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Little London Therapies

Reflexology, Swedish massage & Aromatherapy IN Little London, Tadley, Hampshire.

Reflexology for menopause

Stress and the menopause


‘Chronically elevated cortisol increases the likelihood of severe menopausal symptoms.’

Source: Carnacci et al,2011 Menopause, 18,3,273-8


Menopause (read perimenopause) happens at a time when we may already be dealing with high levels of stress.  We may have teenage children, or children flying the nest.  Ageing parents, relationship problems, work, or financial troubles, and we may spend most of our time looking after other people and forgetting about ourselves.

The physiology

When stressed, rather than producing the hormones, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, our adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline to deal with the situation.  Oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone act as a buffer to the effects of cortisol, which is great when we have a ready supply of them, but during perimenopause our levels start to fall, and this is when cortisol is more likely to take over, and we may notice that we respond differently to situations.  Anxiety can appear, simple tasks such as driving can make us feel nervous and we may feel a loss of confidence.  We can feel overwhelmed, exhausted, depressed, suffer poor sleep and many other symptoms.  With sustained periods of high cortisol, it can lead to chronic stress.  To give ourselves the best opportunity of ageing healthily into menopause, we need to lower our stress levels.

 So, what can we do?

Some women choose HRT at this stage, some choose not to, and others are just not able to use it.  If this is something you are interested in, then have a look at Dr Louise Newson, she can be found on social media @menopause_doctor or via her website here

Another good source is Dr Naomi Potter, she too is to be found on social media @dr_naomipotter or via her website here

HRT can work well with good lifestyle choices, and reflexology to help ease menopausal symptoms is a great choice.

Look at your lifestyle

Do you exercise? Do you have an active job? What is your diet like? How is your sleep? Do you smoke? Do you set time aside for relaxation? How much caffeine, alcohol and sugar do you consume?

A lot of questions, right.  But it's worth taking the time to think about each one of them, and consider changing habits if you are suffering with menopausal symptoms.

Now we get to the good bit; Reflexology

The benefits of reflexology

  • Releases tension
  • Aids sleep
  • Improves mood
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Improves general wellbeing.

The benefits of reflexology for menopause

Reflexology can help support you through the menopause.  It is a non-invasive complementary therapy that can help ease the symptoms you are experiencing.  It can also give you time to focus on you, to be listened to and understood.  It can be a time away from demands and responsibilities.

With a focused reflexology for menopause treatment, we can look at the 5 pillars of menopause health if you're looking to make changes, or you could just lie back and enjoy the relaxing treatment, it's your time and entirely up to you.

The 5 pillars of menopause health:

  • Exercise/movement
  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Purpose


I love the way movement makes you feel during and after, the rush of endorphins.  It doesn't have to be a full strength workout at the gym, a walk in nature does the job.  You can improve your body physically but also mentally and I think the latter is most important to my enjoyment.  Feeling stressed? Pick up those weights or get pedalling.  Feeling a bit low?  Get outside for some fresh air and a walk.  Meno-rage? Get up and get moving.

Exercise/movement can also help maintain bone density, because from the age of 35 we start to lose bone mass which may lead to osteoporosis.  It can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.  Keeping active and strengthening our muscles puts us in a much better position as we age, giving us improved flexibility and balance, which can help prevent falls and keep us out of hospital.


  • Too much sugar in your diet can make vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats) worse. @glucosegoddess is a great person to follow to understand the effects of sugar on our diets.
  • Too much caffeine can lead to hot sweats and palpitations.
  • Too much alcohol can make insomnia, hot flushes and mood swings worse.
  • Carbohydrates can be harder to break down as oestrogen levels fall, which may increase fat storage and as our metabolism slows, it makes it harder to lose the weight. Having said this, we need carbohydrates as a source of energy for our body and brain, and I am not suggesting cutting them out, but be mindful of the type you are consuming; less of the refined carbs (white bread, white rice, sweet desserts & breakfast cereal) and more of the healthy complex wholegrain variety (brown rice, whole wheat, lentils, broccoli, sweet potato)  A nutritionist can help you with this.
  • We may also notice a change in cholesterol levels, with an increase in the bad type, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and a decrease in the good type, HDL (high density lipoprotein) which can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in menopause. You can get your cholesterol levels checked at your GP practice.

Try removing or limiting any of the above from your diet and see how you feel, keeping a food diary to monitor symptoms and highlight any potential triggers can help.


  • An average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, less as we age.
  • Progesterone has a sedative effect, so as this declines, we may experience sleep problems.
  • Low levels of oestrogen may cause sleep problems.
  • Melatonin hormone levels also reduce and so the sleep/wake cycle that this regulates may also cause sleep disturbances.

‘Foot reflexology is a useful intervention to relieve fatigue and to promote sleep.’

Effects of foot reflexology on fatigue, sleep and pain: a systemic review and meta-analysis.

Lee J, Han M, Chung Y, Kim J, Choi J.J Korean Acad Nurs. 2011 Dec;41(6):821-33


As mentioned earlier, stress can make menopausal symptoms worse.  Relaxation can help ease the symptoms, and the deep relaxation that comes with reflexology allows the body to heal and repair.  Identify ways you enjoy relaxing and try and incorporate them into your everyday life to help you cope.

This may be reflexology, exercise/movement, or it could be meditation.  It may be being creative or relaxing with a good book, it could be spending time with friends, walking the dog, having a massage, journalling, cold water swimming, the list goes on. What would you choose?


What is your purpose?

For years mine was being a mum and working part time, and although I love being a mum (most of the time!) as my children got older I found myself questioning what the next few decades would look like.  I didn't want to spend the rest of my working life getting the Sunday blues about going to work, so I retrained and I now have something that gets me leaping out of bed in the morning, zero Sunday blues, a new business at fifty and that’s a great feeling.

Not everyone wants or needs to retrain.  Maybe you have a purpose already.  It could be belonging to part of a community that you take an active role in, a club you’re a member of, volunteering, a yoga class you attend, a walking group, looking after pets, your job, helping others.

Maybe you had a purpose, but for whatever reason, that purpose has now disappeared?

Identify what is important to you, what makes you happy? What would get you leaping out of bed in the morning and spend more time doing that.

How often should I have a treatment?

For general health and wellbeing, once a month is beneficial.  If you are having reflexology to support a specific need, such as menopause or poor sleep, then weekly or fortnightly sessions are recommended for 6 sessions to allow time to see the benefits.  After this time, we will review how you are feeling and if happy to continue, maintenance treatments of once a month are advised.

If you are interested in trying reflexology, click on this link to arrange an appointment with me.

If you found this interesting and want to keep up to date with what's happening at Little London Therapies, please follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Hope to see you soon.

Clare x

Little London Therapies

January 2024

Use this link to see menopausal symptoms


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