Is menopause the last wellness taboo?Jul 20, 2022
It seems that menopause is the wellness last taboo. There is little research, other than that commissioned by the Jennifer Young team, and worse than that, there is very little conversation around this experience that just about every woman has in her lifetime. So, what can we do about it?
Our collective challenge with menopause
Jennifer Young and the Jennifer Young Training School are recognised experts in oncology touch treatments and specialist skincare for those affected by cancer. However, as you may well know, more recently we have turned our attention to supporting women through menopause. Having spent a decade helping those experiencing an induced medical menopause resulting from cancer treatment, we also wanted to help those experiencing a natural menopause. Why? Because no one else really is and there are 13 million women in the UK alone who deserve support.
The two barriers we really came up against were:
- Firstly that there is very little research commissioned about menopause, and as people who believe that everything starts with data and evidence, we find this to be a problem. If you have no research, how can you hope to help anyone?
- The second issue is that there is still a stigma around the 'M' word. The result is that women feel isolated and alone when going through a natural progression of life, but one that can nonetheless result in uncomfortable, and at times frightening side effects.
Research into women's hormones
Research is something that we do at Jennifer Young, and menopause was no exception. We commissioned research from the few women's health experts in the UK.
In 2018 we commissioned research from the UK’s Keele University to better inform the questions used and subjects covered by Project Menopause Million. We then worked with the University of Birmingham to provide academic validation for the findings, allowing them to undergo academic statistical scrutiny and for a research paper to be published.
It was on the basis of that information that we could better understand menopause, its treatment, and the efficacy of different holistic products and approaches to hormonal imbalance. All of this led us to launch MPlus, which, like all of our work, has two sides to it - products and dedicated qualifications for spa therapists.
Our research hasn't stopped there however. Alongside academic knowledge, we have also gained (and continue to gain) anecdotal information. From conversations with women about their menopause experience, learning about their symptoms and their conversations with doctors as well as recording their immediate and long-term response to our products and treatments. After all, you never stop learning or evolving.
Tackling the taboo around menopause
By creating our products and treatments however, we might create a vehicle for changing attitudes, but it doesn't in itself change the stigma around menopause. Every single person and spa destination we speak to agrees that women need support, but there is still enormous concern around using the term 'menopause'.
We see the problematic attitude towards women and their hormones on a much wider and more insidious scale around the world as well. It is not such a leap to consider the US Supreme Court's decision on Roe v Wade as the ultimate example of that stigma.
Like so many things, some people are more comfortable talking about their bodies, their hormones and their wellbeing than others. That is fine - our health is personal and should be treated with the utmost respect. However, from those who are in a position of being able to provide support, the concern doesn't come from a place of privacy and respect, it comes from a place of judgement and denial.
In many ways, women's hormones are the final frontier of gender inequality in cultures that consider themselves to be beyond such things. The refusal to acknowledge and address menopause means that we are not appropriately caring for women in the workplace during hormonal change (unless it's pregnancy, which is required to be addressed by law); it means we are not providing sufficient medical care and care options; and on a commercial level it means that businesses are wilfully ignoring 50% of the population and the journey that they either are on or will go on.
So, we ask you. Do you think menopause is taboo?