No Longer Taboo: Enter Menopause Wellness Retreats

Last updated September 27, 2023

Menopause is finally coming out of the closet. The menopause wellness economy is booming. And spas are taking note—helping mid-life women calm pesky hormonal shifts by way of a menopause retreat.

Hot flashes and night sweats. Insomnia, fatigue and headaches. Irregular periods, vaginal dryness, a flagging sex drive, heart palpitations, moodiness and a foggy brain.

No, you’re not sick. You’re going through perimenopause, a mid-life transition characterized by a roller coaster of hormonal fluctuations as your estrogen production winds down, your ovaries slow to a halt and your reproductive life ends.

Sad, and true, but I defy you to find more than the occasional woman who misses having a monthly period!

Embracing “the Change”

Perimenopause, by the way, refers to the phase of life when a woman first begins to experience hormonal shifts.  It culminates in the menopause. This typically occurs around the age of 51 in the U.S. and which doctors define as the lack of menstrual periods for 12 months.

After that—reproductive freedom, meaning you don’t need birth control anymore. Although you do need protection against sexually transmitted infections if you’re having sex with new partners.

Perimenopause can start as early as age 35 and reach well into your 50s. For most women, the transition takes about four to seven years. But some unlucky women can have menopausal symptoms for over a decade, according to menopause research, and others may experience a sudden menopause earlier due to surgery or illness.

Menopause symptoms are no joke either. A recent AARP survey of 1,509 women between the ages of 40 and 89 found that 75% say their menopause symptoms interfere with their daily lives—and 9% find them to be absolutely debilitating.

Yet most women don’t have the knowledge they need to make the transition go more smoothly. And only half report that they have had a discussion about menopause with their doctor, much less learned about remedies to relieve their symptoms.

An Inevitable Rite of Passage

The lack of awareness about menopause is changing slowly but surely. The attitude toward it is, too. After all, menopause happens to all maturing women. In fact, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that around 6,000 women reach menopause each day.

What’s more, by 2025, it’s estimated that over one billion women around the world will be perimenopausal. Also by 2025, the so-called menopause wellness economy is expected to exceed $600 billion, according to the Global Wellness Summit, a group of industry experts.

Sheryl Kraft, founder of thePause Newsletter, a popular bi-monthly newsletter for women over 45 that focuses on healthy living and menopause, reports that menopause is finally coming out of the closet.

“There is a plethora of menopause companies, as well as beauty, clothing and wellness products, catering to women experiencing the menopausal transition,” says Kraft. “It’s a booming business. And with so many celebrities talking about it and going through it, it’s getting a ton of attention.” 

Enter menopause retreats.

Spas Are Taking Note With Menopause Retreats

The spa and wellness community, which is all about health, wellness and self-care, is taking note. Spas and resorts are stepping up by offering menopause retreats and programs to help women manage the myriad emotional and physical challenges of “the change.”

Europe is at the forefront of this trend. Groups and individuals in the United States are creating menopause wellness programs, too. Even spas and resorts that don’t have menopause-specific programs are customizing their services to women’s needs with menopause retreats. That’s what they’ve always done, and they’re excelling at assisting their clients as they go through perimenopause. 

To wit: Canyon Ranch, one of the pioneers in spa resorts, offers a customized menopause retreat experience. All visits start with a phone consultation with a Wellness Guide, who helps clients decide what their intention is for their visit to the resort.

If you say you want help with managing the menopause transition, a Wellness Guide might suggest you see experts such as a physician or nurse, nutritionist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, creativity coach and other specialists.

The idea is to receive education, advice and treatments you can take home with you to soothe the perimenopausal beast—all while indulging yourself with spa services that make you feel relaxed and well. 

Canyon Ranch locations include Tucson, ArizonaLenox, Massachusetts, and Woodside, California. Canyon Ranch is also launching members-only wellness clubs in Fort Worth and Houston, Texas. These clubs will offer clients access to fitness and spa facilities and on-going coaching support from professionals. 

Spa Services to Soothe Symptoms

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there are several different kinds of spa services that are potentially helpful and safe to ease menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia and anxiety.

These menopause wellness services include mind-body therapies such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi and hypnotherapy. Exercise, of course, is always on the agenda. It can help manage weight, keep bones strong and give your mood a boost. Research also reveals that regular activity can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Exercise can definitely help improve sleep, too. 

On the dietary side, taking nutrition and culinary classes at spas and resorts can educate you about healthy eating patterns and help you reset your daily diet. Eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help manage some symptoms and excess weight, says Kraft. Facials and other skin treatments can soothe dry, aging skin. 

“Our health takes a turn before, during and after menopause. We need to re-learn, or learn new and better ways, to care for ourselves. A menopause spa retreat can be a good jumping-off point for women to learn healthy ways to cope going forward,” Kraft advises. 

Perhaps most importantly, spas can offer women emotional support as they go through perimenopause. “So many women feel alone. Or never received ‘the talk’ about menopause to prepare them, like we did ‘the talk’ about our periods,” she says.

Swapping stories about symptoms and strategies to avert them can also be a game-changer. “Knowing that we are all in the menopause wellness game together is a huge relief,” Kraft says. 

Cautionary Tales About Menopause Wellness Treatments

The most effective treatment for menopause symptoms is hormone therapy. However, it is not safe or appropriate for every woman, nor should it be used long term. Hormone therapy should only be prescribed by a healthcare professional who has thoroughly reviewed your medical history and current health status, and who can monitor you over the long-term. 

You also should be wary of taking supplements and herbs that haven’t been scientifically proven to work, says the NCCIH. This list includes black cohosh, soy isoflavone supplements, DHEA, red clover, kava and dong quai, which not only aren’t typically effective but may interact with other supplements and drugs you’re taking.

The NCCIH also cautions against use of bioidentical hormones (customized mixes of hormones from plant sources), which may be recommended by non-medical wellness practitioners.

“Women should check out who exactly is dispensing medical advice. They should always check in with their own physician before they take the advice of a health professional they don’t know well,” says Kraft.

“Menopause is a highly individual experience. A person needs to be treated specific to their own symptoms and health status. Same goes for supplements. There are many out there. Women should do their homework as to the ones that are effective and the ones that are not proven, as well as the ones that might be contraindicated for use.”

As with most things medical, knowledge is power when it comes to menopause. If you’re struggling with hot flashes and other symptoms, try booking a menopause retreat for some R&R. A healthy dose of education can help you wrestle those menopausal symptoms to a more-manageable level.

About Vacayou

At Vacayou [pronounced VACAY – YOU], we believe that travel has the power to change lives. The power to revive, rejuvenate and redirect your inner wellness warrior. And that’s why we’re here. Vacayou brings the world of wellness travel to you!

No matter how far or how adventurous, our team scours the globe to curate the best in wellness travel. But the booking process can often be time-consuming and complicated. We’ve made it much easier for you to search, discover, and book wellness and active vacations. With Vacayou’s Instant Book, your dream wellness getaway is now just one click away.

Start the trip of your lifetime today, with Vacayou. We are here to help create a healthier global community through wellness and active travel.

To keep up with the latest wellness trends and experiences, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter

Vacayou Wellness Travel © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.