This was originally posted in 2010 at the Energetic Connection
Just the Facts
Heat and energy surges are the most common symptoms identified by menopausal women–75% of those surveyed have hot flashes or heat-related issues. They are all willing to share their solutions and ideas, yet continue to look for reasons and additional remedies. Maybe you have a good one to share…let us know. It appears to be a time of great surrender, as the hot flashes are oftentimes considered uncontrollable, intense, electrical surges of overwhelming heat.
Women who are taking bio-identical hormones or are participating in traditional HRT methods continue to experience the same sensation of heat (it often strikes at night in bed, abruptly awakening them) rushing up from the mid and lower body sections into the head. Some of the practical solutions to this heat include remote control fans; raw and cooling foods; decrease or elimination of sugary foods, especially before bed; and anything that channels the energy down into the lower body, among others.
Most women are ‘toughing it out’ while looking for the deeper meaning or reason for this incredible heat to establish a positive ground of being for something that affects their lives up to 30 times a day in some cases. All participants (100%) stated interest in and practice of consciousness raising exercises and information.
Remedies and Responses
“S” from Santa Fe, NM: What has proven helpful to me (in curbing hot flashes): 1) sufficient amounts of water; 2) minimize carbs, especially refined sugar; 3) bio-identical hormones; 4) very small of these products from cow—meat, cheese, butter; 5) Yoga; 6) meditation and energy/breathing techniques. The only symptom that still remains and occurs very seldom is the exact same one that you described– heat-like surges that feel very nervous system oriented and are very uncomfortable physically and emotionally…like anxious, angry, irritating, nervy surges.”
“L” from Glastonbury, England: “Yes, I believe it (consciousness and enlightenment) is a gift.”
“J” from Albuquerque, NM: “You mean enough heat to light up NYC?” “I I feel my guides are waking me up to show me things. so you could call that re-wiring.
“K” from Santa Cruz, CA: “The funniest experience I had was my very first “hot flash.” I was at a Halloween party and was dressed as the Statue of Liberty. It was crowded and I sat on the front porch to get a breath of air…(when it happened) I became immediately drenched from my head to my toes. I looked at my husband and loudly exclaimed, “I’m having a hot flash!” Since I had been looking forward to starting menopause, I was very happy and it was quite ‘liberating.'”
“S” from Santa Fe, NM: What has proven helpful to me: 1) sufficient amounts of water; 2) minimize carbs, especially refined sugar; 3) bio-identical hormones; 4) very small of these products from cow—meat, cheese, butter; 5) Yoga; 6) meditation and energy/breathing techniques. The only symptom that still remains and occurs very seldom is the exact same one that you described– heat-like surges that feel very nervous system oriented and are very uncomfortable physically and emotionally…like anxious, angry, irritating, nervy surges.”
“S” from Carson City, NV: “Make sure you have a remote control for your ceiling fan over your bed.” I ‘m pretty good at rolling over, clicking it on and then clicking it off without waking up too much!”
“L” from Santa Barbara, CA: “I still have trouble sleeping; simple things like all organic bedding, a good mattress and fresh air seem really helpful, but as you know my favorite is Pilates!”
“N” from Nova Scotia, Canada: “My intuition is getting better. The quiet voice that says ‘do this or that’ in the form of a thought was likely always there, but now it is dawning on me that it is vital, (so) I listen to it. In the past I would have brushed it aside. Now I give it credence. I believe this is because my priorities have shifted; I’m less invested in the outcome of things and care more about being in flow, in process. I am not stuck on controlling the outcome of a situation, so when the voice pipes up, I am open enough to listen.
”K” from Santa Fe, NM: ”I believe that yoga has helped me mentally–probably has kept my mind sharper during menopause while helping soothe chronic pain from old injuries and old body image problems. I plan to keep at yoga, and be a powerful yogini by the time I’m 70!”
“L” from Seattle: “My surges are subsiding, but they still surprise me at times. Here are some things I’ve done to increase my comfort: 1) avoid that dessert at a late meal – any sugar can make me really run hot and make for a fitful sleep; 2) layers in bedding so I can adjust my covers to my comfort at night, and the same approach to clothing, can help me gracefully handle a physical response to my surges; 3) there is no avoiding stressful situations, such as public speaking or the occasional embarrassing moment. You are right that deep breathing to calm the nerves really helps in these situations!
“K” from Saratoga Springs, NY: “Absolutely! (When I am) thinking of an uncommon word, I hear it on the radio or television… thinking of a person for the first time in months, I get a call…”
“M” from Carmel, CA and Santa Fe, NM: “Hot flashes were the first symptom. First thing I did was cut out all dairy, wheat and especially sugar (I don’t drink coffee, but if I did, I would have stopped that too). The hot flashes went away as long as I remained on this “diet.” Whenever I went off, they returned. So, the next step was trying homeopathic drops custom made from a saliva sample. It worked so well, that after about a year, I forgot to take them for 4 days and NO symptoms at all! I never took the drops again, and as long as I reduce my intake of those foods, I don’t get any symptoms. At this time, I didn’t need to entirely eliminate the foods, just cut down on them.”
The Heat in My Life
When I first had hot flashes they were sweet, warm, cozy and inspiring little surges of energy running up my spine flushing my heart, chest, shoulders, neck and head. It was Winter time and I welcomed their presence. I loved these moments that started one January, about eight years ago, lasting only a month each time they visited. They were accompanied by amenorrhea each time they cycled through in consecutive months each year (i.e. year one: January; year two: February, etc.). There were six visits in all. Finally in 2006 the symptoms appeared in the heat of the Summer and lasted 4 months. They were no longer the sweet little surges, instead becoming angry, hot, unmanageable emotional waves of dizzying electrical energy. I didn’t sleep that entire Summer, nor did I go out in public much because I was always so incredibly pissed off…I was jumping out of my very sensitive skin!
One of my teeth zinged in agony to the degree I had it pulled to ease the stress of such incredible pain (as opposed to a root canal). By December I was a total wreck and decided to change my diet completely because the hot, spicy food I was eating made things much worse. Sugar–desserts and in the form of fruit, even bread and crackers–triggered hot flashes for me. I was lucky though; these were not the sweaty versions of heat I’ve heard many women experience. In addition, I began using liver support herbs and slowly eliminated animal products from my food plan as well, eventually turning to a raw vegan lifestyle in the Summer of 2008. It’s been a year now since I’ve had anything but raw-vegan foods, and it honestly changed my life in many ways above and beyond hot flash control.
In Summer 2007 I enrolled in a yoga class that focused on meridian balancing and grounding of the subtle energies. At the time, this physical practice saved me! My head and neck relaxed, I felt as though the rogue energies were in fact grounded and the overwhelming heat pretty much disappeared. Those hot flashes were then few and far between. I experienced heat rising only once or twice daily compared with one or more an hour the summer before.
More recently, Restorative Yoga is one of the remedies I’ve found really useful for both menopausal symptoms and life tools in general. It not only relaxes my mind, it works on a much deeper level with the autonomic (sympathetic and parasympathetic) nervous system by decreasing the (reactive) stress response and increasing the (response-able) rest response. This part of our nervous system correlates with the energies of Moon and Sun, Yin and Yang, hot and cold, right and left, male and female.. The blasts of heat in hot flashes are very male oriented, and just happen to come from the Sun side of the energetic equivalent to our sympathetic (active, male, stress response) nervous system.
I’ve since tried to go back to a more active (male) Yoga practice without much immediate benefit as this tends to trigger heat in my meridians and emotional angst. This may not be true for everyone, yet for me, I’m hooked on Restorative Yoga right now! I also practice several exercises from the meridian balancing yoga each day as well. Here’s a sampling which may help you too.
Toe Tapping: (Something from Dahn Yoga) Lie on your back in a comfortable position: prop up your head a little with a low blanket or pillow and under your lower thighs and knees if you want to relax even further, and especially to protect your low back. Feet are a few inches apart. Keeping your ankles relatively still, begin tapping your big toes together. Breath naturally and keep tapping. See if you can make the movement happen from the hip joints. Try to tap at least 100 times. When you are finished, feel the energy in your feet, legs and lower body. Just relax and breath. I do 500-1,000 toe taps each night before I turn out the lights to sleep. Once, during a workshop, I did toe taps for 30 minute straight! Wow, did it channel the energy in a very positive and healing way!
Cooling Breath: (From traditional yoga) Relax in that same comfortable position on your back. Begin by breathing naturally for a few rounds. Now, curl your tongue, making a tube through which the air funnels into your mouth. Breathe in through the tongue roll and out through your nose. Feel the cool air coming in to cool your brain. Feel the hot air going out through your nose and out of your head. Repeat this about 12 times any time of day or night. It’s especially good for anyone who has a hot head…like me!
Su-Seung-Hwa-Gang: Water Up, Fire Down (from Dahn Yoga). Breathe in, visualizing cool water moving up your spine into your head. Breathe out, visualizing hot Fire moving down away from your head into your abdomen, storing it for digestion. The abdomen (2nd & 3rd Chakras) is both a storage center and an energy generator. Don’t force it, just visualize the energy cycling in this way, allowing it to work naturally. This exercise is based on Taoist philosophy and relates to our most healthy states of being, physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s origins are in the rhythms of nature. Sun shines down onto the plants, and water is taken up through the roots from various sources.
In the next Fuel for the Fire blog I will further address the question posed last issue: “Middle aged women are poised and ready to become truly enlightened, more than anyone else on this planet, especially if they refrain from having sex.” I’d like to share some ideas about the origins of that statement and what it means to me as well as many others with whom I’ve spoken.
Here is a little peak at what’s to come: This comment is not really about celibacy or stopping sexual relations on any level, although that certainly could be the case if that is your choice. It’s more about the physical and energetic intentions and existence of our inner ability to cultivate and channel female sexual energy, using it to fuel our own creativity, our ability to manifest in this world and to nourish our bodies (meaning as always, mental, emotional and physical) so we are more open and connected to spirit.
The awareness and channeling of female creative energies will also help you with your menopausal symptoms, especially heat. While the medical world can certainly belittle these physical experiences we have during this major life transition, giving us the brush off or a drug of some sort, we know there is something special about this energy and what we feel is actually a spiritual experience. Whether you see it as kundalini rising, meridian energy balancing, spiritual healing or some other related energetic phenomenon, we are watching our cells rapidly transform before us.
If you are interested in taking a look for yourselves and commenting for the next blog, there are two books I recommend: “The Magdalene Manuscript,” by Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion; “Healing Love through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy,” by Mantak Chia.