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Hormone-free help for menopause.

Mind over Menopause by researchers at the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard Medical School--Leslee Kagan and doctors Bruce Kessel and Herbert Benson--is a practical book for women who are searching for a non-medical way of coping with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and sleeplessness that can affect quality of life. The book offers step-by-step guides for a variety of mental health practices, ranging from meditation to progressive muscle relaxation. The authors also suggest ways to work with the mind to overcome difficulties. For example, Cognitive Restructuring involves three "dousing" techniques--awareness, logic and reason--to put out the "fires" of obsessive thinking and negative thought patterns. The book also clearly explains current research on nutrition and exercise. For example, it is common knowledge that eating sweets can cause a rollercoaster effect on mood. The Harvard researchers explain why: Sugary treats cause the body to release tryptophan, an amino acid that helps in the production of serotonin, the good mood brain chemical. Even though serotonin levels may rise, they also quickly fall. Then, feelings of fatigue and depression may return, triggering the urge for another sugar hit to regain the good feeling. Instead of reaching for high-carbohydrate junk foods, the authors recommend eating whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread because these foods stabilize serotonin levels for longer periods of time. All in all, this book is chock-full of good news for any woman who is going through turbulent menopausal times. Mind Over Menopause, by Leslee Kagan M.S., N.P., Bruce Kessel, M.D. and Herbert Benson, M.D., Free Press (New York, Toronto), US$12; CDN$17. ISBN: 0-7432-3697-1. The Mind/Body Medical Institute Web site:

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Title Annotation:Bookmarked
Publication:A Friend Indeed
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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