Holistic approach to Menopause

Menopause is not an illness but a natural process that all women will go through and yet it is a time often feared by women. There is compelling evidence that lifestyle has a huge impact on menopause symptoms. Therefore, by making changes to our wellbeing it could be viewed more as being part of positive healthy ageing.

Perimenopause and Menopause

The menopause marks the point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. Perimenopause is when you have symptoms before your periods have stopped. All women have different experiences, and the symptoms they report are often quite extensive. With all of the changes occurring in the body during this time, and the fluctuation of hormone levels, it may cause varying degrees of discomfort in some women.

Menopause can cause symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, and sleep problems. This transition usually beginning between ages 45 and 55.

There are many ways to help with the symptoms – both conventional and more holistic, natural approaches.  Conventionally, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is medication that replaces hormones that are at a lower level.


What are the foundations for a healthy menopause?

Eating well, exercising and looking after your mental wellbeing.

Diet – nutrition

Maintaining a healthy weight, cardiac health, bone health, reducing inflammation and reducing carbohydrates is paramount to keeping your body in good shape, during menopause. A Mediterranean style diet with plenty of olive oil is often recommended with plenty of variety in vegetables and pulses. Whole grain carbs can boost energy and mood, and a healthy diet can also prevent weight gain. Reducing alcohol and coffee intake are also key to better quality sleep and reducing general tension in the body.


In menopause, the general recommendations are to work within your limits and build up if you need to until you are doing at least 150 minutes a week moderate aerobic activity, plus strength exercises 2 or more days a week to work major muscle groups. Regular exercise can help alleviate menopause symptoms such as poor sleep, anxiety, low mood, and fatigue.

Manage stress levels

Stress, can amplify symptoms so prioritising relaxation is key. It will also keep you feeling happier and better able to manage the pressures of life. Spend some time daily doing some form of relaxation such as yoga, mindfulness or meditation. Regular Reflexology has also been shown to be beneficial in reducing symptoms of stress.

Get good quality sleep

This may seem easier said than done, with hot flushes and insomnia being common symptoms of menopause, but finding a routine for your body can help you get the quality of sleep you deserve. Stick to the same bedtimes and wake up times, avoid falling asleep while watching TV, and keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. With enough training, your body will adjust and the quality of your sleep will improve, resulting in a more relaxed state of being.

Reflexology has been shown to be a useful intervention to relieve fatigue and promote sleep and should go alongside a good bedtime routine.

Find enjoyment and purpose

When women hit menopause is a time when they can struggle to think what their purpose is in life and what makes them happy. When women are able to make themselves a priority (even 15 minutes a day), dramatic changes can occur. It can also be an invigorating, expansive time for personal growth. It is the perfect opportunity to take the time to take care of yourself.

Though its symptoms can be difficult to deal with, taking small steps in each of these areas can have a real impact on how much you will be able to manage your menopause journey.


AOR approved Reflexology for Menopause; support for menopausal women – Sally Earlam July 2022

Research references on the effects of reflexology on menopause

–  The effects of reflexology on sleep disorder in menopausal women. Maryam Asltoghiri, Zahra Ghodsi. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 31, 2012, Pages 242-246. Click here

–  The effects of reflexology applied to women aged between 40 and 60 on vasomotor complaints and quality of life.  Gozuyesil E, Baser M. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Aug;24:78-85. Click here

–  The effects of reflexology on depression during menopause: A randomized controlled clinical trial. F Mahdavipour et al. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 47, 2019. Click here

–  The effects of reflexology for menopausal women. Williamson, J  et al.  BJOG_Oxford, 2002 Vol 109:Number 9, pg 1050-1055. Click here

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