Insights, Audios, & Research on Mastering Menopause (Spoiler Alert: It Ain’t All Bad, Ladies!)
Here are some questions we’ve gotten about menopause. Lest this laundry list of symptoms gets you thinking this phase of life is nothing but the complete pits, let me just insert a reminder that there are two sides to this coin. Yes, there may be hot flashes, night sweats, interrupted sleep; possibly some weight gain, loss of sexual interest, anxiety about aging, depression… (although some will escape all of the above).
But there can just as likely be a sense of liberation, empowerment, renewed creativity, and a redefinition of self: more focus on being a voice to be heard, as opposed to something to look at admiringly.
My advice from the vantage point of my 7th decade? Don’t make yourself crazy about keeping your looks and imitating youth. That just makes you more vulnerable to Time and Life, and sooner or later, you’ll die on that hill, a pretty unhappy dame who failed at that enterprise. Embrace the power of your innards and learn ways to use your voice. That’s where aging gives you the advantage. Just sayin’….
Anyway, here are some great questions:
What guided imagery would you recommend for menopause? I am being taken off HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and would love some help with the hot flashes and mood swings. I am not sure if you have anything already available since I have just discovered guided imagery. Thanks.
Here’s my answer:
Yes, we have imagery called Mastering Menopause and it’s designed to help with hot flashes, mood uplift and stabilization, and sleep, as well as reinforce self-esteem and reframe dumb ideas, all too prevalent in our culture, about beauty, aging and the presumed loss of value that results.
There’s been consistent research to show that relaxation, guided imagery, and mindfulness meditation can reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. An investigator named Gary Elkins at Baylor University has cranked out several pilot studies1 and clinical trials2 on the power of hypnotic guided imagery on hot flashes.
One pilot offered 13 women 5 sessions of recorded, self-guided, hypnotic imagery. They monitored their symptoms by keeping diaries. Results showed that the average frequency of hot flashes decreased by 72% (p < .001) on average, and the intensity of the hot flashes decreased by 76% (p < .001) on average. That’s not too shabby for a brief, safe, non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical, audio intervention. Hormone replacement therapy is considered risky for some women with pre-existing conditions, and for most women after taking it for a certain number of years.
A later randomized, single-blind, controlled, clinical trial with 187 women by the same investigator validated these results, showing that, as compared to controls, the five weekly sessions produced a mean reduction of 74.16% in frequency of hot flashes (p < 0.001>) and 80.32% in mean intensity (p < 0.001>). At the 12-week follow-up, the impact was somewhat reduced, but still significantly present. In addition, there were improvements in sleep quality and general treatment satisfaction.
Elkins also did a randomized clinical trial3 investigating the impact of hypnotic guided imagery on sexual function for post-menopausal women, showing significant improvement in sexual pleasure and comfort following 5 weekly sessions as compared with controls. Interestingly enough, at the 12-week follow-up, scores had improved slightly. (Success breeds success!)
We also have some well-loved guided imagery that promotes Healthful Sleep in case you're having difficulties there - for a lot of women, that’s the most prevalent and peskiest symptom – and interestingly enough, it’s not always identified as being associated with menopause, and gets treated as something separate.
Additionally, I should mention that early studies by Jeanne Achterberg showing guided imagery’s efficacy at knitting fractured bones back together supports the notion that guided imagery can promote bone health and strength – another challenge that is often connected with aging, especially for smaller women.
I hope this helps!!
Good luck with switching off HRT for something that is hopefully at least equally effective, and certainly safer and pleasanter!!
And here’s a question we got about weight from Belinda:
I used your Weight Loss CD back in 2003 and lost 32 lbs. listening to it while doing the South Beach diet plan. Unfortunately, in the past year or so I have gained all and more of that weight back, while I struggle with the symptoms of peri-menopause (hot flashes) and am presently 40 lbs. overweight.
As a result, my MD advised today that at 145/97, my BP is too high and requires medication. He has given me 5 weeks to effect a change before the meds will begin.
Which of your CDs would be best to bring my BP down? Also, I have tried the Weight Loss CD recently and it doesn't seem to be enough at this point. Are there any dangers in tapes with subliminal messaging like the one you offer in your catalog?
Thanks so much and I am a huge fan. Many people have tried your CDs on my advice and love them!
I wrote back:
Our Healthy Heart CD or Emmett Miller's Down with High Blood Pressure would be good for your hypertension, but so would our Relieve Stress, the General Wellness and the Relaxation & Wellness imagery, because any effective relaxation creates a biochemical chain that reduces blood pressure, too. So I'd try one or two of those for starters.
As for the sticky weight, I can commiserate - it's true that it's harder to lose weight as we age, and any loss of muscle mass that might occur will slow progress down even more.... but not impossible!
There are plenty of recent studies showing the power of guided imagery to reduce weight and motivate a more active lifestyle4.
David Illig’s Weight Loss CD, which has some subliminal messages, is a terrific Ericksonian self-hypnosis CD and definitely worth trying. I've read the messages he has under the music (and you can partially hear some of them, too) and they are positive, simple, and motivating. By all means, give it a try.
Another audio that you might really like is Traci Stein’s Healthy Weight during Sleep – that’s a menopausal two-fer, being as how it facilitates sleep along with promoting a healthier weight.
Take care and good luck with getting that BP down!
You can do this!
1. Elkins G1, Johnson A, Fisher W, Sliwinski J, Keith T. A pilot investigation of guided self-hypnosis in the treatment of hot flashes among postmenopausal women. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2013;61(3):342-50.
3. Johnson AK1, Johnson AJ1, Barton D2, Elkins G1. Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy and Sexual Function in PostmenopausalWomen: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2016;64(2):213-24
4. Solbrig L1,2, Whalley B1, Kavanagh DJ3,4, May J1, Parkin T5, Jones R6, Andrade J7. Functional Imagery training versus motivational interviewing for weight loss: a randomised controlled trial of brief individual interventions for overweight and obesity. Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Apr;43(4):883-894. And Renner F1, Murphy FC2, Ji JL3, Manly T2, Holmes EA4. Mental Imagery as a "motivational amplifier" to promote activities. Behav Res Ther. 2019 Mar;114:51-59.