Menopause is defined as the first full year after your last menstrual period. In the few years prior to Menopause there is Peri-menopause. Peri-menopause is the few years that lead up to the last period and the year after your menstruation stops.
In Menopause and peri-menopause the ovaries decline in their production of oestrogen and progesterone, as well as several other hormones. This creates changes in the woman’s body such as
• Bone density decline
• Hot flashes or night sweats
• Cardiovascular health
• Mood swings
• Decrease in size of muscles
• Joint and muscle aches and pain
• And many more …
Menopause is very individual. Having been through it, I can say I’m happy to be on the other side, but it is manageable. There are many good women’s health doctors, and I can highly recommend The Australasian Menopause Society to help find a good medical practitioner and resources on their website https://www.menopause.org.au/
Massage and Menopause (and Peri-menopause)
In my experience of over 20 years as a Remedial Massage Therapist, I have witnessed and helped many women during this transition phase. In the clinic we commonly see certain conditions that women in the 45- to 55-year-old age group, most common time for menopause to occur, suffer from:
• Frozen shoulder
• Plantar fasciitis
• Hip or Shoulder bursitis
• Issues with tendons in fingers, hands, feet
• Joint pain and stiffness
• Muscle aches that start in maybe a shoulder, then that heals, and it randomly starts up again in a hip or foot
I’m also aware of what worked for me.
Medicinal treatments are available such as HRT and natural medications. But please, don’t just randomly purchase vitamins or supplements you have seen on social media or TV. Get expert advice from your GP and Naturopath.
How massage can help
The beauty of Remedial Massage Therapists is that we are taught to assess and learn basic pathology and combine that with experience and good resources, such as Massage Pathology and reference material we can make a difference with your Menopause journey.
This flowing style of massage is soothing and can calm the nervous system. Evidence based research shows it can reduce cortisol and nor-adrenaline levels as well as raise your endorphins, and serotonin, the happy hormones. This means:
• better quality sleep
• reduction of anxiety and mood swings
• reduced feelings of depression
We use various types of stretching during and after a massage that helps to restore joint and limb mobility and therefore decrease pain.
This slow targeted massage and stretching technique is brilliant for releasing the fascia (connective tissue) around muscles and joints and creating space for movement
Like Myofascial Release the cupping we use slides with oil over the skin, lifting the layers of the skin and superficial fascia creating space and helping to encourage movement. We will also get the client to move the limb for optimal results.
Trigger Pint Release
This is done in conjunction with many of the above-mentioned techniques. We identify a Trigger Point (TrP) by asking questions and palpating (feeling or touching). They can be very clever and refer pain to else where in the body. A great example are tension headaches that come form the Upper Trapezius muscles on top of the shoulders.
As you can see, there is quite a lot of help if you know where to look. Every woman’s journey is unique, and I have found many similarities between mothers and daughters, so if you can, ask your mum.
Finally, I have found, movement helps considerably. How you move is up to you, walk, run, gym, yoga, Pilates, but try to do a little bit every day.
Good luck ladies we are always here to help.
You’re in good hands!