Paced breathing, a meditation technique, has been noted by the New York Times to lessen the severity of hot flashes. Not only that, it lowers high blood pressure, helps with depression, stress and the ability to release anger. It also improves your clarity of thought. Paced breathing is a practice which simply means you have to practice every day to get good at it. Ten minutes a day to begin is plenty as a hot flash remedy. Don’t think you have to be a Yoga master to do this. It’s a no-brainer!
This is how you do it:
Any place or position is fine. You can lie down with your hands on your belly or sit at your desk at work. Take slow, deep, full breaths, gently inhaling and exhaling at the rate of 6 to 8 breaths per minute (the normal rate is 15 breaths per minute.) Focus on the air going in and out. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for 5 seconds, making an almost silent “hummm” as you inhale, and then exhale slowly and completely out of your mouth quietly sighing a “sahh” sound. “Hummm” – breathe in; “sahhhhh” – breathe out. As you breathe in, bring the air into your stomach area and allow your stomach to expand and rise. As you exhale, your stomach can sink and relax. Try to breathe into the bottom of your lungs with each inhalation while keeping your rib cage still (I think this prevents you from hyperventilating.)
After some practice, you will begin to gain some control over your hot flashes. When you feel one coming on, use this paced breathing meditation to cut it off at the pass. A great way to train yourself is with biofeedback. There are some small, portable machines these days that allow you to practice no matter where you are. Happy trails to you!