Menopausal symptoms often feature or are worsened by psychological and psychosomatic factors. As there is limited research into the potential role of psychological interventions, especially meditation, for the treatment of these symptoms the current study adopted an AB case series design with a follow-up phase. Fourteen women who were experiencing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms and receiving no treatment for them attended meditation classes twice weekly for 8 weeks and practiced daily at home. A mental silence orientated technique of meditation called Sahaja Yoga (SYM) was taught. The Hot Flash Diary, Kupperman Index, MENQOL, Greene’s Climacteric Scale and STAI, were administered at baseline, mid treatment (4 weeks), post-treatment (8 weeks) and at 8 weeks follow-up. Substantial improvements in all measures occurred at post treatment. Changes in vasomotor symptoms, especially hot flashes, were most prominent as a significant decrease of 67% at post-treatment and 57% at follow-up (χ2 = 11.7, p < .003) were noted and Kupperman’s Index score decreased by 58% at post-treatment and 40% at follow-up (χ2 = 11.7, p < .005). All other symptom measures improved substantially from baseline to post-treatment, non-parametric analysis indicating that most of these changes were significant. These findings tentatively suggest that menopausal symptoms, especially vasomotor symptoms, and particularly hot flashes, might be substantially improved by using meditation.
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The authors gratefully thank the Sydney Menopause Centre, Royal Hospital for Women, Dr Greg Turek and Mr Robert Hutcheon, Sahaja Yoga instructors and the Sahaja Yoga practitioners of Sydney who offered their support without charge. The authors also acknowledge the founder of the modern Sahaja Yoga technique, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who permits its use in scientific research on the proviso that it not be commercialized. The authors did not develop the Sahaja Yoga method and declare that they have no financial conflict of interest in this study.
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Manocha, R., Semmar, B. & Black, D. A Pilot Study of a Mental Silence Form of Meditation for Women in Perimenopause. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 14, 266–273 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-007-9076-5
- Hot flashes
- Menopausal symptoms
- Mental silence
- Sahaja Yoga
- Behavior therapy