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Karen Lewis

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Tapping for Menopause with Karen Lewis

Nov 1 2010 Interview with Jessica Ortner, The Tapping Insiders Club


Presentation at

EFT Northern Gathering January 2011

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Bio-Identical Hormones, HRT, or an even more natural approach?

Recently there was a thread on a forum enquiring about people’s thoughts on the use of bio-identical hormones for peri-menopausal or post-menopausal women, which set me to thinking about this issue.

Although considered more natural than conventional HRT/ERT (hormone replacement therapy/estrogen replacement therapy) bio-identical hormones are still laboratory manufactured so that they have the same molecular structure as the hormones your own body produces, so not exactly all that natural.

“Natural Progesterone”, the other frequently mentioned “natural” remedy is also the result of laboratory manipulation of the Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa). Wild Yam does not actually contain progesterone per se, but it can be chemically manufactured from the steroidal saponins, such as diosgenin. The body itself does not seem able to duplicate this conversion process.

The argument is that bio-identical hormones are “natural”, easily recognized and metabolized by the body thus allowing minimal side-effects in comparison to the much stronger synthetic hormones, with frequently equally strong side-effects, which now appear to include an increased risk in breast cancer, among other things.

Whether bio-identical hormones are actually safer than conventional HRT is still open to conjecture, as they have yet to be studied in long-term use. They appear to be safer, but further research will no doubt clarify the situation. One interesting “pros and cons” article can be found here.

If a woman has done her research into the pros and cons of any given way of dealing with a condition, and made an informed choice based on that research, then that is fine, and their choices should always be respected, even if personally you may not agree with that choice.

Obviously a lot of what people think and feel about this issue depends very much upon their background and leanings. If you have a background that utilizes herbal medicines and other natural health disciplines, you may tend to fall on the side of considering therapeutic hormone intercessions as a last choice, used only if other more truly natural, non-invasive approaches have not first brought about beneficial changes.

In some quarters there is an inclination to think that our beliefs and attitudes around menopause have a far stronger input on how we go through this time of life. Many women have negative beliefs about this very natural life process, reinforced by the media and medical establishment that seek to turn this time into a “deficiency disease”, which can be swiftly and easily sorted by taking in those now lacking hormones, via pills or patches, etc.

Yet many women actively look forward to actual menopause itself, and have a very positive viewpoint about what it all means for them. This belief often allows their bodies to go through this process in a more flowing and giving manner than if they were to resist what is, after all a very natural stage in any woman’s life if she wishes to reach her ‘three score year and ten’.

If we look at the menopausal process from a physiological point of view, Mother Nature has evidently decreed that after a certain age a woman no longer needs the same amount of circulating sex hormones that she needed in earlier years to reproduce and nourish her offspring.

It is known that an excess of oestrogens contribute to increased risks of cancer of the breast, endometrium and ovaries. After the female body no longer produces eggs and thus progesterone, an antioestrogenic steroid believed to be the active principle of the corpus luteum, it does continue to produce a much smaller amount of oestrogen in the fat cells. This is why it is better to not carry too much excess weight later on in life.

It would appear that there must be some good reason why all this happens and that the lack of progesterone is all part of the great plan, even if we feel that we can and should over-ride this state of affairs. So the question to ask is why go against this natural way of things by supplementing with the very hormones that Nature has closed down or reduced production of?

During the days when I practiced herbal medicine quite a few women had consultations about hormonal problems, whether PMS or menopausal. Many had been down the hormone replacement therapy route, either as HRT or the Pill and were usually feeling even worse in many ways.

Those ones who had decided from the start for a natural approach seemed to do quite well with the herbal prescriptions based on their consultation information. It was almost impossible to get any positive results if herbs were used along with HRT; it has just too strong an effect on the body and totally overwhelms the more subtle effects of the herbs.

Interestingly enough, using the “hormonal” herbs, such as Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), False Unicorn Root (Chamaelirium luteum), Wild Yam, Hops (Humulus lupulus) and Chaste-Berry (Vitex agnus castus), to name the most commonly used ones, often seemed to cause more trouble than they helped.

Even though these herbs have a far more “natural” hormonal effect, they, like HRT and/or bio-identical hormones, can never accurately mimic the constant hormonal ebb and flow in the body. What we did find most useful was to look at what might cause greater fluctuations in the hormonal balance at this time, causing or exacerbating the unwanted symptoms.

Stress came up as the biggest culprit. It’s known that stressful situations have an effect on the nervous system, but it also has a knock-on effect on the endocrine system.

If we were to leave aside the hormonal flux associated with menopause, take a moment or two to think about what is going on in your life at this time. The probabilities are that you have children who have moved on to pastures new, or quite possibly, given the number of relationships that break up nowadays, you may actually have children who have returned to the nest.  

You may have ageing parents to care for. You may have lost loved ones, to relationship separations or death. This can often lead one to contemplate one's own mortality.  You might be finishing work, or finding it difficult to find a job because your age is held against you. You might be thinking of downsizing your home. All of these can be stressful situations with which to contend.

Excessive stress can have a negative effect upon the adrenal glands. These two organs normally secrete hormones such as cortisol (or hydrocortisone), which helps the body to suppress inflammatory reactions and cope with stress; adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine); as well as small amounts of oestrogen. When under stress more adrenaline and noradrenaline is produced, heightening the fight-flight response by stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Cortisol levels are also usually raised in stressful situations.

In the normal course of events, the hormones are metabolized and either recycled or excreted, usually via the liver, the great metabolizing organism of the body. When situations are particularly stressful in an ongoing way, which may include physical, emotional or mental stress (including the menopausal process), the amount of hormones coursing through the body does not have a chance to reduce and be broken down, and thus continues to stimulate the body tissues and organs. If it goes on too long, a state of tension can become the norm in the body.

So what can you do? Finding anything that relieves stress is the number one priority. This can be anything that makes you feel good and happy; making time to potter around the garden; go for walks; cultivate hobbies; take up yoga, meditation, tai chi or other forms of exercise, etc. You could utilize self-healing techniques such as Reiki or EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to de-stress or defuse anxiety-provoking situations. You can download my complimentary eBook “Balance the Stress and Anxiety In Your Life with EFT” for ideas of Setup Phrases to work with. Use whatever works best for you; we all have different ways of coping with stress.

Many herbs are also extremely useful at helping you to relieve stress and this is what my clients and I found to be, by and large, the most effective way of helping with the hormonal symptoms – deal with the stress! If you would like to see an article on herbs that can help, get in touch and let me know.

The use of stress-relieving activities as mentioned above may offer a truly natural way that can help you to reduce the possibility of hormonal and menopausal symptoms via a non-hormonal route, and thus reduce the risk of any side-effects from either HRT or bio-identical hormones. It is certainly worth giving a try in the first place.

Karen Lewis

2009 © Karen Lewis

Karen Lewis is an EFT Practitioner and Reiki Master/Teacher/Practitioner, who also has a background in herbal medicine. She is based in the United Kingdom. She uses these disciplines in her own day-to-day life as well as helping others to enable and empower themselves. She is the author of “Menopause – Hormonal Balance With EFT” having found EFT very useful in dealing with the issues, both physical and emotional, that this time of change can bring up. More information can be found at .

To access EFT Self-Help and free resources, and to learn more generally about Emotional Freedom Techniques and Reiki, please visit her website

Please note that you are free to reprint this article in its entirety on your own sites, newsletters, etc. so long as you change nothing in its content, retain all links and include my author bio/resource details.

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