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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Weight gain goes hand in hand with perimenopause and is associated with the ageing process, as our bodies no longer function as efficiently as they used to.


Why does this happen?

Weight gain is most common around the tummy, and according to Clare Shepherd, a menopause nutritionist expert, "women will add an extra ten to fifteen pounds as they go through the menopause years even if there has been no change to either their diet or exercise regime."


Belly fat is caused by low levels of oestrogen. Oestrogen is the name given to a group of three different hormones that we produce - oestrodial, oestrone and oestriol. As we get older, the body moves away from oestradiol to oestrone as the main source of oestrogen which is produced in the adrenal glands and fat cells. Our body starts putting on more fat, as a way of producing more oestrone, so if you're not on HRT, you may experience more weight gain as you get closer to menopause. In addition, we are unable to burn off fat in the way we used, as the body no longer uses fat stores to convert into energy. So strong is the urge to hold onto fat, that the body would rather break down protein from muscles to use as energy than take away from our fat! This becomes a vicious cycle as losing muscle mass also slows the rate at which our body uses calories, causing our metabolism to further drop and hold onto more fat. Finally, if we are feeling stressed or anxious, this also converts into fat as the body's way of protecting us. This isn't just psychological stress. Body stress is caused by eating processed foods, sugary foods or drinking alcohol regularly and causes our stress hormone, cortisol to rise which contributes to weight gain.

Should I be worried?

Beyond aesthetics and wanting to fit into our favourite clothes, being overweight is known to make our menopause symptoms much worse - particularly hot flushes. Being heavily overweight also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes increases as insulin rises when oestrone rises, as well as cardio-vascular disease

So, what can I do about it?

  • Avoid dieting - this causes our leptin hormone to tell our brain that we need food and makes us more hungry and more likely to binge out on unhealthy foods but do aim to eat less (try a small plate or serve) - we should be eating 200 calories less in our 40's & 50's but of course this depends on our BMI and amount of exercise we are doing daily

  • Get moving - aim to exercise at least 5 times a day for 30 minutes

  • Build up your muscle mass to boost your metabolism through weight bearing exercise & resistance training

  • Cut out processed foods, dairy, alcohol, sugar and wheat - nutritionists suggest eliminating them completely for at least 30 days to help the body reset

  • Cut out refined white carbs & swap with more complex ones as this makes us fuller for longer

  • Include pre and probiotics for gut health & fibre, as they help lower the amount of oestrogen reabsorbed back into your bloodstream, which may to help regulate oestrogen levels

  • Avoid skincare creams and cleaning products that contain endocrine disruptor chemicals (or wear gloves); also found in some farmed meat & fish that pump animals with growth hormones

  • See a nutritionist or dietician! It can be a challenge to have the motivation to lose weight alone so seeing a specialist to kick start us into a healthy habit is a worthwhile investment


Recommended nutritionists for menopause: Penny Crowther - https://nutritionistlondon.co.uk Clare Shepherd - https://www.yournewlifeplan.com Emma Bardwell - https://www.emmabardwell.com



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Up to 60% women report memory problems during perimenopause or feeling foggy in the head as a result of poor sleep and night sweats. As we get older our circulation slows down, so less oxygen is circulated around the body and the brain. Additionally, as oestrogen stimulates the neurotransmitters in the brain, the drop in this hormone slows down neurotransmitters and so our brains no longer work like they used to.

The good news is that there are things we can do to stimulate our cognitive function and ideas discussed as a result of extensive research by Annabelle Streets & @susansaunders in their book, @theagewellproject. The brain thrives with novelty so travelling to new places, taking on a new hobby such as learning an instrument or language, and engaging in creative activities all create new challenges for the brain but we have to engaged in new learning all the time rather than taking up something new and then repeating it. That’s because when we don’t run on autopilot, new neuro pathways are born and that’s when our cognitive function improves.

Stress and a good night’s sleep are also important for clear thinking but more on that in another post. So, what have you found most helpful in clearing brain fog for you?

A 90-minute workshop on Brain Fog plus other midlife relevant topics are now available on the website (link in the bio) for you to tune into, as well as the new 6 week Take Charge of Change course

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