Menopause is a time of change and new opportunity. It can also be a time of challenge as the sweats and hot flashes so commonly experienced by women during this phase in their life must be dealt with. As more women choose to forgo hormonal therapy and face menopause naturally, nonprescription remedies are needed to help women get through this time comfortably. A natural hot flash remedy that has recently been studied is the use of acupuncture for treatment of sweating and hot flashes. Is acupuncture good for menopausal symptoms?
A study recently published in the medical journal Menopause looked at the role acupuncture may play in relieving the sweating and hot flashes associated with menopause. Postmenopausal women with symptoms of sweating and hot flashes were randomized to three treatment groups. One group received standard care, but no acupuncture. The second group received sham acupuncture in which they thought they were receiving acupuncture but only shallow needling was used. A third group received traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture. After two months of twice weekly therapy, the frequency of sweating and hot flashes experienced by the women were quantified. The results? The group receiving the sham acupuncture as well as the group receiving actual acupuncture both had a reduction in the frequency of sweating and hot flashes. In contrast, the usual care group did not.
What does this mean in terms of acupuncture being a natural hot flash remedy? The researchers concluded that there may be a placebo effect at work in this study. The women in both groups who thought they were receiving acupuncture had improvement in their symptoms whether they actually received real acupuncture or not. The other possibility is that both sham acupuncture and traditional Chinese acupuncture might serve as a natural hot flash remedy.
This study suggests that acupuncture may have some potential for treating the sweating and hot flashes associated with menopause. Similar studies that looked at acupuncture for treatment of hot flashes have shown that both sham and traditional acupuncture help to reduce sweating and hot flashes in post menopausal women. Based on these results, it’s likely that more studies looking at acupuncture as a natural hot flash remedy will be carried out to get more definitive answers and to clarify the issue regarding sham vs. real acupuncture.
Acupuncture as a treatment for the sweating and hot flashes would offer lots of advantages over traditional treatments for hot flashes. The traditional treatment, hormone replacement therapy carries with it an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and heart disease. The use of acupuncture would not only eliminate these risks but also give women a greater sense of control over their symptoms. Could acupuncture be an effective natural hot flash remedy? It looks promising.
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