Women Seem to Benefit From Acupuncture for Hot Flashes

Aug 11, 2014

Although the "why" remains unknown, a meta-analysis concludes that acupuncture provides relief from hot flashes related to menopause.

Acupuncture has repeatedly proved its ability to provide relief of menopause-associated hot flashes, revealed a review of a dozen studies.

The frequency and severity of hot flashes are significantly reduced by acupuncture, but other quality of life improvements were also noted in women who received the needle insertion technique. Other quality of life benefits unveiled in the meta-analysis included significant decreases in the psychological, somatic, and urogenital scores using the Menopause Rating Scale, the authors noted.

Pertinent Points

- A meta-analysis that included 12 studies and nearly 900 participants found scientific evidence consistently supports the use of acupuncture to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

- This ancient Chinese technique could provide long-term relief of up to three months and that various forms of the method provided benefits.

The findings were published last month in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society and included 12 studies with a total of 869 women experiencing natural menopause and aged between 40 and 60 years.

There were inconsistencies found among the different studies, with the analysis unable to determine whether acupuncture provided relief of such menopause-related symptoms as sleeping disorders, mood disturbances, and sexual problems.

Along with the traditional Chinese method, the analysis included various forms of acupuncture, such as acupressure, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, and ear acupuncture. And while the researchers weren’t able to identify an optimal number of times a women would need to have the treatment to experience relief, they did find that long-term relief of up to three months was possible.

“More than anything, this review indicates that there is still much to be learned relative to the causes and treatments of menopausal hot flashes,” said NAMS executive director Margery Gass, MD, in a press release highlighting the findings. “The review suggests that acupuncture may be an effective alternative for reducing hot flashes, especially for those women seeking non-pharmacologic therapies.”