Ayurveda and Menopause
In this section, Hazel Branagan of the Samadhi Centre, introduces us to Ayurveda and shows how our constitution decides our physical, mental and emotional make-up.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the art of daily living in harmony with the laws of nature. It is an ancient natural wisdom of health and healing, a science of life and longevity. This science of long life stems from the great Vedic civilization of India and stands as the most ancient and comprehensive health system in the world. It is based on the timeless knowledge that expresses itself in perfect balance, the foundation of lasting health, satisfaction and beauty.
According to Ayurveda every person has an inherent and unique constitution (dosha) and his or her physical, mental and emotional characteristics are decided by this constitution. A person can plan a diet and general lifestyle according to this constitution. By understanding our own personal basic nature, it contributes to an acceptance and we can develop a nurturing attitude towards ourselves in our lives.
Ayurveda’s seasonal calendar revolves around the three doshas–Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are forces or energies comprised of the five elements–space (ether), air, fire, water and earth that make up our human physiology. The same elements that are in Nature are within us, as well.
The natural progression of life is like the changing of seasons. Childhood is the phase of growth, development and strengthening of body; middle age, a stage of maintenance that paves way for the later stage of transition.
Ayurveda and Menopause
Menopause is a culmination of all three doshas of the woman’s body. The menses themselves are pitta, while the woman may gain weight during this time, which indicates kapha imbalance. Since the woman may become moody and even lose her sleep during menopause, there is a strong indication of the vata dosha.
- Vata-type menopausal symptoms tend to include depression, anxiety, and insomnia
- Women with Pitta-type symptoms are often angry and suffer hot flashes
- Kapha type symptoms include listlessness, weight gain, and feelings of mental and physical heaviness
Ayurvedic treatments for menopause
Ayurveda advocates a holistic treatment of the menopause by utilizing various herbs and minerals, treatments, diet and exercise and offers a reliable option to the conventional treatment. The herbs help to manage menopausal symptoms ensuring safety from associated risks that occur with synthetic hormones. These herbs possess certain phytoestrogen. The estrogen or phytoestrogen connects with the body's estrogen receptors, which enable the hormones to function properly. When the receptors are clogged with debris or Ama, the hormones cannot work properly and menopause symptoms occur. The recommended herbs vary from person to person depending on which of the symptoms are strongest and hence which dosha is most out of balance.
The Ayurvedic View of Midlife
The peri-menauposal, menopausal and post-menopausal stages of life are unique to each woman but universal to all women. It should be looked upon as an opportunity to concentrate on the self and seek help with a positive attitude rather than withdrawing one-self from the rest of the world. Each phase of our life gives its own opportunity for growth and personal expansion so this transitional stage of a woman’s life should be looked upon as her wiser days with a positive approach.
Hazel wouldlike to thank Dr Rajesh Kotchea ‘Vaidya’ my teacher, and founder of Chakrapani Ayurvedic Institute and Research centre for his assistance with this article. For more information on Ayurveda, its history, its philosophy and to find out what constitution you are see our website