Sam Grainger is a certified hypnotherapist based in Norfolk. This World Menopause Awareness month, Sam explains how hypnotherapy can help with the perimenopause and the menopause
The perimenopause and Menopaume have become big news in the last couple of years, and for this we can be grateful. A more open discussion has allowed women and men to gain more insight into how this can affect a woman. In the past it has been brushed under the carpet, leaving many feeling like they are going quietly mad. The effects are physical, mental, emotion and much more.
What is perimenopause? This is the period of time leading up to the menopause. The menstrual cycle becomes erratic and hormone levels decline.
What is menopause? This marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles. Women are officially seen as menopausal after 12 months without a menstrual period.
What is post-menopause? This is the time in a woman’s life when she has gone past the 12 month point without experiencing a menstrual period.
Although we are hearing much more about this transitional period in a woman’s life, I am interested in what can you do to help yourself. I read a funny article recently which stated that although it’s great that discussions are more open, a lot of this was led by celebrities who have the financial freedom to pay for all sorts of fancy treatments to help them along the way.
There are simple methods to help with the symptoms that don’t have to cost the earth and allow you to still enjoy life – the odd chocolate biscuit or glass of wine won’t hurt. One of these methods is the use of hypnotherapy. It may not be a method most women would think of to try and alleviate their symptoms, but in recent years the British Medical Society have endorsed hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause, particularly in relation to hot flushes.
So how does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnotherapy can help in relation to insomnia, hot flushes, anxiety and stress. Believe it or not, you can gain control of your own hot flushes. There have been many randomised control trials which have measured the effect of hypnotherapy on hot flushes with positive results (see references at the end).
Hypnotherapy helps by allowing you to use the power of your own mind to allow changes from within. Allowing yourself to completely relax whilst being fully focused, can be extremely effective in creating change both physically and mentally.
How it would work in a session would depend on the symptom we are working with at the time. So, let’s look at anxiety and hot flushes. Being menopausal myself, I started to notice that if I was having a hot flush, I would start to get more anxious, and this made me even hotter – and the flush would worsen. So, in a session I work on reducing your anxiety levels and then working on cooling imagery.
The breath is very important and calming your breathing almost immediately releases any tension allowing the body to relax. Controlling the length and depth of your breath has many health benefits and can improve your sleep.
We would then move onto visualisation. You may be asked to imagine stepping into a cool ocean or feel yourself surrounded by a cool breeze. All these techniques you will be able to use at home and a good hypnotherapist will teach you self-hypnosis techniques.
The most important part of hypnotherapy as an effective tool for the menopause is that it can help you come to terms with the changes that take place in this transition period. You gain control of your mind and your body and find a renewed confidence in yourself.
All sessions are always tailored to your needs in collaboration with your therapist. If you have any questions on hypnotherapy for the menopause, feel free to contact me. I am always happy to answer your questions.
What else can you do to help?
- Regular exercise
- Moderate alcohol intake
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Yoga and Pilates
- Good sleep hygiene
(References: Clinical hypnosis in the treatment of postmenopausal hot flashes: a randomized controlled trial. Gary R Elkins et al. Menopause. Menopause. March 2013; Effect of Hypnosis on Anxiety: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial with Women in Postmenopause. R. Lynae Roberts et al. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. December 2021