Hot (and other) Yoga for Hot Flashes

The arrival of menopause, also known as "the change", can present some ups and some downs for women. Usually occurring around the age of 51, menopause means a happy end to menstruation, but waning hormones often brings a number of other bothersome symptoms, one of which is hot flashes.

Creating sensations of intense heat in the face, neck, chest, or core, hot flashes begin and leave suddenly, often producing profuse sweating which can lead to an uncomfortable chill when the flash subsides. The intensity and duration of hot flashes differ for every woman. Some may experience one or two mild daily occurrences, while others suffer from intense hot flashes on an hourly basis.

A number of experts in the field of women's health and menopause recommend the practice of hoy yoga for controlling hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Practiced in a heated room with a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, Bikram yoga (also known as hot yoga) might not seem an obvious choice, however the detoxifying properties that this type of yoga proves comforting to some women.

Supporting Research

A recent study supports anecdotal evidence that yoga can lower the frequency of hot flashes in women. Researchers examined 54 late perimenopausal and postmenopausal participants between 45 and 58 years of age who experienced a minimum of four hot flashes daily for one month or longer. Women were selected randomly to engage in a weekly yoga or health and wellness education class for 10 weeks with the remainder of participants placed on a wait list.

All subjects recorded frequency and severity of hot flashes in a daily diary during the trial period. Results showed a significant decline in hot flashes for all groups with the largest decline experienced in the first week. While the yoga group showed a decrease in hot flashes of 66 percent, the health and wellness group reported a 63 percent reduction, and the wait list group showed a reduction in hot flash frequency of 36 percent.

Specific Yoga Poses that Provide Relief

Many yoga instructors recommend restorative poses for balancing fluctuating hormones. Reclining hero, reclining bound-angle pose, and head-to-knee pose can all help reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. In relaxing the nervous system, these poses also help to reduce anxiety that often comes with menopause.

Additional Yoga Benefits

Along with helping to curb hot flashes and balancing hormones, yoga helps perimenopausal and menopausal women by reducing symptoms of depression, improving sleep, and serving as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy or HRT. Artificially raising levels of estrogen and progesterone in women, HRT has been shown to raise risks for breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Non-menopause related benefits of yoga include promotion of healthy body weight, reduced joint and muscle pain, regulation of heart arrhythmias, lower blood pressure, and a boost in overall fitness.

Before starting a yoga practice, it is a good idea to consult with a health care professional. Women who are experiencing hot flashes and other menopause symptoms should search for an instructor with personal experience or sympathy for the situation. Because it can take time for yoga to relieve hot flashes and other symptoms, participants should exercise patience and consistency.

For those who may be looking for other natural remedies for menopause, there are a few natural menopause supplements on the market you can try.

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