Hot flashes and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have become synonymous with menopause. However, alternative treatments like acupuncture are gaining more recognition with new research all the time. That isn't to say that each study exposes acupuncture as a miracle worker, but researchers don't find that with HRT either. What some studies have shown is that acupuncture does not eliminate hot flashes and other symptoms, but rather soothes them and makes them more manageable.
For more information about hot flashes and acupuncture therapy, read the text below and talk with your doctor.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate the production of hormones.The most commonly used analogical explanation of acupuncture is to say that the human body has shivers of energy running through it called meridians. If a meridian is blocked, the energy cannot flow properly, and from this stoppage people experience health problems like hot flashes. Acupuncture uses needles, herbs, and heat to stimulate the production of the necessary hormones to realign your body's balance. Menopause symptoms are generally associated with the imbalance of your kidney's Yin (black) and Yang (white).
How Does This Kind of Therapy Soothe Hot Flashes?
Acupuncturists stimulate the production of estrogen.When a woman experiences hot flashes, it is generally held by conventional medical practitioners that she is suffering from an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Chinese medicine believes that in order to have harmony in the body, there must be balance of chemicals. Acupuncturists stimulate the production of estrogen or progesterone through strategically placed points on the body. The trigger spots are very patient specific and an acupuncturist will take into account the type of lifestyle and diet a patient has.
Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate menopause symptoms.Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate menopause symptoms in women taking oral hormone therapy as part of breast cancer treatment. As oral hormone therapy result in side effects like hot flashes, acupuncture is used as a “safe, effective, and durable treatment”, for hot flashes in women with breast cancer.
One of the biggest draws for attempting acupuncture is the absence of consequences. It is not dangerous and there are no side effects. For some, there is still not much proof in support of alternative treatments, though acupuncture is among the most trusted. Talk with your doctor about what her opinions of acupuncture for treatment of hot flashes are. At the end of the day, only you can decide what treatment is best suited for you.
- Sikon, Andrea and Holly Thacker M.D. "Treatment for Menopausal Hot Flashes". Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. July 2004: 71 (7).
- "Hot flashes ... in January". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2004: 170 (1).
- Miller, Heather and Rose Maria Li, M.D. "Measuring Hot Flashes: Summary of a National Institutes of Health Workshop". Conference report. Mayo Clinic. June 2004: 79.