Ibiza wellness: Acudetox – Acupuncture for hot flushes, night sweats and menopause symptoms
Ask any year-round Ibiza resident and they’ll tell you when it’s not steaming hot in Ibiza, it’s extremely damp and cold. It’s an island of two seasons, however there’s ample time to allow our bodies to adjust between the two temperatures. Right now, many of us are pulling out the wooly scarves and beanies and stocking up on firewood in preparation for the cold, but for women in Ibiza experiencing menopause or perimenopause, the onset of winter brings with it the fear of suffering, as hot flushes and night sweats can be a lot harder to cope with and much more noticeable in the colder months.
Thankfully, Kath Berry of Acudetox has developed a unique three-prong approach to treating hot flushes and the accompanying night sweats. Using a combination of acupuncture, cupping and massage, Kath aims to reduce the severity and frequency of the symptoms and educates her clients on how to learn to recognise triggers and introduce healthy lifestyle and diet changes that can also contribute to a better quality of life, in winter and beyond.
Menopause begins at the average age of 51, however it can commence with pre-menopausal symptoms as early as 40 and right up the age of 58. Prior to menopause, women will experience the perimenopause and pre-menopause phases – transitional phases that last for between four and eight years with physical changes occurring well before a woman’s final menstrual period. Hot flushes are experienced by over 80-percent of women at some stage of their life and with many of her clients falling into the 40+ female demographic, Kath began noticing many were experiencing similar symptoms – yet very few were talking about menopause.
“Clients describe the symptoms of hot flushes as volcanic heat rushing up from deep inside the body, like an uncontrollable eruption that feels hot and prickly on the skin especially on the face, neck and chest,” she explains of the extreme and unpredictable condition, which can strike at any time without warning. “Because heart rate speeds up (tachycardia) it is usually accompanied by profuse spontaneous sweating. It can be distressing and embarrassing for some women, who start to lose confidence in their body and experience psychological issues about accepting the ageing process. I am really shocked at how rarely this is spoken about and it upsets me that women suffer unnecessarily.”
Hot flushes last for between 30 seconds and ten minutes, and are caused by blood rushing to the vessels near the skin which dilates to cool, resulting in profuse sweating. This rising heat can cause the face, neck and chest to appear red and flushed, or break out in blotches – again, in a society where appearance is valued so highly, it’s not ideal for a woman’s confidence. Night sweats are an extreme version of hot flushes caused by hormonal changes and take place while a woman is asleep. The extreme heat causes her to wake up drenched in sweat – to the point where the bed sheets need to be changed before she can go back to sleep – after which she is often freezing cold after the hot flush has subsided. When you consider this can happen up to six times a night, it’s no wonder Kath’s patients are also presenting with exhaustion.
While hot flushes are not pleasant at any time of year, the fact is they’re more noticeable and much harder to deal with in winter. In summer in Ibiza, turning on a fan, taking a quick dip in the swimming pool, standing in front of a cool burst of air from an air conditioner or driving with all your car windows down can help ease the symptoms, however most home and work environments are designed to stay toasty and warm in winter. So, unless you live or work alone, you run the risk of annoying your family, friends or workmates to cool down. In addition, hot flushes can be triggered by sudden changes in temperature, such as moving from a cold damp house to a warm car, or from the cool outdoors into a cosy shop or restaurant, and unfortunately these things are not always within of our control.
“Women often suffer in silence,” says Kath. “They don’t realise there are other treatments options beyond Hormone Replacement Therapy and sucking on ice cubes.” The latest studies show that weekly acupuncture treatments over a six-week period brings about a rapid change, which can be maintained with fortnightly sessions for two months and then monthly treatments for six to 12 months – a great short and long-term plan for those looking to cope with these conditions. “Acupuncture works on balancing hormones and the results are really powerful,” Kath continues. “Benefits can be felt immediately and the effectiveness increases over time.”
Based on her background in treating anxiety and depression, Kath – who Kath has an MSc in Acupuncture for Addictions – also uses cupping and massage in her treatments, in addition to acupuncture. “I am seeing a strong correlation between stress and anxiety and hot flushes,” she says. “The trick to keeping the hot flushes and night sweats under control is to reduce their severity and frequency by reducing stress. I have a range of different approaches and have found the AcuDetox protocol of acupuncture, cupping and massage plus stress-reducing meditation techniques to be most effective. The best way to get results, without the side effects of medication, is to combine this with changes to diet and lifestyle.”
Kath encourages her clients to keep a journal related to their symptoms in order to identify, and thus avoid, any triggers. “Write down what you were doing, eating, drinking, feeling, or wearing when each hot flush began,” she explains. “After several weeks, you may begin to see a pattern that can help you avoid specific triggers.” She also offers a range of coping strategies, which includes dressing carefully – opting for layers, scarves and shawls that can be removed quickly then put back on when the heat subsides – and avoiding synthetic fabrics which trap heat. Another key in managing your symptoms is to plan your environment – keeping the ambient temperature low because hot air can trigger a hot flush and using a fan to circulate air.
Diet too, comes into play with Kath advising menopausal women to steer clear of hot and spicy foods (such as chilli or black pepper) which stimulate the circulatory system and raise the body temperature, plus to let hot foods cool down considerably before eating. Hot drinks are on the ‘no’ list, as their high temperatures can again trigger an episode, so look to water and vegetable juices to stay hydrated. Alcohol, especially red wine is another major culprit – on the bright side, drinking less will help you lose weight, as some women start to put on weight as the metabolism starts to slow down after 40. Last but definitely not least is to manage your mood and stress levels. This means allowing yourself adequate time to get to work, school or events – rushing only raises stress levels and, you guessed it, triggers hot flushes. Remaining cool, calm and collected is the key… along with regular hormone-balancing Acudetox treatments.
Kath is offering White Ibiza readers and exclusive offer, valid until December 31, 2017. Mention this article to receive an Acudetox Hormone Balancing package of 12 sessions over six months for 995€, saving 145€. Payment plans are also available – register now and pay later. Call or WhatsApp Kath on +34 638 423 575 for more details or to book your treatment.