Women sometimes begin going through menopause as early as age 45, with the average woman starting at age 51. Menopause can be an uncomfortable and even frightening experience, as a woman’s body undergoes physical, emotional, and hormonal changes. Floatation therapy can alleviate physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. Today, we’ll examine how.
What is Menopause?
Why does menopause make most women so uncomfortable? To understand this, you need to know what menopause is. Menopause is defined as the time when the ovaries cease to function and a woman has no menstrual period for 12 months. The ovaries, or female gonads, are primarily responsible for the production of hormones and female body characteristics – they’re where a pubescent girl gets breast development, changing body shape, and a menarche. Once hormone production and periods stop, estrogen is no longer produced. This leaves the woman with hormones that have no function. She may experience symptoms such as:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding as periods prepare to cease
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Irritability and poor memory
- A more fragile, drier urethra, leading to the urge to urinate or urinary incontinence
- Vaginal dryness, itching, or pain
- Weight gain
How Does Meditation and Floatation Therapy Help?
Floatation therapy is a form of sensory deprivation in which the candidate enters a pod-shaped tank and floats in warm (close to skin temperature) salt water with the tank completely or partially closed for a fixed period of time. The idea is to cease sensory input, helping to relax the body and clear the mind. Floaters are encouraged to wear little or no clothing to minimize the sensation of material against the skin, and close the tank completely to minimize sound. Many floaters meditate during the procedure.
Meditation need not be religious. In fact, many meditators simply float while performing breathing exercises. Others perform “body scan” meditations in which they relax muscles one at a time, starting with the facial muscles and moving down. Gradually, the brain will stop releasing cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones that cause stress. The brain will release stable theta waves similar to the kind released just before sleep. This can lessen cognitive and emotional menopause symptoms by refocusing the mind. Consistently relaxing the muscles will also help reduce physical symptoms such as muscle aches and vaginal pain. Increased cognition and relaxation after floating will help women center their thoughts, which can help them make healthy choices, thus alleviating fatigue and weight gain.