Miserable menopause? How hypnotherapy could help

Posted on September 24, 2015

Interesting article in the Telegraph……..

Miserable menopause? How hypnotherapy could help

Forget trendy alternative therapies – according to a new report, hypnosis is one of the few proven to help women through the menopause. Ruth Wood finds out how:

Like many women going through the menopause, marketing director Amanda Jones often suffered hot flushes at the worst possible moment.

At one crucial business meeting last year, she felt so hot and sweaty that she had to nip to the loo and dry her hair with paper towels.

Shortly afterwards, she acted on a friend’s advice to try hypnotherapy.

“It was fantastic,” said the 55-year-old, who lives near Leicester. “Within four months, the hot flushes had gone. It’s very difficult to say categorically that it was the hypnotherapy, but it was very powerful and cathartic and I do believe it helped.”

Many women might be sceptical about being hypnotised out of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, which are caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones. However, a new report published this week suggested that of all the alternative treatments offered to women – from herbal supplements such as black cohosh, evening primrose oil and ginseng to yoga and acupuncture – hypnosis was almost uniquely effective in alleviating symptoms of the menopause.

Having reviewed the results of rigorous clinical studies on the topic, a panel of experts commissioned by the North American Menopause Society concluded there was solid evidence that both clinical hypnosis (hypnotherapy) and cognitive behavioural therapy were beneficial. One study showed that women who had hypnotherapy five times a week had a dramatic reduction in the number and severity of hot flushes.

By contrast, there was little evidence that exercise, vitamins or ‘known’ herbal remedies, gave any relief at all.

Having had a bad experience with weight-loss hypnotherapy 20 years ago, Amanda was nervous about being hypnotised, but took the plunge when her friend recommended Rutland based practitioner Kim Thomas.

“The first session was about getting to know me and clearing out my emotional baggage,” said Amanda, who is married with two grown-up sons. “I sat in an armchair and Kim got me to imagine walking down steps, each step taking to a deeper level of relaxation. I wasn’t asleep, but I was very comfortable and relaxed. Then I imagined walking into a barn in the middle of a field, and in there were all the things I wanted to get rid of. Things I thought I’d forgotten, such as bad experiences at work from 20 years before popped back into my head. I packed them all into a ‘suitcase’ and got rid of them. It was a very weird experience

In subsequent hypnosis sessions, Amanda was asked to imagine stepping into a cool sea or feeling a cool breeze and then coached in self-hypnosis so that she could visualise that same body-cooling sensation when hot flushes struck her in her everyday life, leading to actual relief of her symptoms.

Broadcaster and journalist-turned-clinical hypnotherapist Lowri Turner uses a similar technique with her patients. “Consciously, you may say to yourself: ‘I really don’t want to panic when I have a hot flush.’ But then the hot flush hits and your unconscious kicks in, making you worry that people will see you’re sweating or red in the face,” said Ms Turner, who runs three clinics in north and cental London specialising in hormone balance and weight loss.

“Hypnotherapy is like a massage for your mind. It allows you to address those unconscious mechanisms that are playing on your symptoms and quieten them down.”

In the run-up to the menopause, oestrogen levels decrease, causing the ovaries to stop producing an egg every month. As well as embarrassing hot flushes, this can disturb sleep and cause mood swings, vaginal dryness and loss of libido.

However, fewer than one in 10 women seeks medical advice, with most either grinning and bearing it or resorting to alternative therapies.

Dr Janet Carpenter, who led the expert panel for the North American Menopause Society, said: “Many women try one thing after another, and it is months before they stumble on something that truly works. This information will be critical in maximising the selection of the most effective therapies.”

Turner said she was not surprised by the society’s findings. “The menopause is not an illness, it’s a transition,” she said. “It’s not like you can just take a pill for it because it is as much about your emotional and spiritual wellbeing, especially your self confidence as you age and your changing role when the kids are leaving home.”

Kim Thomas, the hypnotherapist who treated Amanda, agrees.

“Hallelujah that this is finally being recognised,” she said. “In Japan, they don’t have a word for ‘menopause’ because middle-aged women are highly valued. It is not seen as a negative phase, but a positive transition in which women are older, yes, but wiser, too.”

* Some names have been changed

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I would like to thank you so much for all the work you have done and I’m so pleased I  came to you because I’ve changed so much. Thanks to the hypnotherapy I no longer have negative thoughts about myself and I’m eating healthier and more controlled and have more energy .

I can honestly say now that I like who I am

So thank you .

- L.St

Like almost everyone else (I imagine) I had very little idea what to expect when I first contacted Kim about hypnotherapy, but she put me at ease very quickly.  Kim has the rare gift of being highly professional in her manner but also treating you as a friend; she’s a genuinely lovely person.  My four sessions with Kim have, quite simply, changed my whole life.  I find that my way of thinking is completely different now, and it’s all positive!  The things which used to weigh me down are so much more manageable.  I really feel I’m a happier person, better mum, better wife, better friend, more effective at work…the list goes on and on!  My self-esteem is dramatically improved, and I’ve got more energy and motivation.  I’d have no hesitation in recommending Kim’s work to anyone.

- B.L

After one session with Kim for troubling sleeping and slight pain management I was so relaxed! Well aware of things going on around me but able to focus on the words without being distracted by it all. Amazing.

- L.S.

Kim has helped me so much with my nerve damage pain following spinal surgery. She listens to your needs and hopes and made me feel very relaxed and also gave me the confidence I needed to get through every day. Thank you Kim

- K.W.

Since having hypnotherapy my mind has settled, calmer way of thinking. My confidence is higher then before. I’m less stressed at looking for approval and constant reassurance for my ideas. I’m taking in pieces of information from lots of different sources and making my own decisions and not second guessing myself all the time. After the first session, I’ve already seeing results, waking up refreshed and full of good positive thoughts and energy.

- K.M.

Kim Rowan has helped me through hypnotherapy for depression and anxiety over the last 6 months and her technique has proved invaluable.

At first I was apprehensive at using hypnotherapy for my depression, but after the first session I knew this was definitely a way forward.

Kim gave me some excellent advice on how to calm myself when I became nervous that worked extremely well when on my own, previous to this I would become extremely anxious and would need to come home and take medication.

We talked through some tough periods in my passed life and my stresses of today, and after each session I always felt calmer and able to cope with my busy demanding lifestyle.

Kim is such a caring, calm professional person and is always on the end of a phone when needed – I would recommend her to anyone who has issues where hypnotherapy would definitely help.

- L.C

I had a number of sessions with Kim Rowan to help me with my anxiety prior to an operation. I felt this helped to relax me and get me through my operations. I would recommend Kim.

- I.W.

Although not vastly overweight, for most of my adult life my weight has fluctuated and I have always felt the need to diet to keep on top of it. Last year I was feeling on the heavy side and a bit fed-up with myself. I have always been a bit of a sceptic, so when Kim suggested hypnotherapy I was unsure. However, I thought ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ so decided to give it a try.

I had a couple of sessions with Kim, where she tried different techniques to establish which were most effective, with a follow-up audio track, which I try to listen to on a daily basis.

I couldn’t honestly say whether it has been the hypnotherapy, willpower or a mixture of the two but for the first time in years I have lost the weight I wanted to and, more importantly, kept it off. In any case, the hypnotherapy sessions are a really relaxing and enjoyable experience that I would recommend anyone to try.

- M.A

I approached Kim to see if she could help me overcome a couple of issues I had at the time. She was very welcoming and non-judgemental, putting me at ease with the situation.

She was professional at all times yet managed to make the experience personal to me. I do feel that I was helped to face and deal with my issues through this process and would have no problem in revisiting or recommending Kim to others.

- N.M

I have used Kim’s services over the last year. I feel we all have the ability to help ourselves but we do not always have the tools. Talking with Kim gave me the tools I needed in which to change my outlook on how I saw people, and how I thought they saw me. Kim’s therapy has given me the confidence to change my life in a positive way.

Kim had me feeling relaxed and comfortable at all times and the different forms of therapy that Kim has taught me I will always use or refer to.

I highly recommend Kim to help anyone overcome a change within themselves, a fear they have or to help with relaxation. Kim has changed my life and she could change yours too, thank you Kim

- E.A