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What is a holistic menopause? Why should you be taking this approach?


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When I first said that I was going to help women understand and resolve their menopause issues I asked a large group of women whether I should use the word Holistic or not? The answer was a resounding NO: that no one really knew what it meant; that was 8 years ago. Nowadays I’m so pleased to see that it’s appearing more and more in everyday talk about life and health and especially about your menopause transition. This week I received a call about my menopause services and at first, I was unclear whether the lady was asking for HRT help but she clarified it immediately with: Do you take a holistic approach? This what I need! I certainly do! I explained that I look at your health and life as all the answers are there as to the cause of your current symptoms. A holistic approach is looking at everything in your life -mind body and spirit; there is a fair bit of DIY involved I’ll admit! Today’s blog delves into what is a holistic menopause? Why should you be taking this approach?

 

 If your head is in a bad place this impacts on your health and if your health isn’t great, it’s difficult to feel great. The best way to help you is to look at where you are holistically, this means what’s going on in your life too. Don’t be scared though, this is a supportive foray into what makes you YOU and how to improve things now and for the future. Some people naturally gravitate towards a holistic approach with a curious nature and others are closed-off believing only western medical intervention is the correct way forwards – which are you?

 

What is a holistic Menopause? Why should you be taking this approach?

 

The definition of holistic is this:

 

adjective

  1. characterized by the belief that the parts of something are interconnected and can be explained only by reference to the whole.

 

This is a healthy way to look at not only you in yourself but also your life as everything has an impact on you. Medically though when you go to the doctors with a bad foot the doctor only looks at the foot and then refers you to the hospital who examine your foot further. You may then receive meds for your foot but what about if your foot pain is referred from your hip? (Which in a lot of cases it is!) In my daily shiatsu practise when someone comes in with a bad knee,, foot or shoulder, I work the back and balance the hips first. There’s not much chance of relieving shoulder and foot pain if you have a pelvic twist going on or one hip is higher than the other. We can translate this analogy to that of your hormones.

 

HRT has its place but it’s not the be all and end all. The sex hormones decline in menopause firstly progesterone (aka Perimenopause) and when your periods cease oestrogen. During these years though other hormones are affected too. Cortisol the stress response hormone increases and you can become resistant to insulin. You may have a loss of melatonin and serotonin. The point is there are many hormones fluctuating in your body as it transitions and just adding oestrogen in doesn’t help many women; it takes time to get the amount right and you have to be taking it at the right time of life. Then what if you're intolerant too or can't take due to your medical history? Progesterone seems to be added in as an afterthought oh you have a uterus you need this but what if there is a time during your transition when it’s only progesterone that you need? In actual fact, you’re can be so low in progesterone that your body has created a state of oestrogen dominance (a healthy level of oestrogen but as progesterone is low it’s now out of balance).


What about the stress hormone cortisol? When this increases it suppresses your progesterone further creating a greater loss of progesterone allowing you to come more easily stressed leading to higher levels of cortisol; this is a viscous circle and one that HRT won’t necessarily help you break.

 

This is the thing: playing with hormone levels is pretty bombastic in terms of the delicate balance that your bodys systems interact in. It’s far better to step back,, take a deep breath and assess all the aspects of your diet, sleep, exercise, stress levels and long-term health patterns.


This holistic approach builds a picture of what makes your body work and what causes it to go wrong. Women are all different and the imbalances play out in different symptoms but the fundamentals of the human body are the same; they need the same things to work and if you give that to your body it starts to work better. When your body is working well this impacts how you feel you start to feel happier. Happier thoughts trigger happier hormones and less of the stress ones, so instead of your progesterone being suppressed it can be bolstered. This will help balance out the oestrogen dominant state. Once your hormones are gently brought back into alignment symptoms literally dissolve away. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

 

Why will a holistic approach to menopause help you?


When you try to increase hormones when your body is stressed it’s not the easiest way to rebalance them; especially if you increase the wrong one! If though you step back and take a curious look at how you really feel at this point in your life and then ask the question: What can I do holistically to help myself feel better?


This opens up a who array of opportunities for you to dive into and that will help you. I know though that overwhelm and fatigue get in the way as well as having a full-time job plus family commitments; where do you find the time to even start?


If you start to say no to some things in your life, each time you do this you give yourself  back time – and this is invaluable. Time is what you need, space to breath, too think; to question. This is the very first step on your holistic menopause ladder!

 

Holistic is assessing and making small beneficial changes in all areas of your life. You may not think this is achievable but holistic steps can be tiny steps  creating new small habits and introducing beneficial changes. This can cover the areas of what you eat, increasing your sleep, rebuilding your energy and calming your mind as well as learning to say no to others; to give energy back to you . Starting to implement some self-care is not selfish it’s key to you thriving rather than just surviving.


If you push your health and wellbeing to the side and ignore it hoping it’ll just go away if you put up with it; it won’t. It may recalibrate your body to work in a way that means it can manage but this has long term detrimental effects on your health. The more you ignore your health the more the count stacks up and when it hits a critical level it will knock you down. It may not be this year or during your menopause but it will happen. You are not invincible health wise.


To be curious about your health is to have better health. To be open-minded about having a great menopause is to have a better menopause. The first holistic steps are to be curious, open-minded and positive. There are many options out there for you and once you think this way then you will start to see them!

 

 


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Tried and tested practical solutions to alleviate your symptoms naturally - click image for details

 

 

What’s involved in a holistic menopause?


Anything and everything – be open to it all! The bigger question is where to start? Firstly, note your symptoms; which one is the worst? If you don’t get great sleep then this is THE WORST symptom and this is your starting point. If you have good sleep but you’re fatigued then THIS IS the worst symptom. If you have hot flushes then you’ve more than likely got one of the previous two. Nobody has hot flushes and says: my sleep is great and my energy levels are fantastic. This is due to the very nature that hot flushes are caused by the previous two; with some other physiological changes added in.

 

Once you now your #1 symptom; break it down into parts. Are there certain times of day you’re more tired than others or what hours are you awake at night? These patterns then start to help you build a picture of what you need to resolve them. I’m going to give you a massive head start here: You need nutrients… firstly from food but then from plant-based supplements. If you feed your body the nutrition it so badly needs then your hormones will start rebalancing themselves. Hormones need vitamins and minerals; without them progesterone doesn’t get made.

 

You can start to eat better but you may need help with this. You may want to rebuild your sleep ; look for help with this. You may feel anxiety is your worst symptom so look around how to reduce this. Know that all of your symptoms are resolvable, they are your body telling you that something is wrong and it would like help please – listen to it!

 

Here are some key symptoms and the holistic options you can choose to help them:

 

Anxiety

This is both a physical and emotional symptom. Your body needs way more nutrition plus hypnotherapy can help with specific ones like driving, flying or addictions. Physical therapies like shiatsu can really help calm down your nervous system quickly and yoga can manage stress and anxiety too. Bach flower remedies and essential oils can have a huge positive effects as well.

 

Sleep

Do you have night sweats? If so, a liver detox will help cool you down. If you wake with hot flushes your body will love more vitamins and minerals. If you struggle getting to sleep then try apps to calm your mind down. There are herbals that can help at any stage of the night from lemon balm and chamomile to help you get to sleep to  iver support herbals to reduce night sweats and Ashwagandha to relieve the nervous system around 4am.

 

Fatigue 

If you wake tired after getting 8 hours you need more nutrients and to assess whether you’re doing too much HIIT exercise. If you’re okay in the morning but then have the 3pm slump you need to assess your lunc; probably too many carbs and not enough protein/greens to balance your blood sugars. Too many carbs/sugars at lunchtime can lead to 3pm sleepiness and caffeine can actually cause you to feel more tired.

 

Hot Flushes

You need more vitamin C! Wrap a scarf around your kidneys to keep them warmer (they love this - bit of Chinese medicine increase your nutrition and sort out your sleep and energy levels. Check you’re not over doing exercise. Journal your hot flushes against your exercise, sleep and diet – there will be a pattern. When you discover this pattern, you have the key to your holistic resolution!

 

Brain Fog

90% of your brain chemistry comes from your gut. More nutrients vitamins minerals healthy fats in your brain loves good fats. Lessen sugar this causes inflammation. Strengthen your gut with a good probiotic – try this one: MICROBZ – Get the detox one if you have night sweats!

 

Stress

The cause of just about every symptom is stress. Look to Yoga or Qi Gong or de-stressing therapies and apps that help you calm down. Say no to things, reframe how you feel about regular events in your life; journal your thoughts! Take really good rich supplements – Here’s my guide. If you have symptoms, you have stress and you need high levels of nutrition to combat it. Cortisol wants nutrition and if it can’t get enough it leeches it from other parts of your body and you feel this as symptoms.

 

Aching joints

You’ve got stress and cortisol is stealing the available nutrients leaving you with joint pains. Higher levels of nutrients will help; plus assess your types of exercise. Your joints maybe weak or tight or lacking in nutrition. Working out which it is your starting point but I’ll always say nutrition. However, a gentle physical therapy like shiatsu which is completely holistic will give you insight into what is the root cause of your aching joints.

 

Muscle tension/ cramp

Lack of Magnesium. This the number 1 deficient mineral in human beings in the world. Take Magnesium!This will also help youroncreas your sleep, and reduce your anxiety and your stress levels. Magnesium - your body wants more of it and whilst you’re at it a good multivitamin too!



 

What options are there in a Holistic Menopause?


So many…  in fact, everything! Why? Because the word holistic means looking at it from every perspective in mind, body and spirit. To summarise your main options:


  • ·       You’ll be looking at your current diet

  • ·       What nutrition you’re lacking and do you require supplements?

  • ·       You can check your blood/ hair samples for information

  • ·       Exercise are you doing the right sort?

  • ·       How can you improve your sleep your energy and your moods?

  • ·       Journal your thoughts feelings and your stress levels

  • ·       Look for patterns between your food and moods

  • ·       Your cycle and sleep how does it relate to your symptoms?

  • ·       Removal of toxins from what you eat to what you put on your skin and use in your home


You only need one tool to help you have a positive and healthy menopause – your own curiosity with an open mind.

 

To avoid overwhelm don’t do all this at once; keep the list handy to refer to and just choose one thing to start with – which appeals to you the most? If it’s journaling where you currently are that’s absolutely fine because it’s a empowering step.


 

When you’re curious and you ask questions (even if in your own head) the answers will start to appear around you because you’ve told your subconscious what you’re looking out for! 


 

 


Gloucestershire's Menopause Fayre Thursday 18 April


The Menopause Fayre Gloucestershire – Holistic Wellness Event


Join a host of Menopause specialists to uncover the many holistic options there are for you to have a positive menopause transition and learn how you can alleviate your symptoms once and for all. Here are some of our main exhibitors:

 

Cotswold Menopause I’ll be there showing you how to resolve your symptoms effectively with practical steps all based on the wisdom of Chinese medicine (though you won’t know it!). I’ll also have my book Understanding Your Menopause and Blossom – my essential oils cooling and calming cream for purchase. Enter the raffle for the chance to win a one-to-one consultation with me!


Allergy Line Linda Crawford treats Women’s Health, Food Sensitivities, Gut, Emotional and Stress Issues. She calls on her extensive range of modalities: Bio Resonance, Homeopathy, Nutritional Therapy, Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy.


Melistic  Mel is a Hormone Health Coach, and supports clients with hormone issues like PMS, PMDD, perimenopause, and Menopause. Hormone issues can affect your  relationships, career, and mental health. Making greater lifestyle choices that increase hormone balance to give them back that zest for life!  I also offer Bach Flowers, Holistic massage and mindfulness training. 

 

Joans Wellness Zone Joan is a physiotherapist with over 12 years specialism in women's health with a particular interest in pelvic floor rehabilitation. She helps women to reconnect with their bodies in order for them to continue to enjoy activity and exercise of their choice.


Cotswold Healing Therapies Jodie works with women at all stages menopause. ​T​his time of life can increase anxiety, heighten feelings of fear and effect ​y​our self-esteem. ​These feelings can build from previous experiences or thoughts, so I spend time with ​y​ou to truly understand ​y​our story and help ease these symptoms using hypnotherapy, Reiki and EFT tapping therapy. Hypnotherapy can even help with hot flushes! 


Rosieglo Yoga your friendly, down-to-earth Leckhampton yoga studio. Offering daily classes for all levels and specialise in a Menopause Yoga monthly meetup. Calm your mind and rejuvenate your body, we’ve got you covered. To make it easy for you to give it a try, your first class is FREE. Discover us just off Leckhampton Road, all ages and stages are welcome. 


Nourished Thriving Anna Brooker is an award-winning Health Coach, Life Coach, Nutritionist, and BWRT Therapist. Anna works exclusively with midlife women with expertise in nutrition, hormonal health, gut and heart health, and behavioural psychology. Anna offers guidance, support and accountability to help women become free of excess weight, bloating, self-sabotaging thoughts and negative behaviour patterns. 


Clean Living Lizzie from Clean Living  helps you create a healthy home by showing you how to rethink under your sink. Lurking in your home are harsh toxic chemicals in single use plastics that can affect your health, home and the planet. Imagine you are relaxing with the knowledge that your home is a safer place. Use  refillable, probiotic products that are  effective and don’t cost the earth; carry on working after you've finished!


Glenfall Massage Abi tailors your treatment to an individual's needs blending different massage techniques to calm and rebalance the physical body and the mind; and is passionate about relieving your stress. Massage options include Thai Yoga Stretch, Soft Tissue Therapy, Relaxation, Sports, Deep Tissue and Indian Head. Based at A40 Fitness, Andoversford.


Mentrix Karen and her sister Sarah founded Mentrix to make menopause misery a thing of the past. She's an experienced executive menopause coach supporting individuals to get the help they need to live better through menopause, and organisations to become menopause-friendly through delivery of information, awareness and support campaigns for employees, managers and leaders.


Microbz make beneficial microbes for the health of your gut, your home, your garden and your pets. Our probiotics are rich and diverse, harvested naturally from soil, and brewed in liquid form with traditional herbs and minerals that support the natural intelligence of your body. The world of microbes is an invisible force for good that exists inside us and all around us. Join forces with nature and lead a healthier life, inside and out.

 

Workplace Menopause Coach Louise is focused on helping women regain their confidence and self-belief, ensuring they can move forwards on their menopause journey. Take back control of your menopause … rediscover your energy and motivation at work.


Shiatsu Bodyworks using this wonderful holistic and gentle therapy Andrea helps reduce your aches, pains and menopause symptoms from your first visit. Shiatsu is a gentle acupressure therapy that rebalances you in mind, body and soul and you'll leave feeling revitalised and positive about your menopause transition.


For full Menopause Fayre details Read More



Andrea Marsh - Menopause Specialist Cheltenham Uk

Meet Andrea


Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and effectively. If you live locally you can book in for wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu for Menopause, otherwise Andrea does online indepth consultations where you'll leave with an actionable plan to follow. Andrea is also passionate about doing workplace talks. 


Andrea is organising Gloucestershire's first Menopause Fayre on April 18th at Brickhampton Court, Churchdown. 5 minutes from J11 of the M5.


KNOWLEDGE . PAUSE . FLOURISH

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Beware Menopause-branded supplements

There is very little scientific backing on most of the supplements that are currently flooding the market at present - you are being sold to; you are being promised that this one pill will solve everything. I look at the ingredients and percentages of all supplements that I'm notified about or come across. Do not believe any menopause expert endorsement; I don't know who these women are.

 

The menopause experts that I trust don't endorse any of the products I've looked at. Some supplements will help with some symptoms; it's better if the supplement is targeted to a small set of symptoms that are linked; it's more likely to be effective.  They can be a good starting place but over time will become less effective; don't be disheartened it's likely that they don't have enough dosage in for what you now need. I have a Starter Supplement Guide that  explains what you need and why you need it i effective levels to help relieve your symptoms naturally.

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