The severity and frequency of hot flashes can be substantially lessened with acupuncture based on a meta-analysis included in The Menopause journal.
A very important part of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture has been practiced for at least 4,000 years. This treatment involves the placement of very thin needles into parts of the body called “meridians” that are determined by the certain type of health condition to be addressed. These past few years, studies were done by Western researchers that have validated the benefits of acupuncture for several health conditions, including pain.
For Hot Flashes All Types of Acupuncture Can Help
Hot flashes are experienced by about 86% of women in the United States and are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. They can be experienced as early as three years prior to a woman’s last menstrual cycle, and continue for up to 15 years after. Hot flashes are extremely uncomfortable although the degree of severity varies from woman to woman. Night time hot flashes may result in chronic insomnia and some women may experience up to 20 hot flashes in one day alone.
A recent study compared the outcomes of a dozen separate randomized controlled trials on a total of 870 women who went through natural menopause around the ages 40 – 60. The subjects had tried different forms of acupuncture treatment like acupressure, sham acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, ear acupuncture and acupressure.
The study’s conductors discovered that all the types of acupuncture lessened the frequency of hot flashes. The treatment also decreased the magnitude of the flashes and the benefits were not dependent on how long the treatment will last or the number of required treatments. Three months is how long the effects of the treatment last as reported by people who have tried acupuncture.
The North American Menopause Society executive director Margery Gass stated that the above study indicates that there is still much to be learned concerning the causes and treatments of hot flashes associated with ,menopause. The study also indicates that acupuncture can be a viable alternative for lessening hot flashes, especially for women who are into non-pharmacologic treatments.
Other Natural Ways to Treat Hot Flashes
Besides acupuncture, there are a lot of non-pharmacological therapies that women can avail of to help relieve their hot flashes associated with menopause.
Reducing the amount of stress in the body is one of the most effective ways of dealing with hot flashes. There are physicians who think that estrogen and progesterone imbalances that happen during menopause may result in higher levels of stress, and vice versa. Lowering the levels of stress can help regulate hormonal levels. Besides that, stress can increase the amount of adrenaline in the body which can elevate body temperature even among non-menopausal women.
Wearing loose clothing is particularly around the stomach and groin is another simple lifestyle that you can adapt to relieve flashes. This prevents the temperature of the sensitive area from rising too high.
Another recommended lifestyle change is in your choice of foods since what you eat has a big impact on hot flashes. Dairy products, meats, and spicy foods have all been shown to increase the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Soy which is high in estrogen compounds and other types of foods have the ability to reduce these flashes.
Based on an Iranian study done by researchers at the Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, a supplement of vitamin E as well as consumption of nuts, tropical fruits, and leafy green vegetables can lessen the magnitude of hot flashes. A lot of women also claim that vitamin C rich foods and vitamin C supplements are very helpful in lessening the frequency of hot flashes.
A popular European remedy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes is black Cohosh. Research has shown that it works equally well as pharmaceutical estrogen, and may help cure excessive perspiration.
Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.