Yoga… a natural sleeping aid, and all around healthy exercise

Yoga-retreatsInsomnia, or a lack of sleep has been known to be suffered by women reaching and undergoing menopause. Often doctors will prescribe tablets to help us sleep, or offer us some kind of therapy to manage our sleeping patterns. From experience, I cannot say I have ever enjoyed the feeling of grogginess after taking sleeping pills and I personally would prefer not to take tablets if there may be another solution to help me sleep.

Well now, there may be a drug-free solution, one that will help you sleep and also improve your overall wellbeing… Yoga. A recent study has found that after a 12 week course of yoga classes, women were more likely to sleep through the night and cope better with menopause symptoms. This experiment was carried out on 249 women who all took Omega oil supplements whilst taking part in their new exercise regimes. It is said that after 12 weeks, you are less likely to suffer from insomnia and depression and that your quality of sleep will also be improved. Read more about the findings by clicking the link below:

If you have trouble sleeping, we also recommend you try a few home remedies to see if it makes a difference. A few things you can try include:

– Have a relaxing bath before bed time, ensure that the temperature is not too hot as this can worsen hot flushes. Try lavender bath salts as lavender is a natural relaxer.

– Buy a lavender pillow mist, as lavender has relaxing qualities and is great for helping you to wind down after a busy day.

– Try a warm oat drink (you can also use soya milk if you do not wish to drink dairy) as you are more likely to sleep on a fuller stomach. As a rule it is not great to eat after 7pm, so a hot drink will be sufficient in helping you feel relaxed.

– Read a book – a real one. It has been said (though I have no evidence, just thought I would share it with you) that when using a device such as a computer, it stimulates your brain and can take hours for you to turn off after using the device. Therefore, read a paperback to make your eyes tired, and hopefully you will drift off more easily, save your tablet for when your on the go and give the old paper versions a chance to prove their worth!

– Try and get into a routine before bed, and make sure this includes setting aside time to wind down and relax, as you are far more likely to receive higher quality sleep if your body has started to slow down earlier in the evening.

– Use a humidifier, as this may help to regulate the air in your bedroom, making you less hot and your breathing easier.

We hope you find these tools useful and that you have great success in your new yoga class, soon you will be a master of relaxation.

DIY surgically enhanced dimples and hog’s lard, what women used to care for their skin 100 years ago…

I recently came across a fantastically written article that highlighted historical skin care claims from people who considered themselves pioneers of the time, from around the reign and death of Queen Victoria. The article mentions snippets of ‘study manuals’ for women of the age, describing all sorts of, what we now consider to be, weird and wonderful methods of maintaining a healthy glow.

Some of the suggestions, that most would be horrified of participating in in modern day life, include putting lard on your face, incorporating sour milk into your daily moisturising regime and even a do it yourself guide on how to give yourself fake dimples using only a knife, a hook and a pair of scissors! I can’t envisage home kits for plastic surgery ever coming back into fashion…

It really is amazing how far skin care has come in such a short time, considering that now we have scientific remedies for reducing scar tissue and even regrowing whole areas of skin after injury. I don’t think I would have liked to have been a woman in Victorian Britain, resorting to not smiling and being told not to rub salad dressing into my face in case I grow a beard! I am very grateful for the clinical advances in modern day skincare and am a strong believer that science based products are the way forward, though I wouldn’t out rule all old wives tales, such as facial massage that has been said to stimulate relaxation of your facial muscles, and of course is generally a pleasant experience.

Read the article (link below) to get an insight into how our extraordinary ancestors looked after their skin.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be dull. Here are some recipes that will help nurture your skin, and your appetite!

So we all know that we should eat healthily in our attempts to remain eternally youthful, but often it is easy to get distracted by the other, yummier, options on the shelf that fulfil our craving for diminishing the feelings of stress and depression that menopause can often bring.

Well, not anymore… we have found some tantalisingly tasty recipes online that mean you can still eat your favourite comfort foods, and be safe

imagesin the knowledge that the ingredients are packed full of goodness for your body, and more importantly your skin.

Below are some links to fantastic recipes that include cookies, lollies, alleged healthy cocktails and a top 10 list of foods that are essentials in your daily meal round up. Foods that are high in anti-oxidants such as blueberries, pomegranates and almonds are great for the skin as they can help protect against free radicals. Healthy delights such as fish and spinach are full of Omega-3 oils, which can generally improve the appearance of your skin and also has benefits for keeping your heart healthy. Avocado is also a great anti-inflammatory food, meaning it can help to maintain healthy skin and is also a source of natural fats, which your body needs, as opposed to saturated fats that are in many other food products that we buy in modern day life.

So if your feeling down, or feeling guilty about wanting a cheeky mid-afternoon snack, you can instead choose a home made healthy cookie that will satisfy your cravings and maintain a healthy complexion.

I hope you find these links useful!

Bone density decreases during menopause, but you could prevent it by taking up dance classes

It has been reported that by the time you arrive at menopause, your bone density has already started to deteriorate.

According to the article published yesterday on The Star Online, osteoporosis is more common in women as their bones are ‘smaller and lighter’, and also because the loss of oestrogen during and after menopause means that bone loss is increased due to the fact that oestrogen helps to protect your bones.

To help prevent osteoporosis, there are several things you can start doing early on in life to make sure you fend off problems like this until much later, or even forever…

Firstly, it is important to have a healthy diet consisting of pulses, nuts and legumes, vegetables, fruit and fish, as these are all good sources of vitamins, minerals and protein. For your bones especially, you should have a good intake of calcium, which can be found in dairy products, or for those who prefer to cut dairy from their diet, you can also find it in soya milk, leafy greens, as a supplement, and I’m sure I have even seen it in a special water type drink made to boost your immunity… either way, calcium will help your bones stay strong and increase bone mass early on, which will put you at an advantage later on when your bones start to break more easily.

It is also vital that you get at least 30 minutes heart pumping exercise per day, particularly in an activity that involves using your legs… as prolonged movement involved in dancing, aerobics, running, walking, skipping and jumping on the spot, strengthens your muscles, ligaments and joints. Next time someone offers you a night out with the girls, you should go! (Just try not to drink too much wine, as this could undo all the hard work you put in on the dance floor!)

Of course there are all the other healthy tips that you will find on our ‘Lifestyle tips’ page that will help you as a guide to healthy living which in turn can help relieve menopausal symptoms. Key tips are: eat right, drink less, don’t smoke and dance like nobody’s watching!

To read more on bone density and how it can affect us, read the article below published on The Star Online:

Could drinking be damaging your décolletage?

It is a well known fact that alcohol isn’t really very good for you. But we all still enjoy a drink of wine with dinner and the occasional tipple after work in the week. But could this be causing our skin to suffer?

A 40 year old woman from Falkirk underwent a detox from any alcoholic beverages and allowed for her progress to be photographed, allowing us all to see the changes it made to her skin. The difference after just 4 weeks is astounding. Her skin looks smoother, younger and her complexion has been greatly improved. All of this achieved by simply cutting out her 15 units of alcohol a week, one unit above the recommended alcohol consumption for women. She has seen a fantastic change, and not only has her skin improved but tis will also take the load off her organs that may have also incurred some damage due to alcohol, as it can have a detrimental affect on all parts of the body.

For more tips about how to decide what you eat and drink and how it affects your body, go to our ‘Lifestyle Tips’ page. Remember next time you put a wine glass to your lips, what affect it could have on your overall appearance, and that if you are going to drink it, moderation is key and not simply just to avoid the dreaded hangover!

Take a look at the picture diary and read more about the detoxifying journey on the Daily Mail link below:

The preservative that has caused an ‘epidemic’ in the cosmetics world.

The latest news in the skin care world is the confirmation that a harmful chemical used as a preservative in many cosmetic products. The preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI) has been linked with an ‘epidemic’ of adverse reactions reported by consumers. MI can be found in many products including shampoos, make up wipes and also some moisturisers, amongst other cosmetics.

Users have reported allergic reactions to the chemical and it seems the symptoms are all very similar; red spots, itchy skin, and in some cases swelling of the face have allegedly been caused by products such as Piz Buin sun cream.

A big relief is that Johnson & Johnson have removed any traces of MI from their production lines, therefore we can be safe in the knowledge that our children will not come in to contact with any nasty stuff.

Researchers presented findings earlier this year that showed there had been a rise in the amount of complaints regarding products containing the chemical. Which makes me wonder why the cosmetics companies didn’t react sooner to take preventative measures?

You can be safe in the knowledge that products from the Stratum C range do not contain the MI chemical and they are perfectly safe. They contain NO harmful ingredients and are designed for sensitive skin, to take extra special care of your complexion at the time when you need it most.

Be careful in the future when choosing which products you use on your skin. MI is not the only chemical that can cause reactions and it is always good to assess your skin type before choosing the right products for you. Dermatologists have asked the beauty industry to stop including MI in all products to ensure that there are no more purchases of the stuff made, but for all of those that think they may already own a few tainted pots that have been hidden away in the bathroom cabinet, it may be worth having a look to check that you are using the best creams and cleansers for your skin.

Remember that your skin, especially on your face, is your biggest feature and that it should be taken care of to the best of your ability. Keeping hydrated and using a good moisturiser is really important, see our Lifestyle tips page to get some more useful ideas for staying healthy and maintaining fabulous skin, especially during menopause.

To read more about MI, click on the article below released by The Huffington Post yesterday:

Traces of some plastics can cause hormone imbalance

According to a study, scientists believe that some traces of plastics that can be found in drinking water bottles may be harmful to your health.

In 2010, it was discovered that the use of BPA or Bisphenol A, could be found in many products including baby bottles, and that it could cause problems with our hormone levels, including having a possible impact on reproduction. The man made chemical has now been banned in some countries due to its dangerous properties, but the latest study finds that some other, yet similar, components found in plastics could be leaving traces in our drinking water too.

The scientists found that out of 18 bottles tested:

“Results of the sample analysis showed that 13 bottles of water demonstrated antiestrogenic activity, while 16 of the bottles showed antiandrogenic activity.”

So if your hormones are erratic enough already (due to menopause or any other hormone related reason!), maybe next time you fancy a refreshing beverage from your local supermarche, you should opt for the glass bottle packaging? Just remember to recycle the bottle afterwards!

To read more, see the official article at Medical News Today:


The ‘Men’-opause… study finds that changes in oestrogen affect men too.

Researchers at a hospital in Massachusetts have discovered that men can experience menopause too, even showing signs of similar kinds of symptoms to that of which us women go through too.

It has been discovered that when men reach a certain age, they can also experience symptoms such as low sex drive, hot flushes and weight gain. This has been thought to have been caused by a deficiency in the female hormone oestrogen, and not solely because of a drop in testosterone levels, as previously thought, which are actually predominantly responsible for muscle growth. The study was carried out on 400 men that agreed to have their hormone levels manipulated to see what happened. Those that had an decrease in natural oestrogen production, were shown to experience menopausal symptoms, just as women do, including a sudden decrease in sexual drive.

Therefore it turns out, it is in fact not testosterone that is responsible for masculinity at all, it is in fact the female hormone that causes the desire for intimacy. So next time a chap claims that he would prefer not to be in touch with his feminine side, you should remind him that it is not such a bad thing.

Read the article by clicking on the link:


Coffee may decrease the risk of Womb Cancer… but I would still opt for decaf…

All our lives, we have been told that coffee is a toxin and that if we drink it, it’s at our own risk, almost as if it has the same affects as alcohol or something. Well according to the below article from NHS Choices, a new study has shown that consuming coffee could aid a healthy lifestyle to help prevent cancer of the womb, something that has often been known to happen in post-menopausal women.

The article states that women that live a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and wholesome foods, are less likely to suffer from cancer of the womb, and cancer generally, as you may expect. It also says that women that carry less weight are at an advantage too, again an obvious tip. But what does coffee have to do with it?

According to the study, drinking coffee can ‘possibly’ decrease the chances of getting womb cancer, or ‘endometrial’ cancer. However, it was advised that tea does not have the same affect and should be avoided, in the same way as alcohol. But then if we avoided everything that added to the cause of different types of cancer, we would all live in bubbles and not ever enjoy ourselves!

In a recent article in the Huffington Post online, it was also stated that coffee can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer too. Scientists have said that too much coffee (more than 4 cups a day) can have an adverse affect on your health (probably because of the high caffeine intake) but it has also been reported that there were no differences between the effect of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee in reducing the risk of cancer, and so we could hit two birds with one stone and simply opt for a decaf option every time?

The study also found that other contributors that increase the risk include red meat, multi-vitamins and soya, so I guess next time you order in your local coffee shop, a skinny decaf cappucino is the way to go, unless you have a milk allergy of course, in which I would recommend a straight up decaf black americano instead! Contrary to popular belief, coffee does not increase stress levels but is great for waking us up in the morning. I suppose everything is ok in moderation, but if it’s simply that coffee taste you love, now you don’t have to feel guilty every time you grab a cup on your way to work. It’s ‘healthy’!

To read the articles mentioned above simply click on the links below.

Finally, an article about menopause and the skin in the news…

Whilst researching the latest news on menopausal skin, we came across this article (below) that outlines some topics about caring for your skin during menopause.

We felt it was appropriate to share with you, it’s great that someone is talking about this topic in the news. It is still shocking how little information you can find online regarding skin and the menopause, though we hope that our blog and the launch of the Stratum C Menopause Skin Care Range will continue to encourage more women to think about ways in which they can care for their skin during this important time.

Menopause is becoming a much more talked about subject, and it is vital that we all remember it is something that all women go through, therefore, we should be talking about it! It will seem a lot less daunting if we all know what to expect, find coping strategies during, and work together to help each other through this part of our life. A problem shared is a problem halved!

The symptoms of menopause can test our emotions, but it needn’t be a challenge if we gather all the information we need to relieve symptoms and not let menopause get in the way of everyday life.

Click on the link below to view the original article about menopause and the skin that was featured on back in late August. We hope you find it useful. Enjoy!