PUMPING IRONY: A (Hot) Flash of Insight

Swedish researchers have an answer for menopausal hot flashes: Just relax. Easier said than done, I suspect.

Aging gracefully means putting up with various changes in your body without panicking too much. Your joints get creakier, your energy level dips and, if you happen to be of the fairer sex, you may find yourself routinely breaking into a sweat for no apparent reason. My sister, 53, coined a phrase — “My own personal summer” — that sums up the condition pretty well.

My Lovely Wife, who is of a certain age, has been dealing with this particular annoyance for a few years now. Her solution is simple: dress in layers. You can peel them off (to a certain point) and put them back on as your inner thermostat rises and falls.

Men have no clue about such things and should keep their distance on those occasions when the heat index begins to soar. Trust me on this: Suggestions are not generally going to be received with a high level of appreciation.

Besides, MLW’s approach has proven more reliable than the once-popular hormone replacement therapy, which has the unfortunate side effects of raising your risk of breast cancer and heart disease. But science marches on, and Swedish researchers believe they’ve discovered a simple and effective treatment option: Just relax.

This is not something I would ever suggest to MLW during one of her heat waves, but a recent randomized study at Linköping University found that relaxation therapy led to a significant drop in the number of hot flashes experienced by the middle-aged women who participated in the study. Plus, they found the treatment boosted their memory, concentration and quality of sleep while their anxiety levels dropped.

That could be great news for menopausal women. Feel free to spread the word.

, an Experience Life deputy editor, explores the joys and challenges of aging well.

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