It’s not the most glamorous topic, but women going through menopause understand – hot flashes are not any fun!
However, thanks to a new study, there may be an all-natural, side-effect free answer – mindfulness meditation.
Research from The University of Massachusetts showed mindfulness training reduced distress associated with hot flashes, and also improved physical, psychosocial and sexual functioning, according to a report by HealthDay.
“The finding are important because hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopause symptoms in the past, has been associated with health risks,” said study author James Camody, an associate professor of medicine in the division for preventive and behavioral medicine in the HealthDay report.
In fact, hormone replacement therapy has been linked with increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and stroke, and many women are looking for alternative treatments, according to Camody.
Mindfulness training appears to allow women to be “less reactive” to menopausal symptoms – which is certainly a place to start!
The researchers wanted to see if they could affect women’s “resilience in response to these symptoms,” and the study divided 110 women between the age of 47 and 69 into two groups – one that was trained in the meditation and the other that was “waitlisted” to learn the technique, according to HealthDay.
Those participating filled out questionnaires to see how much they were bothered by hot flashes on a 4-point scale – from “not at all” to “extremely bothered,” and kept diaries noting the number and intensity of the hot flashes and night sweats. According to the report, the women had an average of five or more moderate to severe hot flashes or night sweats each day.
However, after taking classes once a week for eight weeks, along with a full day of training in mindfulness meditation, the training group of women had an average decrease of 15 percent in terms of how much the symptoms bothered them – compared to only 7 percent of the control group. The training group also reported better sleep, less anxiety and less perceived stress.
“The thing that surprised us the most was the effect on sleep,” said Camody in the HealthDay report. In fact, the mindfulness training was found to be as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing insomnia!
We all know practicing mindfulness and meditation help in so many different areas of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Now we can add menopause symptoms to the list!
To read about what to include and what NOT to include in your meditation room or space, read our FREE article “Meditation by Design.”
Still struggling with meditation or finding the right practice for you? Read our FREE article “The Right Meditation for You.”