The Farm at San Benito is empowering women battling menopause with science-based retreats that address medical, emotional and sexual health. And they’re not the only one. Yes, friends. It’s time to talk about menopause.
“WE WANT TO EMPOWER WOMEN, encourage them to embrace the change and find their inner goddess,” says Jennifer Sanvictores about the new menopause retreats at The Farm at San Benito, about 90 minutes south of Manila. “A woman may not look the same as [she did] 20 years ago, but she can still keep her sexiness and confidence.”
Recent studies have shown about 25 million women enter menopause annually. By 2030, the number of menopausal and post-menopausal women is projected to hit 1.2 billion, with 47 million new entries every year. Yet, it remains a topic that is rarely talked about. As it is an inevitable stage of life, Philippines-based holistic wellness escape The Farm at San Benito is aiming to smash the stigma and empower women to actually embrace the change.
“I suffered,” recalls Jennifer, The Farm’s global head of sales, marketing and communications. “I didn’t know what was happening to me because it started very early; I thought I was going crazy. It affected my moods, I was irritable, had chronic fatigue and pain, and I gained 40 pounds. For me, it was a mid-life crisis that I couldn’t embrace. This is why I believe women should talk more about it and destigmatise menopause.”
While every journey is different, menopause is a time when women go through huge changes. A drop in estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to a raft of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances. The shift in hormone levels can also increase the risk of developing health conditions, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and strokes.
Dr. Marian Alonzo, The Farm’s medical chief, has treated menopausal women for 16 years and helped design the new retreats, which take a holistic approach to health during menopause. “We personalize each program because each woman needs to tell her own story,” Dr Marian tells me.
“Do they still want to be a go-getter in their job or want to mellow down a bit? The most important thing is empowerment and giving them the tools, so when they leave, they know there’s a holistic option to address the challenges of menopause.”
The specialized programs, led by qualified doctors, nutritionists, and therapists, cater to the specific needs of peri-menopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal women. They take in diet and healthy eating, holistic health consultations, psycho-emotional clearing sessions, and cellular health screening to help detoxify the body.
To help cleanse the body of toxins, other treatments include a vital test for heavy metals, minerals and vitamins, kidney cleansing, a liver compress, facials, acupuncture and Hilot Lakambini, a traditional Filipino massage that helps to restore balance and harmony in the body.
The four-, five-, seven- and even 21-day retreats also integrate various activities, ranging from yoga, meditation, and sound healing, to interactive wellness workshops, and functional fitness activities.
The Farm isn’t the only health and wellness retreat offering menopausal women options away from medication as well as a safe space to speak. In fact, by 2025, it is estimated the menopause economy will present a US$600 billion market opportunity.
The topic of menopause rose to the top of the agenda at the 2021 Global Wellness Summit and since then a series of products have launched. This includes Fifty One Apparel launching a line of hot-flash friendly clothing in September using technology that NASA created to cool astronauts in their spacesuits.
Other wellness destinations are also tapping into the revolution. Italian wellness resort Preidlhof combines a medical health approach with creative emotional-release therapies for their menopause retreat. While Ayurvedic resort Ananda in the Himalayas uses ancient medicine’s ability to correct imbalances to tackle hormonal fluctuations. If you’re looking for nutrition ideas pre-menopause, Kamalaya Koh Samui offers some free advice in conjunction with their program on achieving your ideal weight.
“Women, especially now, are very powerful. They can be CEOs and managing directors, but imagine the impact [of untreated menopause]: You feel tired with chronic fatigue and have to put on a face. You have to be strong as a leader, strong for your family and community,” Jennifer says. “Menopause is something that’s hardly talked about. What I noticed going through it myself was I had to put on that face every single day while I’m suffering inside.”
Adds Dr Marian: “A bit like mental health, there’s a stigma and no one is talking about it. We want to start a conversation. The Farm played a big role in addressing mental health issues holistically and naturally. Now, we want to do that with the menopause. We hope this will be the start of something good—a catalyst for change.”
www.thefarmatsanbenito.com; from US$1,600++ for a four-night menopause focused retreat.