1. Paced breathing
Use your diaphragm to breathe in very slowly and deeply over 5-10 seconds, and then allow your body to just relax in a slow exhale over 5-10 seconds. Try for 10-20 minutes twice a day. Do when awakened by a night sweat. Deep, slow breathing stimulates nerves in the bases of your lungs. These nerves activate a program in our nervous system called the “Relaxation Response”. It has been shown to reduce hot flashes by 60%.
If you do not know how to use your diaphragm to breathe, lie down on your back with your hands on your upper belly. Make your hands go up as you inhale, and go down as you exhale. Try to minimize movement in your chest.
2. Aerobic exercise
Walk, jog, run, bike, treadmill, swim, ski, climb. 30-60 minutes 3-6 days/wk. Women who exercise regularly have 50% fewer hot flashes.
Those receiving regular treatment have fewer and less severe hot flashes.
4. Listen to soothing music.
5. Receive massage.
6. Laugh as much as possible. Rent comedies, not thrillers.
7. Wear layered clothing, adjusting as needed.
8. Avoid triggers for hot flashes: alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, emotional distress and hypoglycemia.
10. Keep your home and office (if possible) cool. Carry and use a fan and squirt bottle for a spray mist.
11. Consider herbal therapies.
Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Soy isoflavones, Thai Kudzu, or combinations. Eight Flavor Rhemannia Teapills, AKA “Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan” (Plum Flower brand, available at the Herb Store and Wild Oats) are good for short term use (use longer than a few weeks may lead to stomach trouble).
12. Work with your healthcare provider to determine if prescription medication or hormone replacement therapy is appropriate for you. Possibilities include:Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), Effexor, Cymbalta, Clonidine, SSRI’s like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Gabapentin.