At Over The Bloody Moon, we take health seriously. That's why we have 12 different Advisors from integrated wellness practices on our team and are continually adding to our perimenopause learning by chatting to clinicians and British Menopause Society accredited specialists. To that vain, I wanted to share a topic close to my heart that continues to surface as we look to fulfil our mission to help all women take charge of their change. It's Perimenopause Poverty and the lack of BAME representation that exists in the UK. Access to education and healthcare but also in the way menopause role models are portrayed in media. No one likes to be classist, but the fact remains - we have a Health-Wealth gap that’s growing in the UK. Women that live or have lived in poverty are more likely to experience early menopause (under 45 years), are more likely to have lifestyle factors contributing to symptoms, are less likely to visit a GP for menopause and less likely to have access to quality, health care. Alexis Palfreyman was quoted in an article written for British Menopause Society, saying “A key factor determining a woman’s experience of menopause is the culture in which she finds herself before, during, and after menopause.” Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority communities cannot be clumped together – each community has its own culture nuances that are impacting on a woman’s menopause. In some cultures, cessation of periods and infertility is linked to a woman’s status becoming devalued with it being common for men to remarry. In other cultures, menopause is considered a taboo and embarrassment with issues like incontinence or painful sex being ignored whilst women suffer in silence. Of course, women whose first language is not English have a further barrier of having to share something private through their translator to the GP. We caught up with Fay Reid, founder of 9to5, a menopause community, supporting women. She felt isolated through her own perimenopause experience, feeling a lack of affinity to the stories and faces, she saw in the media. “I thought to myself, where are the black people? None had a 9 to 5 job...meanwhile, I’m legging it for the train first thing in the morning and after work. Their stories and experiences just aren’t realistic of my life, I want people to know that it happens to us too. It made me realise that the black community doesn't talk about it as much as we should and we need to. That’s why I set up 9to5 to share my journey whilst sharing tips and stories from other women.” Dr Nighat Arif, GP and press commentator on health including menopause, agrees. “As a mainstream society there is little representation of ethnic woman in literature, posters or media campaigns when it comes to woman’s health, in particular menopause. When a black woman cannot see herself on a poster of the signs and symptoms of the menopause, the association is made that this is something that ‘doesn’t happen to me’. Women are likely to become educated and engage in an open conversation if there is an inclusive dialogue.” She has observed that women from an ethnic minority background are more likely to report some physical symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue or dry skin than mental symptoms. It becomes difficult for health care professionals to support women who are unable to discuss their experiences honestly. “Mental health is stigmatised and a taboo subject anyway in our communities. This is particularly more so, when it comes to understanding that fluctuations in hormones can impact on our mental health. This is something that has to be highlighted more especially for women in the perimenopause phase - let’s face it, it’s easier to talk about a ‘physical pain.” However, it’s not just the ethnic minority communities where perimenopause poverty exists. Women from any ethnicity but living in low income households are more likely to experience severe physical and mental symptoms than those from higher income ones – smoking, drinking alcohol that’s more than the recommended 14 units per week, immobility or obesity are all triggers. These women may be less resistant to seeking out support and used to a culture where they just ‘tough it out’. If you are a healthcare professional that wants to be involved with Over The Bloody Moon to help inform, equip and empower women through perimenopause OR a BAME women who wants to share her story of perimenopause, then please get in touch – hello@overthebloodymoon.com

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I spend a lot of time chatting to clinicians and wellness practitioners about ways women can effectively manage and alleviate their menopause symptoms. Whether it's a yoga or mindfulness teacher, a pelvic health physiotherapist, a CBT therapist, a hypnotherapist, a herbalist or a clinicians, they all agree on the power of the breath. When we breath slowly, consciously and in a controlled manner, we calm down our nervous system, boost alertness and is a natural anti-depressant. When we take slow, steady breaths, our brain feels safe and activates the parasympathetic response, increasing our levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a brain chemical that has calming and anti-anxiety effects,

Here are three basic breathing exercises to try out to help with different perimenopause symptoms

Paced Breathing

This is slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing. With normal breathing, you take about 12 to 14 breaths a minute. By comparison, with paced breathing, you take only 5 to 7 breaths a minute. This has been proven to help alleviate hot flushes and night sweats



How to do Paced Breathing


1. Sit upright

2. Place one palm on your chest bone and the other on your belly

3. Breathe in for the count of five through your nose

4. Breathe out for the count of five through your mouth

5. Start off doing this for 3 minutes before building up to 10 minutes



Ocean Breath A Vinyasa Yoga technique that is great for tuning us back into the body and reducing cortisol, for when we are feeling out of control or anxious. It works by slightly constricting the back of the throat and sucking in air. The noise in and out mimics that of the ocean and provides instant calming relief



How to do the Ocean Breathe (this is Petra Coveney, our Yoga Advisor, who does a demo for us in The House, our digital self-care platform packed with self-care tips from women's health experts)

  1. Sit up tall with your shoulders relaxed away from your ears and close your eyes. To prepare, become aware of your breath without trying to control it at all. The begin to inhale and exhale through your mouth if you have been breathing through your nose

  2. Bring your awareness to your throat. On your exhales, begin to tone the back of your throat (your glottis or soft palate), slightly constricting the passage of air. You should hear a soft hissing sound

  3. Once you are comfortable with the exhale, begin to apply the same contraction of the throat to the inhales. You should, once again, hear a soft sound, like the ocean

  4. When you are able to control the throat on both the inhale and the exhale, close the mouth and begin breathing through the nose. Continue applying the same toning to the throat that you did when the mouth was open

Energising HA Breath When your brain is feeling foggy or you are feeling tired during the day, the HA breath exercise is a great way to wake up your mind and body


Image Credit: Andrew Rae


How to do the Energising HA breath

1. Stand up tall, elbows bent, palms facing up 2. As you inhale, draw your elbows back behind you, palms continuing to face up

3. Then exhale quickly, thrusting your palms forward & turning them downward, while saying “Ha” 4. Repeat quickly 10 to 15 times


Check out the website: www.overthebloodymoon.com/our-services for details on our September services to help you through perimenopause and beyond with self-care tips & advice based on science and practice so you can #takechargeofchange


Women in cultures that celebrate menopause report a positive perimenopause with little problematic symptoms


Let's travel to Mexico and I can introduce you to the Rebozo, a cotton Mexican shawl which accompanies a woman during her life & through her major life cycle events. When a baby is born, the mother uses a Rebozo to carry and swaddle the child. As the daughter enters womanhood, the Rebozo is used to provide comfort during menstruation and sometimes used to give an abdomen massage to soothe her cramps which is performed by two women, usually the mother and grandmother. The Rebozo is tied around woman in her fertile years, in a belt that supports her pelvic floor, whether she is pregnant or not. After childbirth, the Rebozo is used in a ceremony called Closing of the Bones where 7 weaves are wrapped around her body to help with the healing process, performed by a community of women.


How can we use the Rebozo for a modern menopause ritual?

The Rebozo is also perfect to mark a woman's menopause. During this meaningful feminine ritual, the Rebozo fabric is used to envelop and connect us with our changing body and to embrace a new chapter in our life. It allows us to:

  • Move on to the next level in our life

  • Receive loving, feminine energy from other women in our community

  • Let go, ground us, release tension and affirm new territory

The Rebozo massage is given with one or more cloths, wrapped around a body part and tightened so that it provides support and enclosure. Using the Rebozo, small or larger movements are made, so that the woman is rocked and moved into the cloth. This provides a relaxing massage and is also good for treating menopause associated joint or muscle pain. The massage usually lasts approximately two and a half hours and takes place in three phases:

  • Holistic massage in essential oils to become aware of out body and relax

  • A sweating hut, steam bath or hammam with herbal plants, which allows us to return to a cocoon of wet heat that is almost womb-like

  • The wrapping of the body with the Rebozo fabric in seven key points of the body to refocus the body and spirit

Doesn't this sound like a brilliant way to mark our menopause? Now we just need to find someone that practices Rebozo massage. Any volunteers?!

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