Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Holistic Ways to Treat Haywire Hormones

Aromatherapy Workshop at The Frelinghuysen ArboretumWhat influence hormones have on your mood? Ask a woman and the answer is profound. In many ways hormones dictate the way we react. Hormones rule our lives, our moods, our waistlines, our love lives, our bone health and the rhythm of our hearts. Need we say more! Goes without saying when they go haywire, our lives disrupt. The primary female hormone is estrogen. This hormone is responsible for–the curvaceous female body, lush skin texture, healthy hearts and active sex life. When the secretion levels of this primary female sex hormone goes awry it casts an effect on our overall health. The fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone—another female sex hormone are responsible for many of our complications. “Just before my periods a glum feeling envelops me and I get in the mode of exaggerated reaction. The house somehow senses it and is on the red alert”, says 34-year-old Nibedita Baruah, a music teacher about her PMS symptoms. Besides PMS and menopausal flashes hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian diseases plague lives of women. Beyond the realm of conventional medicine, Archana Darshan talks to experts in holistic medicine on ways to tame awry hormones.

1. Dr. Jekyll and Hyde syndrome

Women every month undergo a change in their personality. The gentle disposition evaporates and aggression takes over. Holistic healing might have the solution—

  • Decode your diet- Quit smoking, steer away from caffeine, alcohol and go easy on snacks loaded with sugar and salt. Certain fats, like omega-3 essential fatty acids from oily fish and certain seeds offer significant health benefits and also help to relieve symptoms of PMS, like inflammation. Diuretic-type foods can help alleviate bloating, which is associated with PMS. Such foods are– melon, citrus fruits, asparagus, celery, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and onions. Vitamins and minerals, as such vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and calcium can help in relieving symptoms of PMS. 
  • Aromatherapy— To overcome PMS blues mix two drops of rose and jasmine oils to 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Rub this over your abdomen, hips and lower back twice a day. Start this treatment after the last day of your period and continue for three months. Stop for a cycle to review
  • Yoga. Do the bow pose. Lying face down with your arms at your sides, bend your legs at the knees and bring your feet toward your buttocks. Clasp your ankles and raise your trunk off the floor. Squeeze your buttocks together and bring your knees in close to each other. Hold the pose 10 to 15 seconds and repeat up to 3 times.

2. Hypothyroidism

Experts fear that thyroid disorders afflict 42 million women. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland just below the Adam’s apple. This gland plays a very important role in controlling the body’s metabolism by producing thyroid hormones (T4 and T3).

  • Decode your diet— Foods rich in the amino acid–tyrosine are recommended, as
    tyrosine combines with iodine to make the thyroxine, one of the key hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Meat, fish, turkey and chicken breast, low fat milk, curd, almonds, avocado, bananas, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and lentils are examples of foods rich in tyrosine. Include EFAs or essential fatty acids in your diet. Some of the food sources include fish and shellfish, flaxseed, soya oil, canola, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables and walnuts. Some research studies have warned against use of soy.
  • Yoga– According to yogic theory, the sarvangasana also known, as the shoulder stand is effective in treating hypothyroidism. Sarvangasana involves the use of the inverted body pose. Since this is against the normal flow of gravity, blood is rushed to the neck region from the feet and the legs and towards the set of the thyroid glands. However Sarvangasana must be performed only under the care and guidance of a practiced tutor.
  • Sujok—This Korean therapy believes that your hands and foot have the speed dial to the nerves of the rest of the body. Consequently stimulating the right points can earn relief from acute ailments. Stimulating the centre point of thumbs can help you overcome hypothyroidism


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.

  • Decode your diet—The mainstay of treating PCOS is weight loss. Increase intake of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and go easy on saturated fats and sugar.
  • Sujok—Touch or stimulate the center of the last joint of your finger, which is attached to palm. Acupuncture has been helpful for women suffering from polycystic ovarian disease.
  • Aromatherapy– For PCOS, gently rub following formula over the abdomen once a day. 3 drops of rose oil, 6 drops of geranium and 8 drops of fennel oil. Mix with two tablespoons of almond oil.

4. Menopause—

Menopause is an inevitable transition, which every woman undergoes. And, this change is not easy.

  • Decode your diet– Increase intake of dark green leafy vegetables, turmeric, fenugreek, bitter gourd, soy and broccoli. Consume foods high in magnesium (nuts like almonds, walnuts), dairy products and bananas. Eat five-six small nutritious meals instead of three large ones. Known to contain phytoestrogens—a chemical that has the characteristics of estrogen—soy is recommended in the diet of every menopausal woman because it reduces the possibilities of hot flashes.
  • Yoga—Try the trikonasna, which is the triangle pose that involves stretching the torso and rib cage.
  • Aromatherapy—You can try these oils to get relief from anxiety—lavender, jasmine, neroli, marigold and clary sage.

Dr. Pradeep Sharma– president of Sujok Association of India.
Dr. Blossom Kochhar—aromatherapist
Vrinda Lali Singhania—yoga expert
Shaista Arzoo—Guardian Lifecare, nutritionist

Experts speak
Stay away from junk food as much as possible.
“Do some breathing exercises every morning”, says Vrinda.
“Never use aroma oils alone as they are concentrated essences of plants, mix them with carrier oils like olive or almond”, suggests Dr. Blossom
Our body is made of five elements and Sujok sessions helps you to align better with nature, says Dr. Pradeep Sharma.

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October 15, 2009

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