Should You Try Acupuncture for Hot Flashes?

Western medicine has yet to cure hot flashes, but new research shows acupuncture has promise. Can this alternative therapy relieve your menopause symptoms?

Hot flashes can be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, and so far western medicine has provided no cure.

But there’s hope for sufferers; a new study in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine found that traditional Chinese acupuncture, which treats patients by inserting and manipulating needles in the body, could reduce the severity of hot flashes as well as ease the psychological symptoms of menopause.

Researchers at the Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, divided 53 postmenopausal women into two groups, with 27 receiving traditional acupuncture and the rest given fake acupuncture with blunt needles that didn’t penetrate the skin.

After twice-weekly treatments for 10 weeks, the women receiving actual acupuncture reported significantly reduced hot flashes and mood swings compared with the control group. A study of 260 postmenopausal women by the National Research Centre in Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Tromso, Norway, had similar findings.

The results are promising, researcher Terje Alraek told Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper, and suggest that “acupuncture may be able to provide an alternative to long-term use of hormone replacement therapy.”

Bottom line: If you’re experiencing hot flashes, speak with your doctor about starting acupuncture.

Sources: British Medical Journal, WebMD, ABC News

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest