Menopause is the time that marks the end of one's menstrual cycles. Every woman goes through this natural biological process. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian practice of medicine, has some wonderful solutions to alleviate the distress felt by women entering this stage of their lives.
Menopause is not mentioned as a disorder in classical Ayurvedic texts; understanding the causes and symptoms of menopause and applying some essential natural therapies to alleviate physical discomfort can help a woman age gracefully.
Menopause also causes many changes to your skin. Today, we will discuss beauty during menopause
July 31, 2021 | 39 minutes, 34 seconds
By Vaidya. Jay Parla
Barbara - Namaste and welcome to the Athreya Herbs podcast. My name is Barbara Guerrero, and I am an Ayurvedic practitioner in Los Angeles. Today we're going to continue our discussion on menopause. We're going to have Vaidya Jay join us in discussing rejuvenation during menopause. We have a few topics for that. Welcome, Vaidya Jay; thank you so much for joining us.
Vaidya - Thank you, Barbara. Welcome, all our podcast listeners, Happy New Year to you all. We are here to support you, your family, and your community, to help you thrive in life with the knowledge of Ayurveda. That's our goal here. Barbara has been very focused on the topic of menopause. We are doing this podcast to address specific complaints during this challenging period of menopause. Thank you, Barbara, for having me again.
Barbara - Yes, of course, it’s always such a good discussion, and you always give us great information. We'll get right into it. We're going to pretty much stick today in terms of beauty during menopause. What usually is becoming deficient while women go through menopause, and how can we replenish what has been lost.
Vaidya - First and foremost, I want to affirm to all our listeners that people have a fear or negative connotation that menopause will make them look ugly. This is something that's the taboo of what happens during menopause is counterproductive to beauty, and women lose their beauty. That's not true at all, and it’s a beautiful shift or change in women's appearance as long as we accept and work with it. I’d use an entirely different outlook for the body, especially the areas we will look at beauty as. For ages, beauty is looked upon as reflected through the eyes, hair, nail, skin. These are the areas that will change during menopause, but it's not a negative impression that women should have. I give you a simple example of a close friend and a patient of mine who very gracefully went through menopause. She let her hair naturally turn grey, what they call salt and pepper looks. She was very proud of her hair, and it was so lustrous because of what she did from an Ayurvedic point of view or Ayurvedic guidelines. Her hair was grey but was lustrous and attractive. If you think you are letting go of the body into this change, you allow the body to appear in a dull non-attractive fashion. The only thing that we need to do is that it is going to change, and how do I change my attraction with whatever beautiful expressions that I have. This friend and patient of mine did the same. Everybody stopped and asked her, “What do you do for your hair or skin?” Even though she was not putting on anything that was artificially enhancing beauty, she did simple things. The first and the most important thing that she did is accept and thrive in this change which is the key factor that made her beauty come through. That's what our listeners have to keep in mind. It's not something that you need to be fearful about. It's something that you need to accept and embrace boldly. This point I have said, Barbara, but now I go back to your question.The question is, what is lost in terms of beauty? The shift of the so-called Pitta phase of life to the Vata phase. We have talked about it in the last podcast as well. But, in terms of the language we want to communicate to all our listeners, hormonal changes are important. When the estrogen is getting depleted, the tissues lose their vigorous supply of nutrition. Estrogen is responsible for blood flow. We all know that when estrogen comes in, the uterine wall builds up, but the body is not mobilizing only the uterus, every cell of the body gets that flow, and women know that. The hormones are responsible, like the Pitta is responsible for warming the blood. That warmth is getting lost; that’s why people get cold as they go towards a postmenopausal state. Premenopausal, they will get that hot flash, but postmenopausal, they get into this cold stage where the hands will become cold. What is it doing Beauty-wise? The skin will become dull. So, we need to find another way to improve the blood flow to the skin, and there are many ways of doing it. We will talk about it in a minute. Blood is being deficient. Rejuvenation happens with the blood. In Ayurveda, we say that the blood brings redness to the skin and brings Prana (life force). The life force that is lacking needs to be somehow encouraged by the choices that we make in our daily routine and the beauty care we will talk about. That's one thing: the blood. The second thing that is also lost is lymph. Until recently, people thought lymph was draining all the waste products and supplying the nutrients into the tissues. Still, I recently discovered an entire organ just under the skin that was hidden on the plain site. They discovered this organ which is made from a huge network of lymphatic cells or lymphatic networks. This network brings the plush-like softness on the skin due to that specific flow of lymph under the skin. that is getting depleted. The lymph in Ayurveda is called rasa, just for our audience to remember that we talked about rasa as well in one of the first podcasts. Rasa is characteristically soft, mild, and slightly moist; it also has lubricating quality or smearing qualities. When Vata, the wind energy starts increasing, the biosystem has the exact opposite quality of dry, rough, and minute, keeps on eroding this lymph or rasa under the skin. The two liquid-based tissues, the rasa, and the rakta, the lymph and the blood get depleted. That is what we have to keep in mind when we want to enhance the beauty of the person’s appearance. The eye, skin appearance, and hair also depend on the flow of the blood and lymph nodes. These are happening at the tissue level. One more thing that depletes and is an essential factor that Ayurveda says is Ojas. Ojas is also getting depleted at this time. Most of the audience will have heard about it somewhere if they are followers of Ayurveda. Ojas is responsible for the immune system, but it brings the natural glow to the skin when it is abundantly present and normal in quantity and function. That is also slightly diminishing. Our audience has to think there is an essence called Ojas, which comes from all the tissue nourishment responsible for the skin radiance coming down in this challenging time. Lastly, the body fluids necessary for keeping the skin moist and tissues nurtured are also coming down. The fluids are going down, the fluid base tissues, the lymph and the blood, the rasa and rakta, are coming down, and also the Ojas. These are the things that we need to address. Indirectly I just wanted to take one second here, Barbara. Rasa is responsible for nourishment, whereas the Rakta is responsible for bringing lifeforce, a vital force called prana, to Ayurveda. The prana is also lacking because the blood is not completely perforating the entire body. Look at how many things we have, four direct things and one indirect, prana, the life force. Ojas, the blood and the lymph, and the body fluids are the things that are important for the beauty aspect. How do we increase our beauty and rejuvenate our bodies during menopause?
Barbara - Right. I think we tend to just look on the outside. You see it everywhere you go, commercials on TV and advertising companies spend so much on different products to put on our skin on the outside. But if we can make some changes on the inside, that’s going to happen.
Vaidya - You said it correctly; all of us think that something is being depleted from outside. It’s not that you're right. That's a good point.
Barbara - You mentioned under the skin, in our subcutaneous tissue, there's a lot of change happening. What is something that we can do to help that inevitable loss?
Vaidya - That's correct. Let's look at and give our audience some essential tips so that they can right away adopt them to prevent any changes that are happening in subcutaneous areas. When I say subcutaneous, that means right under the skin. The tone of the skin depends on the subcutaneous tissue. One of the things we talked about before the podcast and Barbara you ultimately agreed with is the fat distribution during this menopause, which is also happening at the subcutaneous level that means right under the skin because the fluids are not moving. We have to remind all our listeners about the fat cells, also called adipose cells. In Ayurveda, we call it Meda, so these fat cells are very plumpie. These plumpie cells achieve their plump by storing a lot of water in the giant vacuoles or chambers they have. We call the chamber vacuoles in medicine. These vacuoles hold a lot of water inside okay. As the water or the fluids move in different directions because of menopausal changes, the fat irregularly distributes itself. You will see fat, or a little bit of accumulation of fat cells, not on the shoulder, but after the deltoid, around the arm, elbow, behind the elbow where the triceps are. You never did anything abnormal; how would it move precisely in that area, sink and store in there like a sack of water, or it may be not on the thigh, but two folds next to the knees, it will start accumulating. This is something that gives an odd shape to the body. In Ayurveda, we have Gharshana, which means rubbing the body with either powder or dry cloth, or raw silk. The idea is to produce friction and ensure that the sacks of fatty fluids coming and accumulating are moved. It's somewhat like dry brushing but a little different. In dry brushing, you just do the body, and among the seven layers of the skin, you take out most of the outer and the second layer; you peel it off by dry brushing, but here it is different. How is it different? The dead cell removal is not your intention, and you intend to move the fluids that are abnormally accumulating in the fats. You use the dry powder to mobilize. At Athreya, we have a healthy bathing powder that can be used. You lie down or sit in a bathtub and look at the areas where the fat is accumulating, and then you just rub it with a little bit of powder and keep on rubbing, the powder falls on the bottom, you tap your hands again into the powder and keep rubbing that area. It firms the skin; when it does that, the sagging or the folding of the skin due to the water accumulation in abnormal areas will start mobilizing. Ayurveda has always recommended oil to be used after this dry scrubbing or rubbing. People can see Gharshana on YouTube; many Ayurvedic enthusiasts have put out videos of how to do Gharshana. You can use a silk glow and the powder and rub it against your body. That's one. The skin becomes so soft with it. One has to experience it, then only they will know. The healthy bathing powder we put on and rub ourselves or have is a nourishing face scrub that can be used on the neck to have some irregular distribution of fatty tissues. On the neck, cheeks, the cheek line, and the jawbone line, that's where the skin is going to sag now. You want to pull it up with these powders and then rub them for about 5 -10 minutes to move them to the evenly distributed area rather than accumulated in one part. The other point I just missed out on is using the oil. Oil application and massage will bring in those fibers that we always talk about: collagen and elastin. Elastin and collagen are the two skin fibers responsible for giving elasticity and firmness to the skin, and they can be improved by doing the oil. First, you rub yourself with a powder, and then put the oil on, on maybe a weekly basis. It may be challenging every day, but weekly on a Saturday or a Sunday, make it a ritual, apply it all over the body first, rub it with the powder, wipe the powder off, and use the oil to massage. This is all happening externally. Internally, from an Ayurvedic point of view, you want to resort to some kind of diet that is nourishing. We forget what most people think about collagen. They believe this collagen powder is very famous nowadays. Barbara, do you know what is very renowned for collagen?
It is bone broth or beef bone broth.
Barbara - Yes
Vaidya - It is becoming crazy. I was at a health conference before the COVID. I went to this conference, and there were people giving samples and all that. I was just watching some women go to a lady who was selling bone broth collagen. She was giving these shots, and the two of the participants were just tasting it, and she said, drink it. Do you feel it? Do you think it is in the skin? You drink the collagen immediately, and the skin becomes tight. That was the impression that the lady was giving me. Probably, it is one step closer to feeling discouraged about all these things happening. You just take it, and at least you've some hope. I was saying, and we forget that good fruits are a great source of collagen, like papaya, apples, and pears. These are excellent sources that naturally bring in skin tone and elasticity. People seldom talk about them because they're always available. We're always looking into things that are rare and expensive commodities then only it works.
Barbara - Yes, we know the beauty industry is very profitable.
Vaidya - Ayurveda recommends taking something as fresh as the fruits, which bring in Prana. Earlier I was saying that blood is also being deficient. Fruits are the great stuff to build blood and Prana into the body. Have a calendar or routine on your refrigerator where you look at and say, and today is Monday, my grape days. You eat a bowl of grapes, then Tuesday is your blueberry day, Wednesday is your Apple day. If you distribute like that, you will have skin that is just glowing. What did these great sages eat? They had such a great glow in them? They ate only fruits for energy, so their skin was always so radiant. Our audience has to revisit the age-old friend of humans and fruits. Also, the soaked fruits like you can soak raisins or apricots or figs and things like that in the currents or something. You soak it in the water and leave it for about six, eight hours. Right before you eat dinner, you eat these soaked fruits, and they also have a tremendous effect on skin health. You have fresh fruits and washed berries, and these are very helpful and bring hydration into the skin. That is something that our audience can easily do. Right?
Barbara - Yes, perfect. What kind of oils would be suitable for our skin during menopause for daily self-massage?
Vaidya - There is an oil specifically for the skin called Kumkumadi thailam; it’s become very famous and is called saffron-based oil. At Athreya, we also sell kumkumadi thailam for healthy face oil; that’s what we call it. People swear by it; it’s such a great oil. It's been coming from a book that is about 450- 500 years old. The textbook that first listed this oil for beauty was done according to the classical textbook’s great ingredients. One of the main ingredients is saffron; Saffron tonifies the skin and also helps to reduce the tendency towards depression. Studies show that saffron can reduce mental sluggishness, so there's a side benefit of using that for the face and the body. It can be either like the ashwagandha Bala oil. Everybody knows about ashwagandha, and there’s an oil ashwagandha Bala oil; this oil is excellent for both Vata and Pitta and can be used for the entire body. If they cannot find the ashwagandha Bala oil, they can use the traditional Mahanarayana oil. It's a mouthful to say, the name may be strange, but the effects are lovely. Our audience can try that out. Those oils can be used. I did not touch the base on the Herbs for under the skin. Herbs like Shatavari can be an excellent tonic for the skin and menopause as well. It provides relief from a severe hot flash and lubrication of the skin and moisture in the vaginal dryness. Shatavari is one, and the second thing is Amalaki. All menopausal women are lucky because they have Amalaki. After all, it is a great herb that helps with rasa, and the lymphatic system gets truly nourished by rasa. So we should use Amalaki and Shatavari for under-skin nourishment and beauty.
Barbara - Okay, perfect. Then like I said, in those kinds of oils, if we leave them, they'll sort of soak into that subcutaneous layer, also sort of help from the inside out. Correct?
Vaidya - True. They can apply in the morning, do all their work, and then around 11 o'clock. They can take until they can soak in a while on a day when they can dedicate time. If not, we can even apply it on this face oil sometimes, and my clients will say I used it in the night and when I wake up in the morning, it's all absorbed. But just a caution to all our listeners, it does stain the cloth, so look at something that protects your pillows or linen. We missed a big part which is hair oil. This, friend and a patient of mine I was talking to there is oil in Ayurveda called as Neelibringadi oil, Neel is Indigo, Indigofera tinctoria, the Indigo color substance it's nowadays used in hair dyes, it's an excellent herb and Bhringaraj is Eclipta alba. These two are the king and the queen herbs for hair. They make the hair lustrous, the dryness of the scalp is taken away. They are just suitable for improving the rejuvenation of the hair. It's specifically for that, so our audience should even try that out. You can put it on, and you don't have to put a lot of it. You can put a little bit of it on the scalp, rub it in, and allow it to stay on the scalp on the days when you wash your hair. If not just a few drops, 10 to 12 drops, just rub it in the scalp in the nighttime before you go to sleep; by morning, it is all gone into your scalp, and the hair looks gorgeous.
Barbara - Okay, that's good, and I think our color may vary as long as it looks healthy with the hair changing. It helps to make women feel better too. So the color may change a little bit, but it still seems very beneficial and does a lot to help.
Vaidya - I think the natural change in the hair does not) gives a different look and makes the women look very wise. This is because they have tone attraction in the type of hair that they have.
Barbara - Yes. Now that we talked to you about the hair, and will continue on a little bit, sometimes, many women have issues with their eyes. What can we do for our eyes?
Vaidya - The glow of the eyes speaks to the beauty. Any plain ghee can be used to massage the Eyes. Upper lid lower lid can be massaged by using just regular ghee or a herbalized ghee such as Triphala ghee can also promote the luster of the eyelids and the glow or the glitter that the menopause is draining from the eyes. If the eyes have a natural reflection of the ghee being rubbed into them and dryness being taken out, 50% of the problem of dull eyes goes away. The second thing that we also do recommend in Ayurveda is using a high-quality kajal. Kajal is like eyeliner, and you can get Ayurvedic kajal. Kajal is used on the eye. It's like eyeliner, and they put it on the lower lid, which also lubricates the eye inside and outside, giving the clear distinction of the white and dark part of the eye. That is the second thing. The third thing is doing the ghee into the eye, but you do need some supervision to do that, but at least you can rub it, and then you can introduce a little bit into the eye as well, which I do. There is a video our audience has to watch on YouTube on the Athreya Ayurveda channel, and you can see that a child, my son, is demonstrating how to use the ghee in the eye. It's a beautiful practice that will clarify the white portion of the eyes to be dull and red. Instead, it is well lubricated, and lubrication inside the eye, the sclera, and the cornea, and the lids will make the eye very attractive. These are the three things that we can do externally. Internally, we can use the Amalaki herb that I said earlier, and the Indian gooseberries are boon to the eyes. At Athreya, we have made a specific combination called healthy eyes. Our listeners can try that. Those are a few herbs beneficial for the general health of the eye, which is now being taxed by the fluid changes that are happening in the eye as well. These are the things that I would recommend for all our listeners to take care of the eye.
Barbara - Perfect. It's not just for menopause. Either we can start now, or you can begin preparation. These are just some good habits to have before menopause.
Vaidya - You said it right; it is just a routine. Menopause may be a trigger for this, but you can do it continuously so that you can protect your eyes in the years to come.
Barbara - Yes, always a good thing. The last thing I have on my list is teeth. What can we do for our teeth?
Vaidya - The bone loss that happens during menopause, periodontal disease is very well reported now. Women going through menopause suffer from gum and teeth diseases commonly. The age-old oil pulling technique, swishing the oil in the mouth, is one of the best things; it protects the lips, makes the cheeks have a normal tone, and the skin becomes firmer when you do oil Pulling. Oil Pulling can be done with sesame oil. There are other types of oils too, sesame oil paste with some extracted oils of nutmeg or clove will be excellent for swishing the oil in the mouth. The one thing everybody can do for about three to five minutes is swishing every day, either in the morning or evening. Once a day is enough, Barbara people think that they have to do 20, 30 minutes or an hour, that's not recommended. Just five minutes is more than enough. The teeth will become very clean. I am not against dental flossing; you can do that. There’s no problem, and use the gum tone powder to help. What we eat is also essential. If we eat something detrimental to our teeth and bones, then it will cause issues. Eat something like seeds and nuts in large quantities, chew them for a long time and then swallow. You stimulate the teeth by chewing on them and biting on stuff like fresh fruits. When you bite into them, the teeth will get the nourishment they are looking for. So fresh fruit, seeds, and nuts to chew on, and that is the secret of keeping the teeth beautiful during this menopause.
Barbara - Perfect. So many good ideas. To sum everything up, Don't forget about making changes from the inside out and not just to the outside.
Vaidya - Correct, that's point number one.
Barbara - Yes. So that again, I think because Ayurveda to body, mind, and spirit are all connected. Do you think meditation could also help with your beauty too?
Vaidya - Yes. In meditation, you can manifest what you want. You brought up a strong point. After the reflection on the ancient culture of the Vedic system, you hold your hand for the universal energy to support you. You can touch your eyes if you can knead your eyes to be beautified; you can feel your entire face, skin, arms after the meditation to awaken these parts and bring more spiritual vibrations to them. Barbara, you spoke the last word that is so important for this. Beauty without spiritual energy is not going anywhere.
Barbara - Yes, as I said, it's all connected, so we can't separate. You can't concentrate on one without doing the other, so they both go hand in hand. Well, thank you so much. Do you have any last words of wisdom for us before we say goodbye?
Vaidya - Beauty is not fixed. Beauty is a river, and you need to flow with it.
Barbara - Beautifully said. Thank you so much, Vaidya Jay, for sharing all your knowledge with us. We look forward to the next one. Thank you so much.
Vaidya - Thank you, Barbara, and our audience for being patient and listening to this. I hope you get to do at least a few of these to feel great about your beauty during menopause. Thank you, Barbara.
Barbara - Thank you, Namaste.
Vaidya - Namaste
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