The symptoms of menopause can create havoc in your (or a loved ones) life. They include hot flashes, mood changes (irritability, impatience, crying, fluctuations of mood), vaginal dryness and sleep changes (including insomnia). These symptoms can go on for years and you shouldn’t have to suffer.
Conventional treatment for menopausal symptoms include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bio-identical HRT and some medications such as Venlafaxine. Other options include supplements such as magnesium or herbs to balance the hormones.
Massage can and should be considered to help reduce menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes, sleep disturbances and mood changes. Massage helps to decrease the firing of the sympathetic nervous system (the one that helps us to run if a bear is chasing us) and therefore helps us to relax. It decreases cortisol output (which often interferes with sleep) and increases serotonin and dopamine (the happy neurotransmitters). The more time we spend in relaxation mode, the more often our body will go there on its own. In this way, massage can help to improve mood and sleep. There are a number of research studies that show massage is able to decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women.
While it isn’t possible to maintain the same level of hormones you had in your 20’s, it is possible to support the systems surrounding your hormones to help you to be happier and feel more comfortable while going through menopause.
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Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy.