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There are many natural menopause remedies that can help ease the discomforts of menopause. Some of them are herbs, vitamins and other supplements, homeopathy, yoga, hypnotherapy, essential oils/aromatherapy, flower remedies, Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, guided imagery, hypnotherapy and ayurvedic medicine.
These different therapies may be able to address most of the issues that arise during menopause, including anxiety, depression, hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, headaches/migraines, osteoporosis and heart disease prevention, weight issues, high blood pressure, stress, digestive issues and mental clarity.
Modern medicine is science and evidence-based. It uses drugs and surgery for disease. Often it does not aim to cure, but to mask symptoms. If you have depression, you take an antidepressant. You don't look for the physiological or emotional/environmental causes and correct them, as holistic medicine does. The drugs often block the body's actions. This is done because the underlying assumption is that the body is too stupid to do the right thing for itself.
The holistic concept, on the other hand, assumes the wisdom of the body. When cholesterol rises, maybe it is because cholesterol is the antidote for free radicals. In that case reducing the free radicals would reduce the cholesterol, because the cause has been eliminated.
Ideally, holistic medicine considers the whole person in their environment. Some alternative practitioners are better at this than others.
For example the idea of taking a Standardized Extract of black cohosh for hot flashes has more in common with the modern medical approach than a holistic one.
A holistic approach, using natural menopause remedies, might look at a woman's diet, stress levels, exercise level, how much support she has, and anything else that may be impacting her health in a negative way. A holistic herbalist might give her some herbs to help her body adapt to stress better, some hormone-balancing herbs such as dong quai or vitex, and some herbs high in nutrition such as nettles.
All of these herbs will support her body in returning to a more balanced state and a more nourished state. When the body has more of what it needs and less of what it doesn't, it will often heal itself.
Diet and exercise are always the most important places to make changes. These two areas affect your health the most. To illustrate, one of my teachers during my herbal medicine studies was an OMD, or Doctor of Oriental Medicine. He explained to us that when he grew up in China, acupuncture was thought of in the way we think of surgery in America. It was a method of last resort.
The environment you surround yourself with is considered important in natural medicine. Being at Two Medicine Lake (Glacier National Park), pictured above, most certainly impacted my health in a positive way.
Before acupuncture was considered as a treatment, the doctor would look in many areas of the patient's life to see what was out of balance and therefore effecting his or her health. Everything from diet and lifestyle habits to the patient's living environment and relationships were observed. In China, feng shui and chi gung (or qigong) might be part of the health treatment.
A basic treatment was often a change in diet. If this didn't work, then herbs could be used. Acupuncture would be used only after these less intrusive therapies were implemented.
If you skip the diet and exercise steps, and go directly to herbs and supplements, or herbs and homeopathy, you may notice improvement, but the long-term, deep effects of using natural menopause remedies may not happen until you correct your diet and add exercise.
For information about herbs and how to use them, see herbs for menopause.
For information about how to use vitamins and supplements, see menopause vitamins.
Using Natural Menopause Remedies with a Practitioner
If you would like to find a practitioner, such as an herbalist, nutritionist or homeopath, below are some explanations of how licensing works.
Acupuncturists and TCM practitioners – Each state in the US has it's own licensing policies. There are at least three different types of licenses.
One is for acupuncture only, one is for doctors, dentists and chiropractors to practice acupuncture, which, according to a colleague from my herbal studies who was an MD, may consist of only a one or two day training. This is in contrast to someone trained in TCM, sometimes called an OMD (Doctor of Oriental Medicine). This designation is the Chinese equivalent of an MD degree here.
Many acupuncturists will also be trained in Chinese herbology, although they may not have a license for it, because there are no licensing requirements yet. The designation for a licensed acupuncturist is L.Ac.
Herbalists – There are currently no requirements for herbalists. This means that titles like clinical herbalist, certified herbalist, or medical herbalist are somewhat meaningless.
There are many excellent herbalists, but distinguishing good from bad may be difficult. Look for herbalists who have at a minimum trained at a reputable school.
Some of these include the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine, Susun Weed's courses, the Evergreen School of Integrative Herbology, and the California School of Herbal Studies. There are many, many more. These are run by the people I am most familiar with.
Naturopathic physicians (N.D.) are holistic doctors. They must graduate from accredited naturopathic medical institutions similar to a regular medical school, but with natural approaches included. These are nutrition, herbal therapies, homeopathy and more.
Not all states license these doctors. You can find out which states require licenses and much more at the Federation of Naturopathic Physician Licensing Authorities website.
You may find naturopathic practitioners who have attended some non-accredited schools. These practitioners can still be very valuable. Just understand that they do not have the medical background of a licensed N.D.
Nutritionists have two licenses. One is an R.D. Or registered dietitian. This requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, completing an internship and passing a professional exam.
Certified nutritionists (C.N.) have two years of college level training and must pass an exam. Other nutritionists may have varying degrees of education and experience.
Whether or not you work with a practitioner, I hope you find using natural menopause remedies to be as helpful and health supportive as I have. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me using the Contact Me button.