Thursday, February 28, 2008

Resources for Menopausal women

I have bought two new books today, about menopause.

The first is The Secret Wisdom of a Woman's Body (about aging fearlessly and listening to the body's signals), by Pat Samples. A title I wish I could have dreamt up myself!

The second is Our Bodies Ourselves, Menopause from the The Boston Women's health Book collective. This book is like a dictionary, chock full of the latest studies, myth busting, pro-wisdom but not anti-medical establishment, yet anti-medicalization of menopause.

There is too much to quote, but one chapter that screamed at me is Emotional Well Being and Managing Stress (my personal bugaboo these days). While menopause may be a challenging time emotionally, it is also the best time of our lives! If our health is good, our systems of support, adequate income, then, yes it can be wonderfully liberating to hit menopause.

Some of us, however, have the stress response on automatic overload. It never turns off. Calming rituals like yoga, drumming, dance and meditation have been around for thousands of years and help us relax.
"eliciting the relaxation response" covers many different techniques, like mini breaks and mindfulness, contemplation and acceptance.

Here's some helpful info:

Deep breathing techniques can reduce the intensity of hot flashes - myth or reality?

"Reality: researchers have found relaxation techniques involving progressive muscle relation and deep breathing exercises reduced self-reported hot flashes by about 50 percent." now that's worth looking into.

"Taking care of ourselves is key. There is a difference between selfishness and self-care. Self-care means moving away from the belief that your needs come last. It means caring enough about yourself to prioritize those activities that will promote your own health: taking time for socializing, fore relaxation, and for embracing what is meaningful to you. Many of us lead busy lives, and the hours of the day evaporate. We reap many benefits when we realize that scheduling time for ourselves is essential to our health."

So there you have it - two more books for your bedside reading table. A good friend of mine called today about her doctor telling her that at age 46 she was too young to be in peri-menopause! So much misinformation out there. So check out the website, and this Our Bodies Ourselves, for correct medical advice and encouragement.

and see you back from March break, March 8


Pat Samples said...

Hey, great to see you bought my book -- The Secret Wisdom of a Woman's Body. I hope you like it. From reading your posting, I think you'll find a lot you'll relate to.

I'm actually glad you reminded me of the book today (not that I ever forget it!), but this has been one of those lonely, stressful days, and I need to follow some of my own advice in the book -- stop and listen to my body. l've been sitting too much and am feeling restless and tense. I think I'm going to sing silly sounds while I clean up my kitchen. It's hard to stay stressed doing that! Thanks for giving me a place to come up with a fresh and fun way to finish my day.

musemother said...

Dear Pat,
so glad you found my blog, and a reminder to listen to the body (once again !). It's been a theme of mine for a while, and I love the focus of your book on internal guidance we can receive. Haven't read the whole thing yet, but I'll be posting excerpts that might be helpful to other women, soon.
Thank goodness for all of us, sharing our knowing and feeling less alienated from our selves :)

Cyndi said...

Speaking of listening to my body - mine doesn't want to be chemically altered in any way I've noticed. Everything that's supposed to help, including herbal support, doesn't for me. I wanted to share a great resource that's helped me with my hot flashes and with insomnia. It's a mattress pad that cools down the bed! ChiliPad ! It’s cooled with water, and you can set it on a timer for different temperatures (anywhere down to 46 degrees!) and you can also get a dual zone one that sets different temperatures for each side of the bed. Comes with a remote control which is great when I’m groggy and don’t want to get up to change the temp. I refuse to go on HRT, and having a drug-free mechanical solution to the problem has been a life-saver for me. ALSO – I got fewer hot flashes during the day because of getting a full night of sleep.


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