Acupuncture Reduces Hot Flashes, Night Sweats in Menopausal Women

acupunctureAcupuncture is already known for its therapeutic benefits, including providing relief from different painful conditions such as painful periods and headaches as well as alleviating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Now a latest study has found a strong link between acupuncture and significantly reduced symptoms of menopause.

The study, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, suggests the ancient Chinese practice of inserting needles into specific areas on the body may reduce the number of prominent symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, in menopausal women.

In an experiment, researchers found that after six months of receiving acupuncture treatment, women reported an average 36.7 percent decline in frequency of hot flashes.

“Although acupuncture does not work for every woman, our study showed that on average, acupuncture effectively reduced the frequency of hot flashes and results were maintained for six months after the treatments stopped,” said study lead author Nancy Avis from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the US.

For the study, Avis and her team examined 209 women of ages 45 to 60 whose menstrual periods were absent for at least three months and who had on an average experienced at least four hot flashes or night sweats per 24-hour period in the last two weeks.

The participants were randomly assigned either to receive acupuncture treatment for the first 6 months (the treatment group) or receive acupuncture in the second 6 months (the comparison group).

Each female participant was allowed to receive up to 20 treatments by a licensed, experienced practitioner within their 6-month slot. The treatment group was then followed without receiving acupuncture for the second six months. All the participants received a baseline assessment for the comparison, and during the study period were told to keep a record of frequency and severity of any hot flashes and night sweats they experience.

The results revealed that those in the treatment group experienced 36.7 percent less frequent hot flashes that they did before they started the treatment. The benefits persisted even after a year, the researchers observed, with the women maintaining an average 29.4 percent reduction in menopausal symptoms from baseline.

Conversely, those in the comparison group reported an increase of 6 percent in symptom frequency during the first six months when they were not receiving acupuncture treatment. Nonetheless, they showed an average 31 percent reduction in frequency after receiving the needle therapy during the second six-month slot of the trial.

“The study showed that acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist can help some women without any side effects and the maximum benefit occurred after about eight treatments”, Avis concluded.

Avis and her team reported their findings in a paper published in the journal Menopause.