1. Manual lymphatic drainage treatment

What does the treatment involve?

Developed by Dr Emil Vodder in 1930 in France, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is performed to shift excess lymph and fluid out of tissues and back into the lymphatic vessels. Unlike traditional forms of massage that rely on deep and rigorous pressing and rubbing, MLD uses light, flowing strokes of massage in specific patterns to alleviate lymph edema.

The procedure, it is believed, will encourage the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues.

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An MLD session usually takes 30 to 50 minutes, but may extend to 90 minutes depending on the condition being treated. For menopausal women, we recommend sessions twice a week, say Sandra Perez and Elena Naranjo from Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre.

How can it help?

Bloating – a sensation of feeling extremely full and being stuffed, or discomfort or swelling in the abdomen – can be an effect of perimenopause and menopause due to fluctuating hormones during this period of a woman’s life. The feeling is likely to reduce after some time when the ovaries reduce the production of oestrogen.

Lifestyle modifications, medications and MLD can help in reducing the  symptoms during perimenopause and menopause.

MLD, with its decongestive benefits, helps drain the affected tissues of excess water and protein that are then eliminated via the lymphatic system. This type of massage also relaxes the body, reduces stress and helps contribute to quality sleep due to its effect on the nervous system by releasing serotonin and catecholamine.

How good is it?

A study conducted in Japan provided women who were experiencing menopausal symptoms such as edema and fatigue with simplified MLD for 30 minutes. A saliva test done post treatment revealed that the cortisol (also called the ‘stress hormone’) level in their system was 44 per cent less than before they underwent MLD. The women also reported feeling ‘lighter’ and ‘better’.

Information courtesy of Sandra Perez & Elena Naranjo, nutrition coaches and physiotherapists at Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre.

2. Exercise

Keep improving cardiovascular health with interval and circuit training

Strength training with cardio

From around age 30, women begin losing roughly 1 per cent of their muscle mass each year. This could lead to weight gain that is fat-based as muscle burns fat.

The process can be reversed by weight training for major muscle groups: think those in the legs, arms, core, and butt. An increased in amount of resistance over time is key.

Keep improving cardiovascular health with interval and circuit training. Workouts such as Pilates can help with posture, balance and core strength. Stretching, especially for those desk bound, is key to maintaining flexibility as women age.

Information courtesy of Sandra Perez & Elena Naranjo, nutrition coaches and physiotherapists at Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre.

3. Nutrition

A rich variety of veggies and fruits in a diet helps maintain body weight while meeting micronutrient needs, preventing cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis

Many of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause can be alleviated with good nutrition. This includes consuming slow-digesting, high-fibre carbohydrates at most meals, while avoiding refined carbohydrates. A rich variety of veggies and fruits in a diet helps maintain body weight while also meeting micronutrient needs, preventing cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis. Legume consumption must be upped for its supply of minerals and vitamins, fibre and protein, as well as phytoestrogens. Studies have associated refined pasta and rice with an earlier age of natural menopause.

Protein consumption is also crucial. One palm-sized portion of protein at most meals is a good goal.

During menopause, calcium needs increase to about 1200 mg a day for bone health. Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese and other dairy products, green leafy vegetables, canned salmon with bones or sardines.

Ample amount of water and moderating salt intake helps with water retention and breast tenderness, as well as skin quality. Stay away from excessive amounts of caffeine in coffee, tea, energy drinks, or medications such as painkillers, as they can aggravate symptoms such as breast tenderness or migraines.

Flaxseeds may help reduce menopausal symptoms with its plant compounds called lignans, which with the help of intestinal bacteria can be converted to weak oestrogens.

Healthy fats and Omega-3 fatty acids help with symptoms too, especially hot flashes, depressive symptoms and memory decline.

Women who have stopped menstruating will only need about 8 mg of iron a day, down from about 18mg when they were younger.

Information courtesy of Sandra Perez & Elena Naranjo, nutrition coaches and physiotherapists at Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre.

4. Homeopathy

The homeopathic approach treats the symptoms and also helps improve wellbeing

Menopause is the transitional phase in a woman’s reproductive life that gradually takes place from the late 40s, though some women may experience it as early as in the 30s or as late as in the 60s due to various factors, says Homeopathy practitioner Dr Vimala Lewis. Certain surgeries and chemotherapy can also induce menopause.

What does a homeopathic treatment involve?

In some individuals hormone replacement therapy is contraindicated due to medical reasons. In such cases,   they may opt for natural therapies such as homeopathy.

Menopause, it must be stressed, is a natural process and not a disease or condition, and homeopathic medicines can help alleviate the symptoms associated with this phase of their life including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, joint pains, sleep disturbances and forgetfulness. 

How can the treatment help?

Homeopathic medicines are highly individualised remedies that treat the person with a holistic approach. The physical and emotional symptoms are considered, and appropriate remedies can help to reduce or even avoid hormone replacement therapy. An appropriate diet and nutrition plan is also a part of the treatment. Medicines are prescribed only after a detailed consultation.

What is the periodicity of treatment?

This differs from person to person and also on how quickly an individual responds to the prescribed medicine. Sometimes, the symptoms of menopause are compounded by the fast pace of modern life, the constant exposure to stress, inappropriate diet and lack of exercise. Taking steps to tackle all of these factors while simultaneously following the treatment protocol will reflect positively on the patient’s condition. The homeopathic approach not only treats the symptoms but also helps in improving overall general health and wellbeing.

Information courtesy of homeopathy practitioner Dr Vimala Lewis.