Menopause can be a physical, psychological and emotionally challenging time for many women. They will spend half of their adult lives in menopause, according to statistics which shows the average life expectancy of women at 79.5 years nowadays.
By 2050 women will probably live to be at least 95 years old. A new generation of health-conscious women today is looking forward to a new phase of life with physical, spiritual and personal growth.
Most women think of menopause as the point when they cease to menstruate. They do not link irritability, anxiety, memory lapses, or mood swings to hormonal imbalance caused by this process of biological change. About 75% of all women experience some temporary symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, increase in level of cholesterol, decreased libido which may last for years; long term ones may include vaginal dryness and urinary problems.
Fortunately, these unpleasant complaints or symptoms can be prevented, reduced and relieved by making some changes to daily lifestyles with the right diet, nutrition supplements, regular exercise and adopting some complementary therapies such as yoga, tai chi, spa therapy or holistic aromatherapy, which all help to achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle with natural medicine. They also offer a safer alternative compared to Hormone Replacement Therapy. It also helps to reduce the risk of future age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Aromatherapy, which has been well used for over 2000 years, is the practice of using distilled essences obtained from the leaf, stem, flower, fruit peel, bark or root of a tree. As the aromatic molecules from essential oils disperse in the air they:
- carry pleasant fragrances to your nose
- come in contact with the olfactory receptor cells in the nasal cavit-transmit the information to the olfactory bulb which is a structure just above the nose.
- cause a response in the limbic system of the brain which works in conjunction with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus region to regulate the hormonal activities
- trigger the production of hormones that govern appetite, body temperature, insulin production, overall metabolism, stress levels, sex drive and conscious thought and reactions
Essential oils can have a positive affect on all these functions through the sense of smell which happens to be the most complex and sensitive of all the five senses. The sense of smell is over 10,000 times more sensitive than your sense of taste and researchers have shown how aroma causes a brain reaction by activating the hypothalamus gland, the pituitary gland and the body’s hormones as well as stimulating the emotion and memory.
Aromatherapy is particularly effective for stress, anxiety and psychosomatic induced problems, muscular and rheumatic pains, digestive disorders and women’s problems such as PMS, menopausal problems and postnatal depression. It is a natural and non-invasive therapy designed to help a person enhance the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain oneself.
Essential oils are very concentrated and their properties potent as they contain molecules small enough to enter your skin; except for oils of lavender and tea tree, the oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil, usually a vegetable oil such as sweet almond or jojoba, to avoid irritation before applying on the skin. The oils can be used in a vaporizer, sprays, bath, hot or cold compress, perfume or for topical body application or massage.
Some recommended essential oils for menopausal women:
- Bergamot uplifts mood and reduces anxiety and depression.
- Clary Sage eases hot flashes and night sweats and PMS.
- Chamomile has calming effect, ease tension, anxiety and headaches.
- Frankincense helps psychosomatic problems and anxiety.
- Geranium is a hormone balancer and reduces stress.
- Jasmine is euphoric and eases tension and anxiety.
- Juniper regulates period and relieves water retention.
- Lavender is sedative and aids sleep.
- Rose is a womb tonic and provides relief from pre menopause to post menopause.
- Sandalwood promotes vaginal secretions and stimulates the development of sex hormones.
- Ylang ylang is aphrodisiac and relaxes the nervous system.