Hot flushes (also called as hot flashes) are caused due to hormonal changes during menopause. It is characterized by spreading of intense heat in the upper body with profuse sweating and rapid heart beat. This can be accompanied by feelings of nausea, dizziness, headache, anxiety, depression, and feeling of suffocation or weakness. Hot flushes are very common in menopausal women.
Chinese medicine is known to have a long tradition of treating hot flushes quite effectively. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine, which aims at treating or healing the sufferings of the patient by insertion of needles at specific points. This therapy treats pain, prevents diseases and promotes health and well-being.
AdvertisementAcupuncture acts on Xi (the inner wind, spirit or energy). It helps in treating hot flushes and other symptoms in menopausal women.
A multicentre, pragmatic, randomized controlled Acuflash study was conducted in Norway during 2006-07. The study aimed at evaluating the efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) on postmenopausal symptoms. The participants were given a questionnaire comprising of questions regarding depressed mood, somatic symptoms, anxiety/fears, vasomotor symptoms, sleep problems, sexual behavior, menstrual symptoms, memory/concentration, and attractiveness.
The objective of the study was to compare the efficacy of acupuncture along with self-care against self-care alone in treating hot flushes and postmenopausal symptoms.
About 267 women with menopause participated in the study. Around 134 of them were given 10 acupuncture treatments by a qualified acupuncturist and advised on self-care. The remaining 133 women in the control group were given advice on self-care only.
During the treatment session, no complications like fainting or bleeding were reported. However one skin reaction, one unacceptable bruising and five cases of unacceptable pain were noted. In comparison to conventional medications, acupuncture produced no harmful side-effects.
The conclusion drawn from the Acuflash study was that the point selection and factors other than the diagnoses of TCM syndrome may affect the final outcome of the treatment. The study showed that treatment with acupuncture along with self-care contributed significantly to the reduction of hot flushes in postmenopausal women.
With no serious adverse events, acupuncture proves to be a promising alternative therapy for treating hot flushes.
The acupuncture treatment for postmenopausal hot flushes (Acuflash) study: traditional Chinese medicine diagnoses and acupuncture points used, and their relation to the treatment response; Einar Kristian et al; Acupuncture in Medicine; 27:101-108