In following on from Anna and Lisa’s seminar on menopause earlier this month, I’d love to dive deeper into the topic, with a look at some recent research on the benefits of yoga for peri-menopausal and menopausal women.
To start off with, menopause refers to the cessation of ovarian function, which means ovulation and menstruation cease to occur. At this time, women undergo huge changes in their hormonal profile which can result in symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats and dry vagina, if not managed appropriately. At Perth Health and Fertility, we educate our patients so they understand why these symptoms occur, and how they can use food, nutrition, herbs and lifestyle to minimise and prevent them. This is why we are so excited about all the amazing research coming out about menopause, and using food and lifestyle as your medicine to ease through this transition.
In March this year, a systematic review examining the effects of yoga on menopausal symptoms was published in the European Menopause Journal, and the results were fascinating. The researchers looked at 13 studies involving more than 1300 patients, and they came to some fantastic conclusions. Compared to individuals who didn’t practice yoga, those who did experienced significant reductions in psychological, somatic, vasomotor and urogenital symptoms associated with menopause. This means they experienced:
- Less anxiety and depression (psychological symptoms)
- Less hot flushes, night sweats, palpitations and formication (an insect-like crawling sensation on the skin) (vasomotor symptoms)
- Less insomnia and sleep disturbance (somatic symptoms)
- Less vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy (urogenital symptoms)
Yoga has also been shown in numerous studies to improve bone density, which is particularly important as menopausal women are at greatly increased risk of developing osteoporosis if they don’t take care of their bones. In one study, just twelve minutes of daily yoga practice was enough to see improvements in bone mineral density, meaning reduced risk of broken bones and osteoporosis! If you’re interested in learning more about how to protect your bone density, check out our post on Vitamin K2 HERE.
The benefits of yoga have been attributed to its physical effects on strength, balance and flexibility, as well as the practice of meditation (dyana) and guided breathing (pranayama). These findings further reinforce what we already know about the benefits of yoga for the body and mind, and suggest peri-menopausal and menopausal woman in particular may benefit from regular practice. While this research specifically concerns menopausal women, we believe all individuals can experience benefits from regular, guided yoga practice. Some of these benefits include reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, increased strength and flexibility, improved sleep quality and greater bone density!
If you’re in your 40s, 50s or 60s, now is the time to educate yourself about menopause, prepare yourself and get the guidance you need to sail through this time with ease. If you’re experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms, changes to your menstrual cycle, or are in the midst of it all, speak to one of our naturopaths to see how they can help you. Also, keep an eye out on our Events page for our next seminar on the topic!
Until next time,