Marriage Matters

Reducing Hot Flashes is as easy as Breathing

Winter is not the most favored time of year for individuals unless of course you are a menopausal woman who experiences frequent hot flashes. Cold, frigid temps are a welcome environment for many women when their skin heats up and the sweat begins to roll because it provides them with an easy way to cool down. Just open a window and enjoy the cool air.

But, as spring and summer arrive with their higher temperatures and women lose their ability to run outside and cool off with each hot flash, other strategies are needed. Here is one that comes with the backing of research. Researchers reported in the March issue of Menopause that paced breathing (defined as slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing) reduced the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

Women in the study with the best results were asked to breathe at 6 breaths/minutes for 15 minutes twice a day for 9 weeks. At the end of this time, 52% of women reported a significant reduction in the number and intensity of hot flashes. The women also reported that the breathing strategy was easy to master and continue.

If one consults a calendar, it will show that 9 weeks from now is the middle of June. That would mean that there is plenty of time to slow down your breathing twice a day in preparation for the dog days of summer, if you are experiencing hot flashes. Ready. Set. Breath (slowly).

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