Mind-Body Connection and Menopause
We are what we think... so have the sages said throughout the ages. The book "The Secret" which Oprah promoted and has become very popular, talks about the power of our thoughts and how we create our reality. This applies to every experience in our lives, be it financial, relationship wise or the state of our health. Does this imply, that the condition of our body, how we feel, how heavy, thin, healthy, or how comfortable our bodies feel, are simply reflections of our mind? How does this apply to the change of life?
Reason, I am pondering, is that earlier in the evening, I came across a fascinating article from Discovery magazine, that states, that Japanese women do not have the Western symptoms of menopause, but they suffer from what is called frozen shoulders, a painful condition where the shoulder movements are severely restricted, and which Nigerian women also experience. In the Western world, most of us have never heard of this happening to women as a menopause symptom! Seems that depending on the culture, the symptoms change. In the American culture, women fear losing control of their emotions; near Eastern Jews worry about a loss of physical health; European women worry about their mental health, while Arab women are afraid of losing their sexual attractiveness when they can no longer have children.
Going back to the Japanese culture, they experience 80% less symptoms than women from most of the rest of the world. They don't experience hot flashes, and the word 'menopause', does not exist in their vocabulary. Researchers have attributed this to their diet, which is rich in vegetables and soy which contains plenty of phytoestrogens, and helps with estrogen production. However, they leave out the fact, that getting older in this culture is not seen as something to be dreaded; becoming an older woman entering menopause, is reaching a position of honor, much like with the Mayan women in rural Mexico who seems to be the healthiest, as they do not complain of the symptoms of menopause and do not suffer from osteoporosis and bone fractures, and actually look forward to passing on their chores to their daughter in laws and in being respected as elders. Endocrinologically, they are no different from women in the United States.
This makes the mind-body connection clear and worth understanding better. Many holistically oriented health professionals, such as Christiane Northrup, M.D., are encouraging women in doing just that: to nurture our entire being, the physical, psychological and spiritual in order to maintain our wellness and eliminate not only the symptoms but to enhance the quality of our lives.
It is time, we stop focusing on only one aspect of ourselves, be it diet alone, or exercise, or taking a pill, or say our affirmations, and embrace the totality of our being, in order to lead lives that fully express who we really are, and create the health and quality of life we want to experience.
May the power be with you!