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May 02, 2019 4

Aromatherapy and Women’s Health: Menopause



Most women will be able to think of a time when a physical or emotional symptom associated with their cycle has made them want to curl up into a ball and take the rest of the day off.  But we don’t.  Whether true or not, many women have been taught that their reproductive health issues are just something that they have to ‘deal with’ and get on with their lives.  How many of us have gone to work even though we are experiencing pain from cramping and spend a very uncomfortable day at the office?  How many women have experienced mood swings during menopause and hold themselves entirely to blame for not being able to ‘keep it together’ rather than taking some needed breathing space?



There are no right or wrong answers here, however, it could be worthwhile to examine how we look after ourselves when we have symptoms associated with our hormonal health.  Maybe it is ok that we need extra help, time and nurturing when it comes to womens health.  Whether you have a sprained ankle, the flu, or symptoms that are due to hormonal fluctuations each condition is worthy of the same level of attention and care.





Aromatic support during Menopause



Let’s look at some common symptoms women experience during menopause and how aromatherapy can help.



Body

Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

Although the exact reason for hot flushes and night sweats is still unknown, it is thought that lowered levels of estrogen affect the area of the brain that controls body temperature.  Cooling essential oils may provide some relief.  During the day a small spray bottle filled with water and appropriate oils could provide a cooling spray for the face if you experience a hot flush.  At night some pre-prepared cold compresses may provide relief from night sweats.



Cooling Essential Oils:



Cooling spray: to a small spray bottle add 100mls water and up to 10 drops of essential oil.  Shake well before use.



Cooling compress:  before bed soak a few face washers in a bowl of cold water with 3 to 5 drops of essential oil added.  Wring out the face washers and leave in a bowl next to your bed in case they are needed during the night.



Sleeping Difficulties

If you are having trouble falling asleep, try diffusing some relaxing essential oils a few hours before bed.  You might like to experiment with Lavender, Marjoram, Mandarin, Dream Drops or Sleep blend.



Creating a night time ritual or routine can help relax your body and mind after a busy day.  Self- massage with essential oils, bathing, or reading before bed could be a good place to start.



Aching Joints and Fatigue

Some women report that they feel physically fatigued or have aching joints during menopause.  Essential oils can help increase blood and lymph circulation to ease aches and pains, other oils are analgesics (pain killers).  In the case of aching joints and muscles, creating an essential oil blend to use for self-massage can help.  If you are massaging a large area, such as the entire leg, then a dilution of 2.5% would be used; 5 drops of essential oil to 10mls carrier oil.  If you are treating a small area, such as the wrists, a blend between 4-10% can be used for short term treatment.  Add 8 to 20 drops of essential oil to 10mls carrier oil.



PROPERTY

ESSENTIAL OIL

Circulatory Stimulant (Warming)

Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver, Ginger

Analgesic

Frankincense, Juniper Berry, Lavender, Peppermint, Basil, Ginger, Clove Bud, Rosemary, Black Pepper

MIND

Fluctuating hormones can affect our mood and tolerance to stress.  Essential oils may alleviate difficult emotional states, and when used for this purpose can be used in a diffuser or as a perfume. Below is a table suggesting essential oils that are a tonic for the nervous system and/ or have been traditionally used to support us during times of mood changes



MOOD

ESSENTIAL OIL

Anxiety

Frankincense, Neroli, Lavender, Vetiver

Irritability

Bergamot, Chamomile, Lavender, Mandarin

Brain Fog

Peppermint, Basil, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Clove Bud

Low Mood

Frankincense, Basil, Rose, Melissa, any citrus



Spirit

Menopause marks a time of change, the end of one chapter and the beginning of a brand new one.  Depending on your viewpoint this moment of change may involve celebration at the maturing process, or grief for the loss of the previous chapter in life.  On a subtle level essential oils can help with processing and accepting change.  Take time to inhale each essential oil and choose ones that sing to your heart.  A personalised blend that you have created can be used in a roller ball bottle as a perfume, in your diffuser or even added to a warm bath.



Some suggested essential oils for change and grief: Frankincense, Cypress, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Clary Sage, Rose, and Geranium.



So, as well as managing physical and emotional symptoms of menopause there may be deeper spiritual work that needs attention.  This may be done through a community of women around you whom you can share the process with or maybe with your health care providers.  Either way, acknowledging how you are feeling, deciding what you need and reaching out for help is self-care that we are all so worthy of. 



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