comes into your life.
Similarly, before actual menopause, you start to feel the pull or an interest in something you’ve never experienced before. At this time it’s important to connect with your body and observe your cycles, mood, and need for rest. Self care becomes non negotiable. Now more than ever, eating for healthy bones, gut, heart, and brain are the best ways to prevent the health risk associated with post menopausal women. Gradually implementing these life affirming practices into your life is an empowering way to stay healthy, independent, and active in your Wisdom Years.
Preparing for Menopause with Herbal and Natural Remedies
Let’s look at some life affirming practices that improve your ability to cope with all of it. It doesn't really matter what your particular issue is as long as it’s a normal part of the process will be improved if you do more of the following.
- Taking walks in nature and spending time out side a little every day is so good for your health and soul. Earthing, breathing fresh air, sunlight, moonlight, ions, are all therapeutic and have a way of helping your body harmonize it's self with it's internal cycles and with the greater cycles of nature.
- There are many different forms of mindfulness practices that can easily be worked into your daily life. Something as simple as connecting to your breath and your 5 senses can help clear your mind. Bringing clarity, improving your ability to manage stress, and improve every area of your life. There are seated silent practices, practices where you can lay down and be guided, and moving meditations.
- Qigong is a mindfulness practice that is a moving meditation. There are many different forms of qigong. It is intended to help cultivate qi, circulate qi and improve qi. Qi, pronounced chee, is our vital life force energy. Just as your blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your entire body it also carries Qi. Learn more about qi at www.pathwithharmony.com where you'll also have access to my class schedule, I teach 3 local classes a week.
Nourishing Herbal Teas and Infusions
- Nourishing Herbal Infusions are potent herbal drinks that have been made with nutrient dense herbs such as red raspberry leaf, nettle, oat straw, red clover, and alfalfa. These herbs are rich in vitamins such as A, C,D,E, and K as well as minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc. We've blended many of these nourishing herbs into our Woman's Balance Tea.
- Ashwagandha is a cooling, relaxing helping you sleep, hormone balancing, stress reveling, it boosts your immune system in other words it helps you navigate this modern world. You can find it blended in our Woman's Balance herbal tea.
- Chlorophyll is another deeply nourishing and vitalizing way to oxygenate your body, improve your iron levels, immune health, and increase energy levels. Any time you can improve the oxygen levels in your body, it just works better! Our Energizing Chlorophyll is also blended with peppermint, which is very cooling. Chlorophyll will be helpful for you if you are experiencing menstrual flooding, depletion, anemia, depression, or fatigue.
The Most Common Symptom of Peri Menopause
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
75% of menopausal women in the US experience Hot Flashes. Most women consider hot flashes to be the worst of the peri menopausal symptoms. While hot flashes are not at all dangerous, they can be incredibly uncomfortable. They can last anywhere from one to several minutes long. To the woman it feels like an eternity. Some women report having one or two hot flashes a day. While others report dozens daily.
Hot flashes are typically preceded by the feeling of one coming on, followed by the sensation of heat creeping over the face, neck, and upper chest which quickly progresses to a generalized feeling of being overheated. Some women may experience cold sweats, a feeling of insects crawling on their skin, or a feeling of pins and needles instead of, or in addition to, hot flashes. Women may also become light headed, dizzy or faint from hypotension that can occur during an episode. Night sweats are simply the results of hot flashes with their sweating and cooling phase occurring in a woman’s sleep and waking up drenched in sweat.
Lots of women are making an effort to positively reframe their experiences of hot flashes into something positive by calling them energy rushes or power surges. Once again this is really analogous to how we reframe the word contraction to waves, or rushes.
Reframing can be a helpful way to embrace the power and intensity of the changes they’re going through. It should come as no surprise that our cultural beliefs, diet, and life style all influence how women experience the symptoms of menopause, thus reframing ideas and finding the positive in menopause can be a helpful coping mechanism. Although some women find hot flashes to be down right uncomfortable, and they just want them to go away. They’re looking for concrete tools to help them find comfort in their situation.
So, let me give you a simple cooling herbal tea for hot flashes and night sweats that you can make for your self.
- Mix the herbs together. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsp herb mix. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 1-2 cups daily.
- Take 3 mL black cohosh tincture with the tea for more cooling results.
Today we just touched the surface and started the conversation about menopause. In our next blog, we’ll continue our journey through menopause and dive deeper into understanding menstrual irregularities and what you can do to bring more menstrual harmony into your life.
Until next time my beautiful friend, drink deep, and always walk in beauty.