Menopause can be a worrying and isolating time, but women don't have to go through it alone, reports MAXINE GORDON

RENNI Prelle is 56 and works as a complementary therapist in North Yorkshire.

She'd been struggling with her own menopausal symptoms for about five years – and knew some of her clients were too.

So she decided to do something about it.

Next month, she will be running Embrace The Change, a one-day workshop aimed at women who want to find out more about natural ways to ease menopausal symptoms.

The timing could not be better too after new research suggests a higher risk of breast cancer from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – drugs to treat menopausal symptoms – than previously thought.

York Press:

SUPPORT: Renni Prelle who is organising Embrace The Change workshop

Renni said: "I have been having hot flushes for about four or five years and just didn't feel right. I've had headaches and slow weight gain too. Through my work as a therapist, I came across many other women who were feeling the same. For so many women, it's just a part of life, and something nobody really talks about."

Renni is set to change that with the interactive workshop she is running with fellow complementary therapists Michaela Scott and Ruth Tarr on Tuesday October 8.

The trio run UNWIND York, arranging relaxing day retreats in idyllic locations for people to experience holistic therapies and activities.

The menopause workshop will take place at Deighton Lodge, just off the A19 between York and Escrick.

Renni said: “It will be a day of relaxation with the focus on how we can manage menopausal symptoms without struggling too much. Highly qualified and experienced therapists and coaches will be on hand to showcase their skills.”

Renni says not every woman wants to take HRT. “But what are the alternatives? Michaela is a fully-qualified medical herbalist and will cover the role of nutrition and supplements and specific herbal medicines that can be beneficial.”

There will be some interactive fun too, including sampling herbal teas and making a nourishing face cream, while Ruth will explore the perception of self-care and the vital role it plays both before and during the menopause, says Renni.

She added: “Sleep is often a problem during menopause. Local therapist Claire Cutler Casey will be on hand to share simple techniques to help turn down the heat, improve focus and clarity, sleep well and feel fabulous again.”

Renni will show some simple but very effective hand reflexology techniques to increase energy levels. She will also be leading a discussion about possible symptoms and how the menopause may affect women physically as much as mentally.

A home-cooked lunch, light refreshments, and an “HRT cake” (a wheat, dairy and sugar free bake full of hormone-boosting natural plant oestrogens and omega oils) are all included in the fee of £97.

To find out more or book a place, contact Renni at, or telephone her on 07940 029672 or visit Unwind York on Facebook.

York Press:

LEADER: Melanie Elkan who will lead the new support group in York

MENOPAUSE can impact women’s mental as well as physical health, which is why two York organisations are launching a series of new support sessions.

Pause the Menopause is being run by Kyra, a local women’s group, and mental health charity York Mind. It offers a range of free, eight-week support group sessions for women facing the change.

It will cover topics such as sleep, nutrition, relaxation and alternative therapies and will be open to women in York and the surrounding area, including Selby and Tadcaster.

The weekly sessions will allow women to support each other and share their own experiences says Melanie Elkan who will lead the weekly meet-ups.

And you don't have to be going through the change to join in – you can sign up if you are peri or pre menopausal and just want to find out more about what happens at this time in your life, says Melanie.

These new sessions follow the success of pilot programmes which had generated positive feedback.

Melanie said: "People said they felt less isolated and enjoyed sharing their experiences with each other, especially around the areas of nutrition and relaxation."

Besides visiting their GP, Melanie said women often had nowhere to turn to discuss the menopause.

And following recent news that HRT can lead to a higher risk of breast cancer than previously thought, Melanie believed more women would be interested in chatting to others about this issue and finding out about more natural ways to cope with the change.

"We don't offer any hard and fast advice, but it's an opportunity to discuss HRT and feel better informed so you can make your decision," she said.

Speakers will be present at most sessions, including a medical expert as well as alternative therapists to talk about yoga, nutrition and herbal medicine.

Jamie Edwards, York Mind activities manager, said the sessions offered an important service to local women.

She said: “Our programme is about mental health and wellbeing. The menopause can cause loneliness and isolation and relationship difficulties. It can impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing.”

Pause for the Menopause, an eight-week peer support group will run at Kyra, Central Methodist Church, St Saviourgate, York.

There are three upcoming sets of dates – including evening sessions – for women to book their free place:

Wednesday October 2 - Wednesday November 27, 10am-12 noon

Wednesday January 8 - Wednesday February 26, 6pm-8pm

Friday March 20 - Friday May 2, 10am-12 noon.

For find out more or register for your place email: