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Can Hypnotherapy Help Me During Menopause?
3 ways to incorporate hypnosis into your life to manage menopausal symptoms.
by Claire Jack Ph.D.

If you are going through menopause, you may find yourself researching alternative and complementary ways of dealing with the hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and other symptoms which so many women experience at this time. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is commonly prescribed to women to help with menopausal symptoms, but HRT is not suitable for everyone and is associated with a small, but relevant, risk of causing cancer.

One approach which is recommended by the North American Menopause Society for the management of menopause symptoms is hypnotherapy(1).
Whilst Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to help reduce the stress experienced from hot flashes2 and yoga can help women improve their sleep and reduce anxiety(3), hypnotherapy has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes in addition to helping with mild depression and anxiety. Research has shown that focusing on cooling imagery whilst in a state of hypnosis allows for greater control over hot flashes and can help prevent them altogether. In fact, hypnosis has been shown to reduce hot flashes and night sweats by up to 74%, showing it to be as effective as HRT in managing these symptoms4.

Here are three techniques you can practice.

1. Cool imagery. Take some time to allow yourself to access a relaxed, calm state. If you have a favourite meditation or breathing technique to help you reach this state, use that. Otherwise, imagine you’re breathing a cool, silvery light in through your nose and allowing it to flow all the way down through your body as you exhale. Keep repeating this process and say to yourself, “I am becoming more and more relaxed” after every breath. When you’re in this relaxed state, imagine what, for you, is the most lovely cooling sensation you can think of. For instance, you might imagine the cooling feeling of stepping into a swimming pool or being outside, feeling a cool breeze on your skin. Focus all your attention on this image and feeling, imagining it flowing through your body. Next time you feel a hot flash, focus your mind on this cooling sensation.

2. Your future self. Imagine how you would like to feel in six months time. Close your eyes and imagine this in as much detail as you can – seeing what’s in that image, noticing the sounds and scents, and stepping into the scene of that future you. Focus on how you will feel at that time. Work out what you need to do to create this future you. This might include taking more time for yourself, incorporating yoga or other exercise into your life and working out what it is you really want from life at this stage. Keep returning to this visualisation – the more you do it, the more real it will feel, which is a great motivator to put those changes into place.

3. Flash control dial Imagine you’re in a room and on one wall, there is a dial which goes all the way from 0 to 10. 0 represents a comfortable, pleasant coolness. 10 represents feeling very hot (like you would on a very hot day or during a hot flash). Close your eyes and imagine where you are on this scale. Now try turning the dial up a few notches and feel your body heat rise. Hold for a few seconds, and now turn it down to as close to zero as you can, feeling your body heat reduce. Go up and down this way for a few times, controlling your body heat and then set the dial at a comfortable level. If you practice this on your own in advance of hot flashes, the next time you experience a flash, you can use this “Flash Control Dial” to turn the heat down, simply by imagining it.

Hypnosis is an incredibly powerful tool in helping us to reconnect and gain control of our bodies, in addition to allowing us to visualise the lives we deserve to lead and to begin to make those visualisations come true.  If you feel hypnotherapy would benefit you, please find a hypnotherapist who specialises in working with women during the menopause.

Clare Jack PhD. Visit Clares web site: https://www.academyinnermind.co.uk/


References          
  1. North American Menopause Society (2015) Nonhormonal management of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms: 2015 position statement of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause, 22, 1155-1174
  2. Keefer, L & Blanchard, EB (2005) A behavioural group treatment program for menopausal hot flashes: results of a pilot study. Appl Psuchophysiol Beedback, 30, 21-30
  3. Cramer, H, Lauche, R, Langhorst, J, Dobos, G. (2012) Effectiveness of yoga for menopausal symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012:863-905.
  4. Elkins, G, Fisher, WI, Johnson, AK et al (2012) Clinical hypnosis in the treatment of postmenopausal hot flashes. Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society DOI: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31826ce3ed
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