Hot flushes

Hot flushes are a common problem amongst women in their menopausal years. In fact 90% of women can expect to experience menopausal symptoms of which the hot flush is the most common. It is an experience characterised by flushing of the skin of the upper part of the body, sweating, a sensation of heat and associated feelings of unwellness. Interestingly, the hot flush can be worsened or brought on by stress. In fact many women report that high-pressure situations greatly worsen the number and severity of the flushes that they experience. Also, women report that their flushes improve somewhat when they are calm and relaxed.

With this in mind we set up a pilot trial of hot flushes for menopausal women. Ten women were enrolled into an eight-week program. The frequency and severity of their hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms were recorded using standard methods before and after the 8 week program.

The results were very impressive with all women experiencing improvement in their condition. In fact 9 out of the 10 women reported at least 50% reductions in the frequency of their hot flushes. Six of these women had a 65-70% improvement in their hot flushes which, after eight weeks of meditation “treatment”, is comparable to that seen in conventional hormone replacement therapy! In addition, standard measures of quality of life and symptom profiles showed similar degrees of improvement. We are now planning a larger, randomised, controlled trial to more conclusively determine the potential for meditation in this troublesome problem.

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