(NaturalNews) Seven out of ten menopausal women have experienced hot flashes and night sweats, with one in ten cases showing symptoms that persist for many years. It is believed that the condition is caused by fluctuations in hormone levels and changes in the body's temperature regulation mechanisms. A new study coming from Sweden shows that through the right relaxation techniques, women can significantly reduce the incidence and intensity of hot flashes. Moreover, specific foods can bolster these effects, and help women achieve sustainable mental clarity and inner balance.
Applied relaxation is one of the most successful treatments for hot flashes
The technique of applied relaxation was invented by psychologist Lars-Goran Ost and has already demonstrated impressive results in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder. It consists of gradually relaxing different muscle groups in the body, starting with the hands, face and shoulders, and finishing with the chest, stomach, hips and feet. Swedish researchers studied the effects of applied relaxation, on a group of menopausal women, over the course of five years.
"The participants were given exercises to practice daily at home. The goal was for them to learn to use the method on their own and to be able to manage their own symptoms", said study lead Elizabeth Nedstrand. The women kept track of their progress, but also provided additional information on subtle changes to their quality of life. After the applied relaxation therapy ended, the women reported a 50 percent decrease in hot flashes, as well as significant improvements in "quality of life," including better mental focus and better sleep.
Relaxing foods that work against hot flashes
Black Cohosh, an herb historically used by Native Americans to cure a range of ailments, from sore throats to depression, can also help relieve premenstrual syndrome and symptoms associated with menopause. Herbal teas, like mint and camomile, will boost this effect, and help relax both the body and the mind.
Stress and anxiety can sometimes be caused by specific nutritional deficiencies. Nuts and shiitake mushrooms are rich in selenium, a mineral that when lacking, has been linked to elevated stress levels. Cacao, spirulina and sesame seeds contain high amounts of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that possesses significant anti-depressive properties. Tryptophan is also needed to build serotonin, which has been dubbed the "happiness hormone," due to its importance in shaping our moods.
Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress) are rich in minerals, particularly magnesium and potassium, but also immunity strengthening carotenoids. Low levels of magnesium and potassium are medically linked to major depression and an increased risk of stroke. Kiwifruit, bell peppers and oranges are rich in vitamin C, an indispensable nutrient with a range of biological effects, including important roles in supporting brain health.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.