(This article, submitted by a Local 802 member, contains advice and suggestions intended to improve one’s health and well-being. Local 802 and Allegro offer no endorsement or recommendation regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the remedies suggested, and readers may wish to consult their healthcare professional before following the advice offered herein.)
Have you ever felt bloated, cranky, and generally out of sorts? Or, do you know someone who periodically suffers from these and other symptoms to include: headaches, irritability, skin eruptions, backache, tenderness, cramps, depression, food cravings, fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, water retention, hot flashes or night sweats? Well, whether these symptoms are related to PMS or menopause, they affect every system of the body and need to be addressed. And, when the “show must go on,” female musicians need quick and reliable sources of relief!
First, let me tell you the most direct approach for musicians when these symptoms start percolating. Try some music therapy. Most specifically, sit and play (or play it for someone else) a G# major pentatonic scale (G#, A#, B#, D#, E#) over and over. Let the repetitious playing of this scale hypnotize you and sync up with your heartbeat. Relax in the sound. Listening to mellow music in the key of G# can also be therapeutic.
In chromotherapy (color therapy), the tone G# governs the uterus and corresponds to the color bright orange. Try accessorizing with this color during hormonally stressful times. Add orange scarves, sweaters or jewelry and watch your mood change.
There are even G# tuning forks that you can conveniently carry for instant therapy.
The key of C# is used to combat severe mid-life crisis – which many times syncs up with hormonal conditions. Turquoise accessories complete the C# therapy but I usually recommend any shade of blue for these cases.
Blues increase vitality, energy and help relieve nervous irritability.
The holistic approach to female problems can take from two to six months to work, as your body adjusts to nutritional changes. It is time well spent since attention to PMS issues in your early years helps later down the line as you transition to menopause.
The suggestions I give here for diet are very general and by no means a complete list of the foods for women’s issues. You can research that on the Internet by typing in the particular condition you suffer from, like PMS or menopause.
Strive for a diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy, fish or chicken. Consider raw pumpkin seeds as they aid physical and mental stress as well as metabolic processes. Yams and soy are other smart choices as they contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens).
The restaurant MANA on Amsterdam and 92nd Street in Manhattan is a Mecca for the wholesome foods recommended here, including yam croquettes – just order them broiled, not fried. Wild yam cream, available at health food stores, contains natural progesterone-like compounds that relieve hormone-related symptoms when rubbed into soft tissue areas on the body.
Avoid or at least begin to limit your intake of all processed and fried foods, carbonated drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, white sugar, regular table salt (try replacing that with sea salt available at health food stores) and caffeine (which includes chocolate and many sodas).
One last tip: try edamame – a Japanese vegetable soybean pod. Edamame is rich in protein and a highly nutritious snack that feels like a treat. Look for it in the frozen food section of your health food store.
Just as with prostate concerns, hormonal imbalances are at the root of your female issues and the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) nourish the hormonal system of the human body. The EFA’s are also the beautifying oils – they give you great hair, skin and nails – so enjoy sources of these good fats like salmon, walnuts, mackerel, flaxseed or primrose oil. If you don’t get EFA’s through your diet, you need to take supplements. Remember, the body can’t make them.
Women also need to make absolutely sure their multivitamin has the complete range of B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin, choline, inositol and PABA. Once again, I recommend a Tri-B Complex (B6, B12 and folate), in addition to your multivitamin, for extra protection for the female organs, as well as to help deal with stress and depression that may accompany many hormone-related reactions.
Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and boron are also important. See a professional for a complete and personal vitamin workup.
Here are a few effective herbal or homeopathic treatment options. An experienced naturopath or homeopath can help you decide the correct remedy and dosage.
The herb black cohosh has been proven effective for menstrual problems and menopause.
Dong quai is a Chinese herb, known as the “female tonic,” that is used to treat hormone imbalances.
Chasteberry is the favorite herb in Europe, where people say it works wonders as a tonic for the reproductive organs.
If your period is early, profuse and long lasting with bearing down pains, try calcarea carbonica. Use magnesia carbonica if your flow is worse at night. If abdominal cramps are on the left side and make you double up, then colocynthis is for you.
Aconitum napellus (formerly mentioned for colds, flu and smoker’s cough) is indicated for physical and mental restlessness in midlife accompanied by sleeplessness with tossing, turning and nightmares. Sepia is available for hot flashes, which leave you nauseated, worn out and depressed. Pulsatilla works for “indoor” hot flashes; belladonna aids hot flashes that concentrate in the face with palpitations.
For the homeopathic remedies mentioned here, potencies of 30c/30x or below are recommended.