As women age – gracefully and with awe-inspiring beauty, of course! – two-out-of-three will experience sudden momentary sensations of heat, red, flushed faces and sweating. This is known as the “hot flash” that comes with menopause and it can also bring with it mood swings, rapid heart rate, chills and insomnia. The cause of hot flashes is not known, but they may be related to changes in circulation that occur when a women is experiencing menopause.
While there are hormone replacement therapies and over-the-counter treatments used for menopausal symptoms, there is a growing body of evidence that Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, can be extremely effective.
ABC News recently highlighted a medical study that concluded that acupuncture curbed the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, largely related to mood. The authors of the study based their findings on the experience of 53 post menopausal women whose symptoms were measured on a 5-point scale before and after treatment. One group of 27 women received acupuncture for 20 minutes, twice a week for 10 weeks. The other group thought they were given acupuncture treatment, but the needles didn’t actually penetrate the skin. The women who received real acupuncture showed significant drops in the severity of their hot flashes. You can watch news video of the study here.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) effort to educate Americans about the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) also outlines the ways that CAM could help treat the symptoms of menopause. This helpful NIH Fact Sheet talks about how mind and body practices such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong and acupuncture may help reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms.
So, yes, while it’s summer and everyone is a bit warmer these days, you don’t have to suffer through the hot flashes associated with menopause. Think about Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as a potential treatment and speak to a licensed acupuncturist to see if it may be an option for you.