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Forgetting Flashes, Finding Confidence

Gilda had a presentation to give for work, and she was nervous—but not for any of the reasons you might normally expect.  High up in her company of marketing creatives, she was no stranger to leading teams of designers and illustrators, and she knew that confidence was a huge part of handling professional situations, especially as a woman. But that day, there was something else on her plate: the looming possibility that a hot flash could strike at any moment, derailing her both physically and mentally. “Only 1/100 creative directors are women,” Gilda explained over the phone to Embr Labs. “It’s hard enough to get there... and even harder when you’re dealing with hot flashes.” Like countless other women entering menopause, Gilda found herself suddenly facing the challenges, stress, and anxiety caused by a daily barrage of hot flashes. “They were frequent and intense.”  The hot flashes were physically uncomfortable, but the social and psychological discomfort was equally distressing. Having to deal with hot flashes was a regular source of embarrassment for Gilda, as she traveled often for work and most of her coworkers were younger than her.  “I would be giving a presentation or traveling and all of the sudden I would just break out into a sweat,” Gilda said. “I felt so embarrassed.” The disruptions weren’t limited to her professional life. Outside of work, Gilda is a harp player, and she began having anxiety-induced hot flashes before performances. “It’s very hard to play well when you’re sweating so much, especially in front of people.” Gilda saw an ad for Embr Wave online but was skeptical, unconvinced that the device would really be able to help her out in any significant way. However, her boyfriend knew that Gilda had been suffering, and, interested in supporting an MIT startup, bought her an Embr Wave for Christmas.    Excited and curious, she slipped it on that day, and much to her surprise and delight, she found that the Wave helped her almost immediately. “I started to get a hot flash, I pressed the button, and it just went away.” She spent the day making everyone in her family try it on, so they could feel the instant cooling sensation. Getting a Wave not only helped her deal with the physical sensations of hot flashes but also gave her more confidence and comfort in her professional life. With the Wave, she no longer was carrying the fear that a poorly timed hot flash would disrupt an important presentation or meeting. “It was a total life-changer.”  Gilda is now able to manage her hot flashes discreetly at work. When she feels one coming on, she just presses the button on her Wave, and relief is on the way. Knowing that she has the power to control her comfort has restored the professional confidence that menopause took away.  She’s also able to play the harp and perform the way she used to, without any added anxiety.  For Gilda, the Wave is not just a tool that helps her feel cooler, but it represents a larger and more profound change in her outlook. She says the Wave has helped make her menopause journey feel less like something she needed to be ashamed of.  “There is so much stigma around menopause, and [the Wave] really helps manage that,” said Gilda. “It’s an accessory. It’s fun, it’s kind of a hip thing to have.” From a professional perspective, Gilda explained, it empowers older women to recognize that they don’t need to feel ashamed about their natural aging processes.  “People imagine middle-aged women to be these frumpy, lifeless people. But there are so many beautiful, lively, and engaged older women who are ready to take on huge things.”