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Natural menopause treatment is a hot topic these days. Everyone wants to give you advice, but many of them have no experience or education of any kind with natural menopause relief.
Even Western medicine has jumped into the fray, testing herbs and other natural remedies and usually coming out with “news” about how black cohosh doesn't really work for hot flashes or menopause. (If you want to skip the background information and precautions, scroll down the page to Natural Menopause Treatment: Healing Systems that Work for Menopause).
Authentic holistic medicine approaches health from the point of view that everything affects it, from your diet to how much and how well you sleep, and what your home environment is like.
Allopathic medicine divides subjects into tiny pieces and often misses the big picture. For more about the differences between allopathic and holistic medicine, see how to use remedies.
Statements like menopause gone, or cure menopause, or stop menopause, are all examples of hype. Can you eliminate adolescence? Well, menopause is a hormonal transition, just like adolescence. It is the next stage of growth for women.
If you can think about this without the many years of media and medical influence about what it means to go through menopause, you should be able to feel good about going through your next stage of growth.
Stop thinking about it as a loss of estrogen, or a loss of fertility, and start thinking about it as a new experience, a new opportunity.
Your body is going to go through it no matter what you do. You might as well enjoy the ride. Before you go thinking that I think this is easy, let me enlighten you. I am post-menopause by about 3 or 4 years now. I spent much more time being stressed out and concerned over my deteriorating health than I would have liked.
I still have to be committed to find a few minutes here and there to do something relaxing or rejuvenating. Believe me, I know how hard what I am recommending can be. But that doesn't make it any less important.
Upledger, (1995) writing in the Introduction to Grossinger's Planet Medicine, talks about the fact that in our current medical system, we cannot treat a patient until there are “categorizable symptoms.”
He goes on to say, “Nor does it [our present 'health-care' system] recognize that a symptom may be the patient's inner voice trying to gain attention for some meaningful lesson that this patient must learn before he or she can progress along their evolutionary pathway. The pathways to self-discovery, enhanced levels of health, and higher levels of evolution are seldom traveled without pain and anguish.”
The problem is that we are so entrenched in our science-based culture that it affects the way we approach not just medicine, but health.
If you are looking for a natural menopause treatment, it is best to begin looking at health through a different paradigm; a different way of thinking about the subject of health and disease.
Susun Weed, in Healing Wise, talks about a tradition of healing with nourishment as it's foundation. This couldn't be further from allopathic medicine today.
The Free Dictionary defines nourished as,
When was the last time you felt deeply nourished? Do you feel nourished after a visit to your doctor?
How about treating yourself to a natural menopause treatment, like Italian Red Mandarin and Rose Cream organic moisturizer for mature skin? (see natural antiaging skin care for the shocking statistics about toxins in cosmetics and personal care products and where to find safe natural products).
Keep the above thoughts in mind as you read about some of the natural menopause relief therapies below.
There are hundreds of natural therapies, many that you probably have never heard of. Alternative Medicine (Burton Goldberg Group, 1993) lists 42 different natural approaches, and there are probably many more.
Many of these therapies can be used as a natural menopause treatment to have a symptom-free, or symptom-reduced menopause.
In this website, I cover aromatherapy, flower essences, herbal medicine, homeopathy, Ayurvedic and Chinese medical approaches, exercise, nutritional supplements, superfoods, yoga, and the most important of all: diet.
Natural Menopause Treatment: What It's Not
Here are some examples of information on natural menopause treatment that will not create health.
Eat lots of soy and/or take soy supplements or isolated substances. Using isoflavones, whether its from soy or red clover, is not natural. Okay, isoflavones come from plants, but it's an isolated form.
This is a standard allopathic approach using “natural” substances. This is not holistic.
I personally would not take a natural menopause treatment with isoflavones or soy, no matter what the research claims are. There are two sides to the soy story, and the second side is scary. For a list of studies on the untold story of soy, see these studies.
Once you eliminate these supplements, you will eliminate many of the menopause supplements on the market, leaving you with an easier choice to make!
Vitamin Intakes: Vitamin D: Vitamin D is an excellent natural menopause treatment, however, recent research on Vitamin D suggests we need far more than we get.
Vitamin D not only helps prevent osteoporosis (along with other nutrients and exercise), it can reduce the risk of many different kinds of cancer, including breast cancer (for more on this, see Vitamin D Council and cancer).
Even so, I just this morning (November 11, 2011) read on a government website the recommendation for only 600-800 I.U. per day for older women. I take 5000-6000 I.U. every day!
I just got tested and my D levels are at 61.00, in the medium healthy range. I tested below 20.00 taking 400 I.U. per day, a very unhealthy level. For more on Vitamin D, see the Vitamin D Council website.
Quantity of Ingredients. Many products have long lists of ingredients, as if they need to list all the popular herbs or nutrients to make you think it will work better.
I have often wondered about this, because during my herbal studies, I dug up my own roots of the shrub baneberry (Actea rubra, similar to black cohosh), cut them up with garden clippers or a knife (very hard on the hands!), and then ground them up in a Vitamix. What you are left with as an effective dose can be a substantial volume of herb.
So how do they get much of any one substance into a little tiny capsule? Well, they probably can't. So they are either claiming to have herbs in there that aren't, or they are there in miniscule amounts, which is not going to do you any good.
The lesson here, is to pay attention to ingredients that are available in the product in high enough amounts to actually work. See below for some supplements I recommend for a natural menopause treatment.
You can't just go to Walmart or Costco and pick something off the shelf that says “Black Cohosh” or “Menopause Supplement” and expect it to work.
Herbs are best taken in a couple of different forms. Capsules generally are not the best form. If you must buy capsules, there are only a few that I would recommend.
Eclectic Institute and Oregon's Wild Harvest both have high quality capsules.
By the way, many people call bioidentical hormone therapy a natural approach, and critics say that it is not natural. The critics would be right.
Bioidentical hormones are made in a lab, just like traditional conjugated estrogens and progestins. The difference here is not whether or not the hormones are natural. For more on this, see bioidentical hormone therapy.
Healing Systems that Work for Menopause
Most of this site is about using natural remedies for menopause relief. I will point you to different topics here.
Aromatherapy (the use of essential oils) can be used to help with hot flashes, stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, fatigue, insomnia and digestive issues.
Diet is more important than anything else you can do to impact your health, both positively and negatively. Learn what to eat to create health, reduce or eliminate symptoms, lose or maintain a healthy weight, what to eat and what to avoid. See menopause diet and peri menopause diet for some scientific facts that will turn upside down your notions of what good and bad foods are, and the diet I finally found that lets me lose weight at a normal pace.
Homeopathic remedies can be used to help with hormone imbalance, hot flashes, insomnia, and vaginal dryness. For information about what homeopathy is and specific remedies, go here.
An excellent natural menopause treatment is the use of herbs. There are a few herbs that are well-known for menopause: black cohosh, dong quai, and vitex. Maca is also an excellent herb for menopause. For more about how to use herbs for menopause for many symptoms, see herbs for menopause.
There are supplements for menopause without soy or other isoflavones, and other additives that you don't need and don't want in a health supplement. I discuss a few of them, here along with what to look out for in a menopause supplements.
To find out about flower essences and different approaches to achieving hormonal balance and therefore an easier menopause, see alternative treatment for menopause.
Burton Goldberg Group. (1993). Alternative Medicine. Puyallup, WA: Future Medicine Publishing, Inc.
Nourished. In The Free Dictionary. Retrieved November 13, 2011 from www.thefreedictionary.com
Grossinger, R. (1995). Planet medicine: Origins (6th ed.). Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Weed, S. (1989). Healing wise. Woodstock, NY:Ash Tree Publishing.