I came across this article about the benefits of yoga for peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women. I just had to share!
The study was done by researchers in Germany, and examined groups of women in the USA, India, Brazil, China, South Korea and Germany. What is really interesting about the breadth of the study groups is that the women would have had vastly different lifestyle and diet habits. So, the observed positive effect must come from something outside of existing diet and lifestyle. In this case, the researchers conclude that yoga helps specifically with night sweats and hot flashes.
I worked for twelve years in rehabilitation of women who have had breast cancer. As you may know, many breast cancers are sensitive to oestrogen, so one of the therapeutic strategies is to provoke a chemical menopause. This may sound harsh, and it is, for the ladies. Later, the woman may take a hormone disruptor (aromatase inhibitor or similar) like Tamoxifen for a period of five to ten years. So, I have seen my share of ladies going through the menopause, believe me. The hot flashes and night sweats are very disruptive.
I myself have been crossing this particular juncture in the past two years and the night sweats thing comes and goes. But, as a practising yogi, I will say that my transition has been smooth, and I am not overly bothered by the symptoms. If anything, I feel lighter in my body and more stable in my mind. I did not expect to have a relatively early menopause (I am only 45), but I did expect that my symptoms should be bearable. And in fact, yes, they are.
It is worth noting that the positive effect of yoga might also lie in the way the women perceive the symptoms. It is now known that the intensity of pain or physical discomfort is partly an issue of perception. “A study from the University of Colorado at Boulder released on Jan. 12, 2015, reports that the ability to use your thoughts to modulate perceptions of pain utilizes a completely separate brain pathway than the pathway used to send the physical pain signal to your brain. This discovery is a breakthrough”
So, let’s just sum up, shall we? Yoga seems to be effective at easing symptoms of menopause, even adjusting for diet and lifestyle difference. Yoga is a safe and practical solution. Viniyoga, which adapts the practice to the individual, not the individual to the practice, is a style that can help women who might have co-pathologies like osteoporosis/osteopenia, overweight/obesity, arthritis, and so on.
Have I convinced you yet? Don’t worry, I will keep trying if not. Why? Because I care about your health, even if I don’t know you (yet).