Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.
Menopause is certainly not an easy passage for women or their partners. Those infamous hot flashes are the most recognizable symptom, but the effects of menopause include a host of other problems: dry skin, night sweats, poor memory, urinary incontinence, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, headaches/migraines, bone loss, erratic menstrual cycles, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and depression. For women in the midst of change, menopause is a daunting laundry list of symptoms that only seems to produce greater challenges each day.
Massage therapy is very helpful in dealing with the following common symptoms of menopause:
The body changes of menopause, coupled with societal perception of what these changes mean can be extremely stressful. Massage is very good at lowering stress and stopping the spiraling effects of increased cortisol production in the body. Excess cortisol exacerbates the bodily symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and anxiety.
I work with the client’s breathing to bring awareness to the sensations in the body while performing both Swedish and Deep Tissue techniques. I have found focused breathing to be extremely helpful in stress reduction, and it is a technique the client can practice in her daily life when stressful situations (and hot flashes) arise.
Changes in reproductive organs during menopause can cause increased abdominal and low back pain. Skillful abdominal massage, as well as massage of the low back can significantly reduce pain in this region.
Circulation is generally improved with any massage, and is especially beneficial in reducing fluid retention which can cause painful breasts and also help regulate hot flashes and night sweats. Enhanced circulation is also invigorating, and helps with the fatigue experienced so frequently during this time.