Ayurveda divides the lifespan of an individual into three stages: childhood, middle age, and old age. As time passes, our body’s tissues mature in different ways.
In childhood, our body is not yet fully developed, which makes us incapable of menstruation. But as we transition into adulthood, these tissues mature and lead to the start of our menstrual cycle.
Similarly, as we transition into middle age and old age, our tissue health gradually deteriorates. This leads to the gradual slowing of our menstrual cycles and, ultimately, the beginning of menopause.
What is menopause?
In Ayurveda, menopause is defined as the absence of menstruation for twelve consecutive months. It is common for menstruation to gradually decrease before finally stopping, which is the Ayurvedic definition of menopause waits for those twelve consecutive months to take place.
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process, so there is no reason to try and prevent it from happening. Still, it can lead to somatic and psychological changes in your body, which can cause various discomforts. Significant hormonal changes take place during this time, which can also lead to a loss of Dosha equilibrium.
Doshas and Menopause
Vata Dosha is responsible for the initiation, progression, and destruction of all activity. This includes the evolution of our lives.
Vata Dosha is dominant during menopause, as is Pitta Dosha. However, Kapha Dosha is reduced during this time. This is a factor in the degeneration of our body’s tissues, especially our reproductive tissues.
In many ways, menopause serves as a reminder that the passage of time will continue to require a balancing of our doshas.
Relieving Menopausal Discomforts
Integrating more Rasayana (or rejuvenation) practices can help encourage healthy aging. Rasayana helps to revitalize your body’s tissues, even when the wear and tear of time has already happened. This rejuvenation can also promote a stronger immune system, helping you navigate middle and old age more confidently.
There are three types of Rasayana that specifically help with the management of menopause’s side effects:
- Achara Rasayana: Daily and seasonal regimens that help to reduce stress and strain on your body. This includes healthy, timely, and seasonal meals, regular exercise, and ample sleep.
- Ahara Rasayana: A vegetarian diet that includes milk, ghee, black lentils, and chickpeas. The inclusion of spices like cumin and fennel can also reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms. Meals are best when they’re freshly prepared, eaten mindfully, and don’t include pungent or bitter tastes. All of these can have positive impacts on bone strength, too.
- Dravya Rasayana: Certain herbs can help specifically with the management of menopausal side effects. If you’re struggling with anxiety or a loss of libido, Shatavari can help. If you’re dealing with insomnia, you should try ashwagandha. And if you’re having night sweats or hot flashes, yashtimadhu may help.
Benefits of Detoxification
There are many detoxification procedures that may prove useful during menopause. Depending on your constitution – and your menopausal symptoms – consider exploring these practices:
- Therapeutic emesis for weight gain and high cholesterol
- Therapeutic purgation for metabolic disorders, hot flashes, and night sweats
- Nasya for mood swings, irritability, and improved focus
- Ayurvedic massage for stiffness and body aches
Using Ayurveda for Menopause
Traditionally, Ayurveda saw 50 years of age as the ideal age for menopause. But due to today’s fast-paced lifestyle – and unhealthy food habits – it is possible to aggravate Vata Dosha. This can lead to early menopause.
However, no matter when you’re experiencing menopause, each of these Ayurvedic tools can help ease any discomfort you may experience.