Words by Angela Clark
Photos by Jessica Murray (age 10) – St Stephen’s Primary School pupil
Low mood, anxiety and sleepless nights, the list of menopausal symptoms seems never-ending for me.
I know it varies from woman to woman.
In my first year of the change, known as perimenopause, I refused to take prescribed drugs offered by my doctor.
I wanted to do it drug free, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this.
Putting Myself To Test
So, for a number of pre-pandemic weeks I loaned myself out and put alternative holistic therapies to the test.
These included aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki.
I’m hoping a natural approach to symptoms will help me cope better as my body goes through this transition.
After a consultation with Helen McHugh, a local qualified therapist, my first session began with a reflexology massage.
Reflexology is a type of massage where the pressure is applied to the feet using specific finger and thumb massage techniques.
The theory behind it is that our feet are connected to our internal organs and body systems, it supposedly stimulates energy and releases tensions in areas causing pain or illness.
Before treatment began Helen and I selected suitable oils in relation to my needs.
They were a combination of basil and lime which help mental alertness and focus.
She applied the oils to her hands first, then gently massaged and applied pressure to my feet.
I have always loved having my feet massaged and pampered so this was a delightful experience and I definitely felt more positive, content and happier about myself when this session was finished.
On my return the following week I received an aromatherapy massage which focuses on the full body.
However in this session we took things slowly and worked only on the neck, back and shoulders.
This type of massage reduces stress, provides pain relief, increases relaxation and can reduce the symptoms of depression, it is also known to soothe sore joints.
Once again with support and guidance from Helen, we selected suitable oils.
This time it was a blend of orange, lavender and frankincense.
These oils are known to help create an atmosphere of happiness and inner peace.
Once I had decided on the oils Helen placed her hands, covered in oil, on my back and began the treatment.
Her strong boney little fingers reached all my nooks and crannies releasing aches and pains that had stolen my ability to focus.
The aromas from the oils were strong and delightful.
After the massage was finished It felt like someone had slowed my world down to a snail’s pace, I was certainly more relaxed and not as anxious.
My final week of treatment had arrived and this time I chose reiki.
This is a method of energy healing.
The therapist uses her hands and hovers them above your body and is guided to the areas that need healing.
This can be in the physical, emotional and spiritual areas of your life.
Oils used were rose and geranium, this combination helps promote emotional stability stimulating healing from wounds and enhances mood.
I absolutely love these oils and this was definitely my favourite treatment.
Keeping An Open Mind
You really do need to have an open mind with reiki as it is all about unblocking negative energy.
I was unaware of how much negative energies had an effect on my personal well-being until I experienced this treatment.
I got pretty emotional and had some strange visions.
My hearing felt clearer, as did my sight.
I felt as if my body and mind had gone through some sort of strange healing process, it was wonderful.
I would definitely suggest trying a number of different treatments and visits with a qualified therapist to see what works best for you.
The sessions have helped me with anxiety, emotional and physical pain and encouraged me to continue with treatments that provide self care.
If you would like to find out more about alternative therapies email therapist Helen McHugh firstname.lastname@example.org