Review on October 17, 2008
A number of recent clinical studies have yielded evidence of acupuncture's efficacy in relieving hot flashes in perimenopausal and post menopausal women. A September 2006 article published in the academic journal Fertility and Sterility reports a reduction in hot flashes at night in menopausal women receiving acupuncture, while a 2008 study, published in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment journal, shows a dramatic decrease in hot flash symptoms in postmenopausal women recovering from breast cancer who received acupuncture treatment. Read on to learn more about these studies and the benefits of natural therapy in treating hot flashes.
The 2006 Hot Flash Study
A team of researchers from Stanford University recently studied the effects of acupuncture treatment vs. a sham acupuncture program on the frequency and severity of hot flashes and sleep in 29 post-menopausal women. Prior to the study, these women reported having at least 7 hot flashes per day, classified as moderate to severe.
After seven weeks of treatment (totaling 9 sessions), 28% of the women who received acupuncture reported a significant decrease in the severity of hot flashes, compared to only 6% of the women receiving the sham treatment. Furthermore, nearly half of those in the acupuncture group reported a decrease in the frequency of hot flashes, compared to only 24% of the sham treatment group. These researchers did not find any significant improvements in sleep associated with acupuncture treatment.
Concluding that "Acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of nocturnal hot flashes", the Stanford team believes that acupuncture holds great promise as a safe and effective approach to hot flashes.
The 2008 Hot Flash Study
A recent 2008 study set out to discover the effect of acupuncture on hot flashes in postmenopausal women with breast cancer. They, like the Stanford researchers, found that acupuncture can significantly reduce the frequency of hot flashes in both the day and night.
Unfortunately, anti-estrogen medications taken during breast cancer treatment can increase the severity and frequency of hot flashes for many women. This research team investigated the effectiveness of 10 weeks of acupuncture vs. a sham program on 59 women who were suffering from hot flashes after breast cancer surgery and anti-estrogen drug treatment.
During the 10-week treatment period, the women who received acupuncture saw a 50 to 60% reduction in hot flashes and a 30% continued reduction in hot flashes for 12 weeks following the termination of acupuncture treatment, suggesting that acupuncture can provide longer lasting relief. Comparatively, the women in the sham group reported only a 25% reduction in hot flashes during the treatment but an increase in hot flashes at the end of treatment.
The medical evidence from both of these studies suggests that acupuncture is a promising hot flashes treatment method to consider. Like other natural therapies, acupuncture carries little risk and is minimally invasive. Many experts argue that a combination of alternative therapies is often the best route to hot flashes relief. To learn more about how to treat hot flashes most effectively, please click here.
- Hervik, J and O Mjaland. "Acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients, a randomized, controlled trial." Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. (Sept 2008), pp. 1-6.
- Huang, Mary I., et al. "A randomized controlled pilot study of acupuncture for postmenopausal hot flashes: effect on nocturnal hot flashes and sleep quality." Fertility and Sterility. 86 (2006), pp 700-710.