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Menopause Symptom Relief Gets The Needle

A study claims that acupuncture can help women suffering from the most common symptoms of the menopause.

AnnA Rushton

Acupuncture has a very long history of helping with pain relief from backache to childbirth but in this new study, which was published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, Turkish researchers looked at 53 menopausal women and found that this ancient Chinese therapy can curb the severity of hot flashes and also relieve mood swings among women receiving it regularly.

There is no doubt that hot flashes are the biggest problem of menopause for many women, indeed it is the subject on which we get most comments.  Hot flashes can suddenly produce an uncomfortable feeling of intense heat with night time attacks disrupting sleep. The symptoms are caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the skin and are linked to hormone imbalances, but they are still not fully understood.

One of the few good things I have to say about HRT is that it can solve the problem of hot flashes by literally flattening out the hormonal surges in a chemical fashion.  Some doctors also prescribe antidepressants for hot flashes as, like HRT, they seem to damp down the body’s blood vessel system.

This was only a small study and involved 26 women having acupuncture twice a week for ten weeks. This involved placing needles at certain points on the body to boost energy and release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. The remaining 27 women volunteers were given ‘dummy’ acupuncture with blunted needles.

At the end of the trial, those receiving genuine treatment had lower scores for the intensity of the hot flashes and mood swings they experienced – which progressively improved over the treatment period – compared with those given dummy needles.

The researchers said the effect on endorphins might curb flushes by stabilising the body’s temperature controls, but they were unable to say how long the effect lasted after treatment finished. The researchers admit the trial was small but claim the complementary therapy could be worth trying for menopausal women unable or unwilling to use HRT.

A different study from Norway also confirmed a similar result with women there reporting a reduction in frequency and intensity of hot flashes both by night and by day having used acupuncture for 12 weeks.

If you are looking for a natural alternative to help with hot flashes and natural progesterone hasn’t entirely solved the problem for you then it could be worth trying acupuncture alongside it.  If you want more tips on dealing with hot flashes then you might like to look at my special report on dealing with them at this link

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Vahpi | 11:22 am, October 24th, 2012

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