Yoga-based and certain other mind-body therapies may help with specific menopausal symptoms, according to a literature review published in Maturitas (2010; doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.01.016).
Researchers from the department of community medicine, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, reviewed 18 clinical trials that involved yoga and/or meditation-based programs; tai chi; relaxation practices such as muscle relaxation and breath-based techniques; relaxation response training; and low-frequency sound-wave therapy. Improvements from these mind-body interventions were overall menopausal symptom reduction, better mood and sleep, and less musculoskeletal pain. Menopausal symptoms included hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, fatigue, aches and pains, bad moods and other symptoms that rose to the level of interfering with daily life.
With populations aging in both America and Europe, identification and validation of cost-effective methods to manage menopausal symptoms without adverse side effects are important. Study authors recommended more vigorous research of mind-body therapies to determine their efficacy. The authors noted that more large-scale, methodologically sound trials that observe long-term outcomes and examine underlying mechanisms for why therapies are helpful are needed to reach any firm conclusions about the effectiveness of specific mind-body therapies on menopausal symptoms.