Search results for yoga and hot flashes

New Flash! In the Pipeline: Hot Flashes!

Posted by on Sep 22, 2008 in hot flash | 1 comment

Listen up!

A consortium of five research centers in the Boston Area are dedicating their time to researching remedies for hot flashes and night sweats. The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring the five-year, $22 million initiative.

Harvard Medical School Researchers Dr. Lee Cohen and Dr. Hadine Joffe are leading the effort, which is focusing on both low-dose hormones and most importantly, alternative approaches.  Randomized studies will be exploring the following therapies:

  • antidepressants
  • yoga
  • relaxation breathing
  • exercise
  • low-dose estradiol patches and gel

Other clinical trials are also underway. If you’re interested in learning more or volunteering for a study, here’s a complete listing of those that are actively recruiting volunteers.

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Wednesday Bubble: the menopause ‘expert’

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


Does anyone else find it ironic that in a society where aging is taboo, menopause is the next big ‘thing?’ Yes, retailers, charlatans and ‘experts in everything menopause’ abound and they want you to believe that what they are selling will cure all that ails.

As I have written time and again on this blog, ‘one size fits all’ is a bad approach to health and wellbeing. Universally, many of us experience hot flashes or night sweats or mood swings or dizziness. But individually? Your challenges are unlikely to be exactly the same as mine, which is why I consistently recommend that you see a practitioner before trying any treatment  or management strategy. All I can do is provide the information to allow you to make informed choices with someone who is trained in medicine or naturopathy, or herbal therapy or acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine or yoga, or bioidentical hormone therapy or HRT. But take note:  despite what we would like, no, love to believe, chewing a menopause gum will not eliminate your hot flashes. Drinking a menopause drink is unlikely to balance out those mood swings. A bed fan may not make you and your partner more comfortable as you sweat the night away. And, a shaman is probably not going to collectively alter a bunch of chakras via a video series.

Am I angry? As a matter of act, I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore. And neither should you.

Am I for sale? No, I am not for sale nor is the blog a platform for others to take advantage of you. My promise since starting this blog echoes how I live my life: straight, no shooter, no bullshit, no games, honesty, sincerity and integrity. I am not trying to convince you that my way is the highway. Rather, my goal is and has always been to provide you with the most current, scientifically-driven information so that decisions and choices are well-informed and methodical. And when I review a product, it is an honest review framed by full disclosure. Moreover, while I try to be as objective as possible, this blog is not journalistically driven but rather, informed by my personal experiences and may, at times, reflect my subjective views. As always, I leave to you to decide what information you can use and what information you want to dispose of.

If you are wondering about the impetus for this post, let’s just say that for months now, I have participated in a LinkedIn group where I observed the voices of the well informed being drowned out by the collective who don’t have your best interest at heart. And, after one of these members crossed a line and used the platform to send me a form letter blatantly inquiring if I would pimp her product and become a shill for her program, I decided to sever both ties.

The Menopause Industrial Complex is becoming very noisy. It is going to be harder and harder to discern reality from fantasy and real strategies from snake oil. When someone calls themselves an ‘expert’ step back and do your homework. Look deeply into their background, credentials and experience. Ask about their training, skill set and think about their motivation. Then step back and do it again. And then talk to other women who have used what they are selling. Always question testimonials, studies that only survey a bunch of people via the web or have only been conducted in animals. A money back guarantee is not a guarantee of success. And one size fits all rarely works.  Mostly? Trust your gut. If it smells like a rat and looks like a rat, it’s probably a rat.


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Got Stress?

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in stress | 2 comments


Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? All I can say is that maybe some of us need an entire year! That’s why I as devoting today to stress busting posts with tips aimed at ameliorating some of that stress out of your life, and in turn, ameliorating some of the more unpleasant parts of the transition. And while I can’t make any guarantees, I can confirm that learning to relax and let go can pave the way to wellbeing.

A few highlights from the Flashfree archives await!

From December, 2011: Mindfulness, meditation and stress. Learning to bring on the relaxation response can go a long way towards health and happiness.

From November, 2011: Yoga, insomnia and sleep quality. Don’t know about you but when I don’t sleep well, I react in ways that are not always beneficial. Apparently, yoga not only promotes better sleep patterns, but also, helps to boost stress resistance.

From March, 2011: Try a little mindfulness. It appears that by breaking down the components of one’s experience, you may be better equipped to handle a variety of situations. And although this particular information applies to hot flashes, the reality is that it is likely useful in all aspect of life.

From July, 2009: Why I bake. Sometimes simply incorporating pleasurable activities into our lives can help alleviate daily stressors. One of the web’s top social researchers says that baking is her path towards relaxation.

From September, 2009: The best medicine. Want to feel better? Laugh…to the point of tears.

From August, 2008: L’Chaim. Women gravitate towards ‘tending and befriending.’ No wonder; social support can go a long way towards alleviating stress.


What tricks of the relaxation trade work best for you? Care to share them?

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The alternative alternative: physician-prescribed alternative medicine

Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Meditation/mindfulness therapy | 8 comments

In addition to exploring mid-life emotional, physical and social issues, Flashfree is about effective alternatives to hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. A huge challenge in this arena is that alternatives are often automatically dismissed as “woo woo” medicine, with naysayers claiming that there is little scientific evidence to support their use. Nevertheless, I have long believed that with the proper considerations and adjustments to the way that medical studies are conducted, findings might prove to be very different than they are. That’s why I’m heartened to read that  mind-body medicine, which includes yoga, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing, comprises a large portion of the types of practices that are being incorporated into everyday life (and medicine).

Is the tide turning?

It may be, at least when it comes to mind-body strategies.

According to a study in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, over 41 million Americans report trying some sort mind-body strategy. More importantly? About 1/8th, or  6.36 million of these individuals are using these strategies on the recommendation of their healthcare providers, most of which involves deep breathing, meditation and yoga or a combination thereof. Moreover, complementary strategies are apparently suggested mostly in people who have chronic illness, such as pulmonary disease or anxiety. On a broader level, physicians are increasingly recommending mind-body therapy to individuals with neurological deficiencies including headaches, migraines, back pain with sciatica, strokes, dementia, seizures or memory loss.  Meanwhile, in so far as menopausally-related symptoms, there is evidence that mind-body medicine may ease hot flashes and promote overall wellbeing (which in turn, eases symptom severity).

For something that is as easy and safe as mind-body medicine, one has to wonder why it’s taking so long to catch on. And yet, the question remains: are physicians starting to turn to alternative or complementary strategies because conventional medicine isn’t working or has been just about exhausted for a particular condition or patient? Is it possible that physician recommended alternative strategies lead to better outcomes or declines in use of the healthcare system? Only time will tell.

Stay tuned.

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Just breathe

Posted by on Mar 15, 2010 in Paced respiration/deep breathing | 2 comments


Are you having hot flashes? If you are like about 75% of menopausal women, you’re likely to experience a hot flash in some form or the other. In fact, researchers say that some women only have 5 a year while others might have as many as 50 a day. Yikes – that’s some serious flashing.

I’ve spent a lot of time in search of alternatives to hormones for you women out there who are flashing regularly. And more alternatives. The one consistent factor in all of these solutions, whether it’s yoga, black cohosh, acupuncture or hops, is that some women respond and others don’t. What’s also consistent is that there are few really well designed clinical trials examining alternative therapies.

The latest strategy that I’ve run across is slow, deep breathing (also called “paced respiration”). In three separate studies, women who practiced slow, deep breathing over a period of six to eight weeks experienced a decline in the frequency of their hot flashes by as much as 50% compared with biofeedback or muscle relaxation exercise. Another study showed that when deep breathing was combined with mental focusing, the intensity of the flash also declined.

About paced respiration

Paced respiration, slow, deep, controlled breathing from one’s diaphragm is a painless, relaxing approach to controlling hot flashes. Experts recommend that women find a quiet, private place.

1) Keep the rib cage as still as possible and inhale slowly for five seconds using the stomach muscles.(You should notice your abdominal muscles extending and distending, not your rib cage or shoulders.)

2) Exhale slowly over five seconds, again, using the stomach muscles.

3) Practice twice daily, preferably in the morning and evenings for at least 15 minutes. The focus should be on the breathe and nothing else.

When you feel a hot flash coming on, start inhalation and then exhalation slowly until the flash passes.

Interestingly, experts who have studied this technique are unsure why it works in some women. However, I do like the idea of using relaxation and focus to stave off a hot flash. Have you tried this? Does it work? I’d love to know!

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