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Hot Flashes: How to Cope

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A couple years ago, I noticed my mom suddenly fanning herself, pumping open the collar of her shirt, and then needing to leave the room. I knew about hot flashes, but didn't realize my mom got them or that so many women are affected by this nasty little affliction.

Because I have believed Tai Chi to be The Great Panacea of the world, I started reading up on hot flashes to help mom and some of my female students.

Seemingly, the big trigger is stress.
Money, family, work, love and sex are usually the main topics adults stress over.

Evidently, nothing works. Black cohosh and most other pills and caplets can work for a few women, but there is no product that works across the board. Web sites like this give product reviews, but they are designed purely to make money for the site owner:

Forget Hormone Replacement Therapy. The risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, dementia and blood clots far outweighs any benefits. This should be a last resort, when you've tried everything else.

After more than 20 years of research on hot flashes, Dr. Robert Freedman suggests that hot flashes are triggered when a woman's core body temperature rises slightly (this is the temperature deep within the body, not what a regular thermometer measures).

A professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Freedman says, "Ordinarily, the rise wouldn't cause much discomfort. But in menopausal women, we think their tolerance for small increases in core body temperature, above what we call the thermoneutral zone, is greatly reduced. When that zone is breached, the result is flushing and sweating."

Dr. Freedman and many other experts are now recommending "Paced Respiration" for its awesome effectiveness and complete lack of down side.

Freedman continues,
"Our studies show that slow, deep breathing can reduce the frequency of hot flashes by about 50 percent. Women who've been trained to use this technique as soon as they feel a flush coming on are often able to abort the hot flash or at least reduce its severity."

"The average breathing rate is 15 to 16 cycles (inhaling and exhaling) per minute," he notes. "But with training, women can slow their breathing down to seven or eight cycles per minute which can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes."

I created an online instructional video: Taoist Breathing for Hot Flashes. It is ten times better than the instructions experts offer for "paced respiration."


I e-mailed the link to Dr. Freedman and he said, "That's a great idea."

Add a Comment5 Comments

"In 2002, a large clinical trial called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI)
reported that hormone therapy actually posed more health risks than benefits..."

"Long-term hormone therapy for the prevention of postmenopausal conditions
is no longer routinely recommended..."


February 13, 2010 - 7:29am
EmpowHER Guest

Tai chi is a great stress reliever...


February 12, 2010 - 4:35pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

From a daughters perspective of her Mother here we go!My Mother started hormone replacement therapy at 43 at 60 she had her first seizure!!!Not only did she stay on the HRT to long!!!But her GYN encouraged a over 15 year regimine.She now has idiopathic seizure disorder,heart disease and two days ago found out she has a lesion in her right breast(no family hx of breast cancer by the way)oh ya and by the way white matter disease in her frontal lobe she is 67 ya!!!previously being a nurse in long term care ,we usually noted white matter disease in people a little bit older than 67 she was dx 5 years ago with it .Thanks to all Drug Co.for keeping the results of their studies secret for 10 years before notifying the public Im 40 and will take a homeopathic route for my course of meopause Thank you very Much!Women LIsten to your gut!!!

February 13, 2010 - 6:52am
EmpowHER Guest

An absolute disservice ? Wow !
At least I'm not speaking in absolutes...
I said it should be a last resort, after
a woman has tried everything else.
Did you miss that part ?
In earnest, I attempted to convey
to women a practical idea of the
of hormone therapy.
If it's working for you, awesome.
You go, Girl-- Rah rah ! But hormone
replacement has been clinically
proven to be high risk, HIGH RISK.
Of note, I looked up your blog.
While I am a man, with no financial
gain by writing here, I see that your
blog is monitized by sell hormones.
Beware ladies. This lady is selling
something with a real downside.

Tommy Kirchhoff

February 12, 2010 - 3:49pm

You do an absolute disservice to women by dismissing ALL hormone replacement therapy. I have been on bioidentical hormones for over three years, and not only did they eliminate my hot flashes in three days, they also cured my seasonal allergies, restlelss leg syndrome and acid reflux. I was able to get off seven medications (including the antidepressants I had taken for years), am down 80 pounds from my high weight, and my cholesterol dropped by 65 points. I feel better than I have at any time in my adult life, and my hormone balance reduces my risk of cancer. I am so passionate about this issue that I have a blog at holyhormones.blogspot.com ---- with best wishes to all for hormonal health!

February 12, 2010 - 7:06am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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