Menopause brings about physiological, psychological, and social changes that can weigh heavily on a woman’s health—mind, body, and soul. Studies show that the vast majority of women going through this experience some kind of clinical symptom and in 40% of those cases, their symptoms are intense enough for the patient to seek medical assistance. These symptoms, all too familiar to many, include vasomotor instability— hot flashes and night sweating—which may lead to insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, depression: all significantly detrimental to health and well-being. For postmenopausal women, insomnia continues to be highly prevalent, affecting between 28% and 63% of these women.
Be Good to Yourself
Throughout menopause, it’s important for women to be good to themselves. In their book Your Menopause, Your Menotype, naturopaths Angela and Mark Stengler advise, “Remember, major hormonal and metabolic shifts occur during menopause. Your body needs adequate rest. The more you can relax, the easier the transition will be for you. Your stress glands (adrenals) need to be working optimally to make up for the shutting down of your ovaries.”
In the search for complementary therapies, it may be wise to think beyond traditional, mainstream treatments for your stress and menopause symptoms. Massage therapy is among these.
Massage Brings Relief
Jennifer Tornstrom, owner of Heaven’s Hands massage clinic in La Crescent, Minn., says “A lot of the symptoms of menopause are anxiety, fatigue, sore backs, sore necks, sore shoulders,” Tornstrom says. “They’ll turn to massage because it’s a natural, healthy solution for the challenges they have and the discomforts that accompany menopause.”
The benefits of massage for the activation of blood flow, the lymphatic system, as well as conjunctive tissue and muscles are well known. Acting on the somatic, autonomic, and central nervous system, massage promotes improved visceral functioning and re-establishes homeostasis. It relieves headaches, releases tension, increases range of motion, eases postural restrictions, and helps women reconnect with their bodies, which in the throes of menopause may seem like strangers.
Your Own Massage Chair
Ironically, the time when she most needs to be nurtured, comforted and reminded of her beauty and inner spirit, is often when a woman is most resistant. After weeks, months of hot flashes, fatigue, and irritability, the last thing a woman in the throes of menopause may want is to be touched. Yet, this is exactly when a woman needs to experience touch, especially massage and bodywork. A premium massage chair is a great way to experience the therapeutic effects of massage in the comfort and privacy of one’s own home.
A soft and gentle chair would be recommended over an aggressive and deep tissue chair or a 3D or 4D chair that can be toned up or down.
More gentle chairs include the OHCO M.8LE and D.Core Stratus or the Positive Posture Brio+.
Stengler, A and Stengler, M. Your Menopause, Your Menotype. New York, NY: Avery; 2002:51–52.
Oliveira, Denise, et al. “Effect of Massage in Postmenopausal Women with Insomnia – A Pilot Study.” Clinics, Hospital Das Clínicas Da Faculdade De Medicina Da Universidade De São Paulo, Feb. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3059875/.
Osborn, Karrie. “Easing the Menopausal Journey.” MassageTherapy.com, 9 Sept. 2016, opens in a new windowwww.massagetherapy.com/articles/easing-menopausal-journey.
“Treating Stress and Symptoms of Menopause with Massage Therapy.” Red Hot Mamas, 2 June 2010, redhotmamas.org/treating-stress-and-symptoms-of-menopause-with-massage-therapy/.