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Menopause Retreats Offer Shared Experiences and a Sense of Control

Supportive environments at relaxing resorts empower women to focus on self-care and well-being

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Menopause retreats create supportive environments where women can focus on well-being and self-care. Here, a spa experience at Great Ocean Road Resort in Anglesea, Australia.
Courtesy Great Ocean Road Resort

Menopause retreats are trending in the travel space as resorts rush to add wellness programming designed to help women navigate this tricky midlife terrain.

Melissa Biggs Bradley, CEO of Indagare, a membership-based luxury travel agency that offered its inaugural four-night menopause retreat last fall at Canyon Ranch Lenox in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, calls them “the ultimate intentional reset” for women who want to age gracefully through what can be a challenging transition.

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“These retreats are opportunities for women to focus on themselves — to learn about their bodies, concentrate on fitness, spirituality, healthy eating and community, and leave feeling relaxed and inspired as we do from any great vacation,” she says.

At most menopause retreats, typically restricted to small groups, health care and wellness, professionals talk about a bevy of topics, including sexual function, hormone changes and moodiness. The self-care packages often include spa treatments, hiking, yoga, guided meditation, nutritional guidance, sharing circles and a chance to bond with other women.

A retreat aimed at women in their 40s and 50s

Harmony Through Menopause, designed for women going through perimenopause or menopause, will offer seven educational sessions from nine wellness practitioners on topics such as pelvic-floor strengthening, hormone replacement therapy, acupuncture, hot flashes and breath work.

spinner image an aerial view of Opal Grand Resort in Delray Beach, Florida.
Harmony Through Menopause is held at the Opal Grand Resort in Delray Beach, Florida.
Courtesy Jess Pfeffer

“For years, women were taught that aging is bad, menopause is bad,” says Jess Pfeffer, whose Jess Pfeffer Holistic Event Planning is hosting a May weekend retreat at the tony Opal Grand Resort in Delray Beach, Florida. “We’re creating a sacred space that removes that mask, a space where women can be seen and heard. Menopause is going to happen. Let’s be prepared. We can’t prevent it, but we sure can feel empowered when it happens.”

Among the highlights: a panel discussion with a menopause coach and a physician who will talk about the importance of being your own advocate and answer any questions from the attendees. The retreat, May 3-5, costs $1,650, based on double occupancy,  and includes lodging and meals.

Healthy in the heartland

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The Raj in Fairfield, Iowa, treats imbalances created by menopause using Ayurvedic techniques.
Courtesy The Raj

The Raj, a French country-style estate set on 100 acres in Fairfield, Iowa, treats imbalances created by menopause using ancient Ayurvedic techniques in a five-day, six-night program. The retreat, which can be scheduled at any time, costs $4,194 and includes a private room, three organic vegetarian meals a day, consultations and treatments.

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Starting with a pulse assessment, a consultant will show you how your specific mind/body makeup affects physical tendencies, moods, cravings, motivation and behavior.

“Once estrogen is taken away, underlying imbalances become evident, which can result in negative effects such as hot flashes, thinning hair and bones, and dry skin,” says Lindsay Oliver, marketing director for the 31-year-old health center. “Our experts pinpoint what’s causing your challenges, and then they design a detox treatment specifically for you.”

The program features as many as three separate treatments that last up to two hours each day. A typical day may include a two-technician, synchronized herb-infused oil massage, an herb-infused steam treatment, and gentle elimination therapy with enemas that claim to remove impurities in the intestinal tract. Also in the mix: gentle yoga classes and lectures on wellness and life balance.

A niche retreat for active women

spinner image women practicing pilates at The Feisty Menopause Performance Retreat
The Feisty Menopause Performance Retreat in Lake Nona, Florida, is for physically active women.
Courtesy Selene Yeager

The Feisty Menopause Performance Retreat in Lake Nona, Florida, is aimed at physically active women and features strength and conditioning sessions, private group workouts, and an event highlighting functional fitness challenges such as farmer’s carry, rowing and medicine-ball exercises.

“A lot of women who’ve worked hard on health and fitness goals their entire lives suddenly feel isolated and alone,” says Selene Yeager, a coleader of the retreat. “This creates an opportunity to be with women like you who are going through the same life stage. It’s bringing menopause out into the sunlight.”

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The immersive weekend includes educational sessions about anti-inflammatory nutrition and joint health along with a full-body Dari Motion Analysis to identify any musculoskeletal asymmetries and poor movement patterns.

The retreat will be held at the cutting-edge Lake Nona Performance Center in November. The $2,500 cost, based on double occupancy, covers lunches, a group dinner at the Michelin-recommended Bacán, a one-hour massage and a two-night stay at the luxury Lake Nona Wave Hotel, known for its world-class art collection and sculpture garden. 

An Australian take

spinner image aerial view of Great Ocean Road Resort
A view of Great Ocean Road Resort where the Women’s Change of Life Menopause Retreat is held.
Courtesy Great Ocean Road Resort

The Women’s Change of Life Menopause Retreat at the Great Ocean Road Resort in Anglesea, Australia, focuses largely on nutritional and natural ways to help you adapt to your body’s changes with ease and harmony.

Along with two educational workshops, the retreat includes: locally sourced breakfasts delivered to your suite and modern Australian cuisine featured at lunch and dinner at The Coast, the resort’s fine-dining restaurant; a day spa credit; a guided nature walk, yoga class, and group meditation and sound healing experience; and access to the gym, tennis court, infrared sauna and indoor heated pool. The beach is a five-minute stroll away.

“Menopause doesn’t have to be hard or limiting. However, if your system is in constant fight/flight/freeze mode, it most likely will be,” says retreat host Jo Hand, a kinesiologist (a person who studies the body’s movements) and nutritional medicine practitioner who designed the retreat when she was experiencing perimenopause. “We’ve created a quiet space for women to share their voices: ‘This is what worked for me’ or ‘I’m struggling with this.’ ”

Upcoming retreats are July 15-17 and Oct. 14-16. The cost, in Australian dollars, is $1,995 per person (about $1,300 depending on exchange rates) or $1,687 (about $1,100). The cost varies depending on suite configuration.

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