Many women suffering from hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause are searching for alternative ways of finding relief. A new study in theBritish Medical Journal–Acupuncture in Medicine, is helping spread the word that acupuncture treats many symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia and urogenital issues.
In this study, 53 Turkish women were divided into 2 groups. The first group received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks. The second group received fake or “sham” acupuncture, also twice a week for 5 weeks, using needles inserted through small rubber stoppers affixed to the skin so that the needles did not actually penetrate the skin. By the end of 5 weeks, women that received the sham treatments had no change in their symptoms, whereas women that received real acupuncture treatments experienced significant improvement in all symptoms, especially with their hot flashes.
The study also looked at changes in hormone levels, theorizing that acupuncture improves menopausal symptoms by affecting our endocrine system. Women receiving real acupuncture treatments showed decreased levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) and increased levels of oestradiol, whereas women that received the sham treatments showed no significant changes in hormone levels. Even though hormone levels were clearly affected by acupuncture, the researchers felt that the relatively small changes in hormone levels did not fully account for the more profound improvements in symptoms, indicating that when treating menopause, acupuncture balances not just our hormones but other controlling systems of our body as well. This is especially great news for women that have had a personal or family history of cancer and are looking to treat their menopausal symptoms without greatly increasing the level of estrogen in their bodies.
For thousands of years, acupuncture has been helping women gracefully transition into menopause. By restoring balance in our bodies we can feel well once again and be open to enjoy each phase of our life. Experiencing menopausal symptoms is frustrating, uncomfortable and a sign that your body is not in the best health that it could be. Taking care of your health now and bringing your body back into balance with acupuncture will help reduce your need for hormone replacement therapy and insure many healthy and active years to come.
- Sunay, D; et al. “The effect of acupuncture on postmenopausal symptoms and reproductive hormones: a sham controlled clinical trial.”Acupunct Med. 2011 29:27-31