Menopause — It’s Not Just Hot Flashes

Menopause in all its glory is coming out of the closet and into the mainstream of conversation, sometimes even in mixed company. It’s a good thing, because life changes are best dealt with when people have access to information. Most importantly, it empowers people and enables them to take information and apply it to their individual needs and conditions.

According to Eastern medicine’s view of the female life cycle, there are five events that greatly influence the female’s state of health. They are the actual birth of a female, the onset of the first period, the initiation into intimate relations, giving birth, and menopause. When a pre-menopausal woman reflects on her health history, she may find that significant changes in her health occurred at these various junctures. Menopause changes the actual chemistry of the body, and should be supported with great care so that it influences one’s health in positive, vibrant ways.

Menopause is a process that occurs over a period of years for most women. If you haven’t adopted good lifestyle habits prior to your forties, the onset of peri-menopause and its associated symptoms is a good time to initiate good self-care. Some women sail though menopause while others struggle with a host of debilitating symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and a feeling of heaviness in the limbs which can occur when daily responsibilities are wide-reaching and not offset by self-care techniques. Regular body work helps harmonize the flow of energy through the body and will alleviate many of these symptoms. Additional self-care techniques can include meditation, socializing and adequate rest.

Exercise is always important for good health, but especially so during this female life transition. Women need to find exercise that is enjoyable and practical for their lifestyle so it is manageable. Weight training and weight bearing exercises are important for the bones and muscles of the body, and tend to lift the spirit as an added bonus.

Diet influences menopausal symptoms as well. A moderately low-fat diet using primarily olive oil, supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flax seed and oily fish, along with plentiful amounts of fruits and vegetable and moderate amounts of whole grains, will give you a good dose of nutrients each day. Be aware of foods or drinks that trigger symptoms and avoid them as much as possible. Coffee and wine may be triggers for you. Many doctors today recommend the use of antioxidant supplements to support your health. Be informed about these products and work with your doctor to be sure they are appropriate for you and are not contra-indicated because of prescription medications you may be taking.


  • Menopause: The Silent Passage by Susan Love, M.D.
  • Menopause, Naturally by Sadja Grenwood, M.D.
  • The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
  • A Woman’s Guide to Natural Hormones by Christine Conrad

Peg Doyle, M.Ed. is a Shiatsu and Reiki practitioner in Medfield, MA. She may be reached at 508-0359-6804 or by email at