by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC
Hot flushes, and night sweats that come with menopause, can be at the least annoying and inconvenient, and at worst, panic inducing and debilitating. Using essential oils for hot flushes could be the natural way to reduce the heat, and calm and relax the body at the same time.
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What is a hot flush?
Each woman can experience a hot flush in a different way. Some say it’s a creeping feeling of warmth, that slowly floods the body. Others feel it come on very quickly, affecting the whole body all at once and can feel as hot as a furnace. However we experience them, they are horrible. At the minimum, they are uncomfortable and embarrassing, and at the worst, they can be panic inducing, debilitating episodes.
Why do we get hot flushes?
Hot flashes are thought to be caused by the fluctuating hormones, that control the bodies temperature. They can happen without any warning, either in the day or at night. However some women report there are triggers for their hot flushes; spicy food or alcohol being the main ones.
Interestingly, alcohol and spicy food both increase the blood circulation in the body, so therefore create much more heat, in a short period of time, within the body. It is therefore important to realise that we (obviously) need to keep the body cool, but avoid anything that increases circulation very quickly.
It is also worth noting that many women find that the healthier they eat, and the more their weight is controlled, the less they experience hot flushes.
How can we stop hot flushes using essential oils?
Well, the main thing that we want to do is balance our hormones, but this is easier said than done! And we can also use essential oils to balance hormones too.
HRT is not for everybody, and I am not here to lecture on the benefits of it, however in addition to helping hot flushes, it can also help with a multitude of other menopausal issues, caused by unbalanced hormones.
But, lets look at alternative ways of balancing hormones, and reducing the hot flushes.
Essential oils for hot flushes
I am a big advocate of aromatherapy in the fight to balance hormones. It is a very natural, easy way to help with many hormonal and menopausal issues. Pure essential oils have the ability to be absorbed into the skin and body, so can have a great affect here and when the aroma is inhaled.
Each oil has specific properties or therapeutic actions, which means their chemical composition allows them to have beneficial effects on the body.
The properties that we want to be looking for, to treat hot flushes are;
- Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation
- Cooling – cools the area of application & can reduce temperature
- Calming – has an overall calming effect
- Febrifuge – reduces fever. Hot flushes don’t actually cause a fever, but a febrifuge oil, can help cool and calm a hot body and skin
- Relaxing – has an overall relaxing effect
- Sedative – calms the nervous system
- Vasoconstrictive – reduces blood flow to an area – constricts the blood vessels
Cooling, sedating and relaxing bergamot is a lovely citrus oil that will have a good calming effect while experiencing a hot flush. Application of this oil, will cool the skin and relax the body.
Cypress essential oil is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it will restrict blood flow to an area. It is also cooling and relaxing, so not only will relief be felt on the skin, the body can relax as a whole, thus easing panic that may accompany the hot flush.
An all round useful oil, Lavender is anti-inflammatory, cooling and relaxing. An ideal oil to use to get relief from hot flushes.
A cooling oil, that is also anti-inflammatory and relaxing too. Melissa slows down the heartbeat, so good for relieving the panic that may come with a hot flush. It also reduces anxiety and calms the nerves.
Peppermint is quite a strong smelling oil but has great cooling properties when applied to the skin. It narrows blood vessels, so reduces inflammations, and also has the ability to cool and calm the nerves.
This essential oils reduces heart palpitations, which can often accompany a hot flush as well as being calming and sedating, so helps you to fell calm during the duration of the flush.
How to use essential oils for hot flushes
The best way to use essential oils for hot flushes is to apply them to the skin. As the oils must never be used neat you need to blend them into another substance for application.
If you suffer with regular hot flushes, these are great to keep in the fridge, for when one occurs.
You will need, soft cotton or muslin cloths – these pure muslin cloths are ideal. Add a few drops of each chosen oil to some cool water and stir to combine. Immerse the cloths in the water, ring out, and store folded in a sealed Tupperware in the fridge. These should be good for about a week, before repeating the process. When you feel a hot flush come on, apply the pre-made essential oil compress onto whatever part of your body feels the hottest!
Blend to use on a cold compress
Bergamot, Cypress & Peppermint
Lavender, Melissa & Peppermint
Bergamot & Valerian
For essential oils to BALANCE HORMONES read here
Applying a massage oil blend can be another effective way of gaining relief from hot flushes. Take a carrier oil, such as Sweet Almond oil or Avocado oil. for the body or this gorgeous (and highly beneficial) avocado & rosehip oil for the face. Add a few drops of each chosen essential oil and use to massage into your skin – particularly where you feel hottest.
Massage oil blends for the body
Peppermint & Lavender
Bergamot & Valerian
Massage oil blends for the face
Bergamot & Melissa
Lavender & Bergamot
A facial spray can be kept in the fridge to use whenever a hot flush occurs. Take some plain rose water, (it must be pure), in a spray bottle. These amber spray bottles are ideal. Add a few drops of each essential oil and shake to mix. Spray whenever relief is needed. Use up to 3 of the essential oils detailed above.
For full essential oil blending instructions and techniques read here.
Other ways to relieve hot flushes (tried & tested by real women!!)
There’s lots of information out there on what can help reduce the heat, but its difficult to know what is going to work, if its going to suit you, or if it’s something you want to try. I have rounded up some real life remedies from real menopausal women, that have helped them rid or reduce their hot flushes, so hopefully you can find something that will help you too!
(Disclaimer – all quotes and comments are from real women, however if ever in any doubt about the use of any of the suggestions, please consult a professional)
“Lots and lots of soya based products including yummy marinated tofu by Cauldron or Dragonfly. These are great in stir fries but you can eat the Cauldron one straight from the packet! I also take Menopace Max or Menopace Night depending on availability.”Hazel, Stockport, UK
Soya beans are rich in plant oestrogens and a source of a particular type, called isoflavones. Isoflavones have a structure similar to the oestrogen that is produced by women’s ovaries. They are a much weaker form of oestrogen, however consumption of soya products can have a good effect on menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.
Drug and hormone free Menopace supplements provide essential nutrients needed for during menopause, including Red Clover, which contains 4 isoflavones and extra soya isoflavones. So, as with soya products, Menopace supplements lost oestrogen to balance hormones.
“Hemp Bombs CBD oil”Nicky, Illinois, USA
CBD oil is thought to relieve many symptoms of menopause, including hot flushes, insomnia and anxiety.
“A combination of Black Cohosh, CBD, Amberen, Zyrtec and Benedryl! My hot flashes have not gone away completely but have lessened and shortened in length”Melissa, California, USA
Black cohosh is a herb of the buttercup family, and while there is no scientific proof that it helps hot flashes, many women feel relief from menopausal symptoms when taking it.
There has been a little research as to whether allergy medication can help reduce hot flushes and it is reported that there is some evidence that this is true.
Amberen is a drug and hormone free supplement containing antioxidants and vitamins and claims to reduce 12 menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats.
“LadyCare Magnet”Sue Liverpool, UK
The Ladycare magnet, is a small magnetic device, worn in the front of the underwear that regulates the Autonomic Nervous System. This system is responsible for controlling our stress and anxiety, as well as our relaxation, so the magnet helps to balance and stabilise these issues, to avoid extremes.
“I use Become short sleeve t shirt and knickers for work. I also use their strappy top and leggings to sleep in – it sounds weird to sleep covered up in really hot weather but I sleep right through the night in them. You don’t really notice you haven’t had a hot flush until you take them off!”Dawn, Lincoln, UK
“Become clothing vest”Sharon, UK
Become clothing uses silky, breathable fabrics that have been proven to keep you cooler during hot flushes and night sweats. The fabric, not only cools the skin, but keeps moisture away and prevents odour.
Shop Become Clothing here.
“Diet change and no alcohol has stopped my hot flushes, however I’m not prepared to give up my once a week curry, which sets them off!”Lisa, UK
“I wouldn’t be without Chillow the gel pillow!”Cathy, Newport, South Wales
“Sage and magnesium taken around 7pm stops my night flushes”Jo, Rochester, UK
“Menopace Plus and A Vogel Sage. The healthier I eat the better the flushes are; The lighter I am and more I exercise the better they are. The more alcohol I drink, the more flushes I get”Diane, Southampton, UK
“Matcha green tea powder in room temperature water or as a hot tea in the morning”Trish, Florida, USA
“A multi vitamin every morning, plus a minimum 2000ius Vitamin D & Vitamin K. Magnesium and calcium every night. At the height of menopause, Pukka Womenkind really helped.”Laura, UK