As one of our members of staff is heading kicking and screaming (literally!) towards the menopause, we decided to investigate to see whether she could benefit from any of the thermal bathing rituals and practices to help ease her symptoms.
It is becoming increasingly common for women to use saunas as they appreciate the feeling of wellbeing and relaxation that regular sauna sessions bring, as well as how great their skin feels after toxins are eliminated and it’s thoroughly cleansed, leaving a healthy glow. But how many women realise that sauna bathing can alleviate some of the main symptoms of perimenopause and actual menopause?
During menopause the levels of oestrogen in the body changes. These changes can lead to several physiological changes including hot flushes, mood swings and an imbalance in the nervous and immune systems. Sweat bathing in a sauna, or steam room, stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which can temporarily reduce the effects of the hormonal changes. Increased hormone levels also effect vascular function which constricts the blood vessels. Bathing in the heat of a sauna can lower blood pressure temporarily and improves circulation as blood vessels dilate. This increases the oxygen levels around the body which helps you feel better.
Other possible side effects of any change in the nervous system are depression, loss of energy and emotional ups and downs. One way of helping relieve these symptoms is to add aromatherapy into your bathing practice. It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell, which in turn sends a signal to the section of the brain that controls emotions. As the nervous system is temporarily balanced within the heat, the essences cause the release of chemicals which can calm or invigorate you. Clary Sage is a popular essential oil in balancing hormones and dealing with symptoms of the menopause including anxiety and hot flushes. See our Aromatherapy section in ‘Drömology – Wellbeing Personified’ for a more detailed overview of which plants can benefit you or click this link: http://dromuk.com/online/dromology/
Once you stop menstruating (which is an elimination cycle for the whole body), the body needs to find another way of removing toxins. The heat from sauna and steam bathing opens the skin’s pores and helps reduce levels of toxins and impurities, eliminating waste and reducing the load put on the kidney’s.
Using an Infrared sauna is just as effective at helping to relax and reduce tension and stress associated with mood swings. Excessive sweating can also move the body through the hormonal fluctuations quicker leading to a better night’s sleep with less hot flushes. There are also some reports out that claim infrared heat can help relieve the pain from conditions such as osteoporosis, which is another symptom connected to menopause.
After all this heat, it’s nice to nip into the ice room to cool down! That deals with the hot flushes!
Another added benefit for women is that the heat of the sauna releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkiller’s. This can help with the discomfort of period pain – I’m sure we have all sat around with a heat pack across our stomach and back at some point. So sit back and relax in a sauna or steam room, add some essential oil and breathe in ……
Alternatively, stretch out on a heated lounger. Heat storage ceramic loungers, store heat and emit it back to the body via infrared long wave gentle heat. Let this heat penetrate into your tissues, soothing muscles and easing joint pain.
We are not doctors or claim to be medical experts in any way, so obviously check with your GP before trying any form of thermal bathing when you suspect you may be peri/menopausal. All we know for sure is it has helped a certain member of our team ……………. 🙂