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Making Peace with our Hormones: Using the Mind-Body Connection for Stress Reduction, Health and Well-Being


Making Peace with our Hormones: Using the Mind-Body Connection for Stress Reduction, Health and Well-Being Beth Mulligan, PA-C – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Making Peace with our Hormones: Using the Mind-Body Connection for Stress Reduction, Health and Well-Being

Making Peace with our Hormones Using the
Mind-Body Connection for Stress Reduction, Health
and Well-Being
  • Beth Mulligan, PA-C

When it comes to hormone health and aging we
sometimes wish there were a magic bullet
The Old Paradigm For every ill theres a pill.
The New (ancient) Paradigm Integrative and
Participatory Medicine
Stress and Hormone Imbalance
  • In my experience
  • excess stress
  • is the central story at the root
  • of hormonal imbalance for women. The effects of
    adrenaline and cortisol have a profound ripple
    effect on other endocrine organs such as the
    ovaries and thryroid yet few practitioners of
    mainstream medicine seem to take the stress
    response seriously.

Women and Chronic Stress
  • Research shows that chronically stressed people
    cant think clearly, have a decreased immune
    system, sleep impairment, increased risk of heart
    attack, change in body composition, (decreased
    muscle mass-increased fat), and show signs of
    depression and anxiety. Womens blood pressure
    and adrenaline remain elevated long after the
    workday ends, while mens decreased soon after
    they left work. Indicating that a womans work
    is never done

What is Stress?
External and Internal Stressors
  • External
  • A medical condition
  • Financial Problems
  • Family illness
  • Accidents
  • Employment problems
  • Internal
  • Worrying about the future (or the past)
  • Negative thoughts about health or family
  • Physical discomfort and what we think it means

What is the Mind-Body Connection?
The Physiology of Stress
How Stress Turns to Illness
Normal Cortisol pattern through 24 hours
Hormonal Changes through the life cycle
The Fight or flight response (stress reaction) is
meant for short term use only Why zebras dont
get ulcers
Effective treatment for stress and relationship
to hormones.
  • Meditation, Relaxation and Yoga
  • Address adrenal function with a qualified
  • Support of other people (tend and befriend)
  • Mindfulness paying attention to the
  • present moment
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutrition


A pilot study of mindfulness-based stress
reduction for hot flashes Carmody, James PhD
Crawford, Sybil PhD Churchill, Linda MS
Abstract Objective A variety of results from both population and laboratory studies suggest that stress and hot flashes (HFs) are correlated and that HFs are more severe in women with lower coping abilities. The objective of this pilot study was to obtain information on the feasibility and effect of participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on HF severity and menopause-related quality of life. Design Fifteen women volunteers reporting a minimum of seven moderate to severe HFs per day at study intake attended the eight weekly MBSR classes at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Participants were assessed for menopause-related quality of life before beginning and at the conclusion of the MBSR program. Women also kept a daily log of their HFs through the course of the 7 weeks of the MBSR program and for 4 weeks after it. Results Women's scores on quality-of-life measures increased significantly, and the median reported HF severity, calculated as the weekly average of a daily HF severity score, decreased 40 over the course of the 11 weeks of the assessment period. The women were individually interviewed at the completion of their participation, and the results of the interviews were consistent with the results from daily diaries. Conclusions These results provide preliminary positive evidence of the feasibility and efficacy of MBSR in supporting women who are experiencing severe HFs, and it warrants further investigation. 2006The North American Menopause Society

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • Older women who meditate regularly have a
    decreased cortisol response to stress.
  • The longer they had been meditating- the less
    they produce cortisol when stressed.

The good news is the mind can be trained!
Breaking the cycle Whenever we focus on our
breath its like opening a door to the present
Menopause. 2009 May-Jun16(3)484-93. doi
10.1097/gme.0b013e31818c02ad. The Acupuncture on
Hot Flushes Among Menopausal Women (ACUFLASH)
study, a randomized controlled trial. Borud EK,
Alraek T, White A, Fonnebo V, Eggen AE, Hammar M,
Astrand LL, Theodorsson E, Grimsgaard
S. Source The National Research Center in
Alternative and Complementary Medicine,
University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway. Abstract OBJECTIVE
This study compared the effectiveness of
individualized acupuncture plus self-care versus
self-care alone on hot flashes and health-related
quality of life in postmenopausal women. METHODS
This study involved a multicenter, pragmatic,
randomized, controlled trial with two parallel
arms. Participants were postmenopausal women
experiencing, on average, seven or more hot
flashes per 24 hours during seven consecutive
days. The acupuncture group received 10
acupuncture treatment sessions and advice on
self-care, and the control group received advice
on self-care only. The frequency and severity
(0-10 scale) of hot flashes were registered in a
diary. Urine excretion of calcitonin gene-related
peptide was assessed at baseline and after 12
weeks. The primary endpoint was change in mean
hot flash frequency from baseline to 12 weeks.
The secondary endpoint was change in
health-related quality of life measured by the
Women's Health Questionnaire. RESULTS Hot flash
frequency decreased by 5.8 per 24 hours in the
acupuncture group (n 134) and 3.7 per 24 hours
in the control group (n 133), a difference of
2.1 (P lt 0.001). Hot flash intensity decreased by
3.2 units in the acupuncture group and 1.8 units
in the control group, a difference of 1.4 (P lt
0.001). The acupuncture group experienced
statistically significant improvements in the
vasomotor, sleep, and somatic symptoms dimensions
of the Women's Health Questionnaire compared with
the control group. Urine calcitonin gene-related
peptide excretion remained unchanged from
baseline to week 12. CONCLUSIONS Acupuncture
plus self-care can contribute to a clinically
relevant reduction in hot flashes and increased
health-related quality of life in postmenopausal
Nutrition for hormone health in a nutshell
  • Minimize refined carbohydrates, caffeine and
  • Regular amounts of lean protein and complex
    carbs throughout the day, (dont get too hungry!)
  • Mostly plant based diet
  • Healthy fats (nuts, avocados, oily fish)

A Great Perspective
Dr.Christiane Northrup
  • True health is only possible when we understand
    the unity of our minds, emotions, spirits and
    physical bodies.

You are beautiful just as you are!
Its not the wrinkles, but how you earned them
that counts.
Simple things we can do
  • Meditation Classes or CDs
  • Yoga or Tai Chi classes
  • Take a break from the phone, computer, and TV
  • Have a quiet car
  • Eat a meal in silence
  • Go for a walk by yourself (dogs allowed)
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Do something you enjoy but rarely do (listen to
    music, draw, dance, go to a kids movie)
  • Put yourself first.

The Mindful Woman
  • Tuesdays evenings
  • June 4th- 25th
  • 630-830 PM
  • All day retreat
  • Saturday June 22nd
  • 930-330
  • Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine
  • UC Irvine
  • 8 week MBSR starts in July!

Beth Mulligan, PA-C
  • Mindful Way
  • Stress Reduction Programs