Aromatherapy for menopause and perimenopause
Can you smell something delightful to reduce or eliminate perimenopause and menopause symptoms? I am talking of essential oils and aromatherapy.
I love essential oils. I started to study aromatherapy in the early 90s, almost 30 years ago. I have used aromatherapy for many conditions and I find it works really well for hormonal and mental balance. These attributes make essential oils perfect to improve some of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
Why aromatherapy for perimenopause and menopause?
There are many essential oils that can help us during this time. This is in part because aromatherapy is very good at lowering stress and promoting joy. By lowering stress, our estrogens are available to fulfill their role instead of helping to keep cortisol in the body.
Those preserved estrogens will help in many aspects, including to sleep well, avoid hot flashes, keep weight under control and protect the skin and vagina against dryness. (Suggested reading: stress during menopause and perimenopause).
Promoting joy and wellbeing is another important role of essential oils. Depression, insecurity, irritability, and sadness are very common in women during perimenopause and menopause. These feeling are bad enough, but in addition they can help to trigger other bad symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia and low libido.
Essential oils with phytoestrogens
Many aromatherapy experts and fans believe that some essential oils have molecules that have similar effects as sex hormones. There are only small studies on this subject. Only a few essential oils have been found to have a possible phytoestrogen (estrogens from plants) effect; these oils are geranium and rose otto. However there are studies proving that certain essential oils alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. With or without phytoestrogens, essential oils are still very effective.
Which are the best essential oils for menopause and perimenopause?
There are two ways to approach this question. We can treat specific symptoms or use oils to balance hormones.
Essential oils for hormonal balance
There are a few small studies suggesting that geranium has an estrogenic effect on the body and it helps to balance hormones. I have noticed that when people have too much estrogen they tend to dislike geranium, finding it too strong, too floral or too sweet. Maybe it is a natural body response to avoid more estrogen. During menopause and perimenopause we normally need more estrogen, so it works very well.
Geranium has many other properties and benefits including reducing stress and improving blood circulation.
I could write a book describing this marvelous oil. Imagine holding sixty beautiful roses on your hands, picked for you at dawn, so they are at their peak. Imagine the incredible aroma and the lavish, delicate beauty of these flowers. Imagine how many bushes it took to produce those roses. From all these 60 roses it is said that one precious drop of essential oil will be produced, that’s right one, uno, eins.
This oil is the stuff of legends, from queens in biblical times to the Maharanis of India. It is one of the most expensive oils and one of the most adulterated ones, it is difficult to buy the real thing.
Ok, back to menopause and perimenopause. Rose otto may be estrogenic, this will help increase our estrogens and alleviate some menopausal symptoms. It has been used for a long time as an aphrodisiac. Beyond that it is very powerful for relaxation, happiness, and to induce calm.
At a spiritual level, rose otto helps to resolve anger, fear, and jealously, and it boosts confidence and happiness. We all can use these benefits.
This is the most recommended oil for women’s issues, including perimenopause and menopause. Many people with expertise in aromatherapy believe that it has phytoestrogens, but some experts who have studied the chemistry of the oil believe that that is not accurate. In any case this is a wonderful oil.
Many studies have confirmed that it is very relaxing, antidepressant, calming, and can produce an almost anesthetic effect. Clary sage oil has been shown to lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety and stress, and boost memory. This will help many menopausal symptoms.
Other oils commonly used are fennel, cypress, angelica, lavender, peppermint and coriander.
We can also use essential oils that treat specific issues such lack of sleep, depression, irritability etc.
A study to lower menopausal symptoms
There was one study with about 52 women with perimenopause symptoms. The women got massages every day for 8 weeks. Half of the women had massages with essential oils and the other half without essential oils. The women with the essential oils experienced a lot of relief in their symptoms, the other women did not. (I am surprised with this result as I believe both groups should have benefited from stress reduction).
The oils used during this experiment were:
4 parts lavender, 2 parts rose geranium, 1 part rose (not clear which type), 1 part jasmine (not clear which type).
The carrier oils were almond 90% and primrose 10% at a 3% concentration of essential oils.
For people not used to essential oil preparation this is a more of a do-it-yourself recipe that I prepared for you if you want to try it.
Massage oil for menopause and perimenopause symptoms
You will need a 4 ounce (120 ml) bottle to store the oil
3 ounces (90 ml) almond oil
1 ounce (30 ml) primrose oil
Essential oils (EO)
- 36 drops lavender EO
- 18 drops rose geranium EO
- 9 drops of rose EO
- 9 drops of jasmine EO
Mix the essential oils separately, let them settle for a few minutes and add it to the carrier oils. You have now got your massage oil.
Aromatherapy is without a doubt a good solution to treat perimenopause and menopause symptoms. It is easy to access and normally without side effects. The essential oils can be used in personal care products, inhalers and in diffusers and burners. You can use essential oils to treat specific symptoms or to balance hormones.