Holistic and beauty therapist Naomi was one of our models in our M+ photoshoot. Naomi has been offering Jennifer Young treatments alongside other therapies for many years, supporting her clients at different stages of life and wellbeing. Here, she tells us about her experience of menopause and gives her advice to other women going through the same thing.
What’s been your experience of menopause?
For me it’s been a good thing because pre-menopause I had a lot of problems to the point where I was given three options by my doctor: injections, an operation that was not a hysterectomy but where I might die, and the third option was a hysterectomy. I didn’t want any of those. As a holistic therapist I wanted to do everything naturally and I haven’t had any medical interventions. I also thought as I was 57, there was a chance that the menopause would come along and take all the problems away and to a large extent it has.
What changes have you noticed in getting older?
I have gained some weight, which could be the menopause, it could be lockdown, or it could be because I eat too much! I have experienced brain fog, which I know is common with menopause, to the point where I would ask my husband if he thought I had early onset dementia. However, the more I learned the more I realised that it was a symptom of menopause.
What are your top three hates about menopause?
The brain fog and the weight gain. I don’t think there’s a third one as for me the positives have outweighed the negatives. There are no more hormonal migraines, there’s no more excessive bleeding to the point of collapsing, and my energy isn’t so low I can’t walk about and do my job. For me it’s been very positive.
Do you feel more vulnerable than you used to or in need of looking after?
Not necessarily. I think as a therapist I give to people anyway, but I appreciate that when people have therapies they become more aware of themselves and what they need. So, I do go to see an osteopath - not as often as I should, but I do go. We do need to take more care of ourselves though during menopause, and I would say that if you have a day when you don’t feel up to things, just let yourself go with the flow.
How do you think relationships evolve during menopause?
I think if you’re not careful, a wedge can be put between people. I was privileged to help a male friends a couple of years ago, when he asked how he could help his wife - he was sure she was going through menopause. I said to just do what you always do - let her know you love her, put your arms around her, cuddle her and let her know you’re there. It was simple advice and a couple of months later he came back and said it had worked. It’s difficult for men because they’re not going through menopause physically, but they going through it emotionally and mentally. So I would say, don’t block them out - let them in and let them know what you’re going through - they don’t want that wedge to be there.
Do you think menopause is something that should be addressed holistically?
Yes, as someone who as recently as yesterday was offered HRT when I don’t need it, it would have been nice to be offered anything other than that.
As therapists, there’s a lot we can offer. Sometimes it’s just a listening ear. People don’t necessarily want advice but they want you not to judge them. We are able to help, as a listening ear but also in the nurturing treatments we give - things like reflexology and aromatherapy. Those things that are great for grounding women and reminding them they’re a person, they exist and they deserve this care - don’t feel guilty about it.
Do you see menopause as a celebration of the next phase of life?
I think menopause is definitely something that we can embrace as a time to look at our lives and if we want to transition to something, we can. Maybe your children have left home and you have more time, maybe there’s a hobby you want to give time to, or maybe you want to do something massive like change careers. I think people can look at menopause as a time to ask themselves, ‘what can I do for me?’
Were there any physical effects on your skin?
Yes. I’ve had rosacea for many years, and it went through a settling phase but it’s back to the fore now. I also get a bit more dry skin and I’m noticing the fine lines. However, I tend to be a person who accepts things and moves around them, so that’s what I’m doing with this.