Acupuncture Puts Menopause on PAUSE…

By Kathleen Kaye on November 24, 2011

Excessive sweating, nausea, palpitations, bad headaches—among others, are symptoms that women wish they wouldn’t experience in their menopausal years.[1] Unfortunately, as much as 87% of menopausal women experience distressing menopausal symptoms, [2] and for most of these women, even their normal way of living becomes difficult to bear.[3]

For a long time, health experts have designed various treatment modalities just to provide relief from menopause. The mainstay treatment for menopausal discomforts is Hormonal-Replacement Therapy (HRT), which works for some, but others experience worse outcomes, and others still are advised against taking it.[4] Surprisingly, however, current research trends have unearthed new benefits from an age-old Chinese remedy, ACUPUNCTURE, to reduce discomforts during menopause.[5]

Acupuncture and Menopause

Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is based on the concept of Qi, or what the Chinese believe to be the vital energy of the body. It uses needles to target strategic areas in the body, promoting the free and undisrupted flow of Qi. [6]

In the 1980s, three uncontrolled studies were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of three different symptoms experienced by women during menopause. The patients have been treated with acupuncture for two years, twice weekly for 2 to 3 weeks, then, monthly for a year, and finally, every 2 to 3 months for the remaining time. Among those who were treated, 20 experienced complete remission, 65 experienced a significant reduction of their symptoms and 85 of them experienced satisfactory results.[7]

Since then, numerous research studies have been conducted to establish the effects of acupuncture on menopausal symptoms. Many of these research studies support the benefits afforded by acupuncture for menopausal women.

Recently, a study of 53 postmenopausal women experiencing vaginal dryness, hot flushes and mood swings investigated the effects of acupuncture on these symptoms. Among them, 27 were subjected to an authentic Chinese acupuncture treatment for 10 weeks while the rest received phony acupuncture treatments. Results showed significant positive results. Patients reported relief from their menopausal symptoms, with the greatest relief experienced from hot flushes. [8]

How it Works…

Experts in the field suggest that acupuncture reduces the severity of menopausal symptoms by regulating the hormone, estrogen; reducing serotonin levels and at the same time increasing the levels endorphins and neuropeptide Y in the body. It also stimulates the nerves in the muscles and other tissues in order to release more endorphins. All these events promote relief from hot flushes, palpitations, sweating and other troubling symptoms experienced during menopause.[9]

These promising research findings create new-found research directions in the field of alternative medicine, all in the hopes of helping women experience more enjoyable and fruitful generative years. With acupuncture, tomorrow’s women might no longer have to face menopause with fear and uncertainty. Rather, as beauty queens would say it, it would provide an opportunity for women to embrace the essence of womanhood.


[1] Hammond, CB. (1994) Climacteric, Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology, J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, Pa, USA, pp. 771–790

 

[2] Kronenberg, F. (1990). Hot flushes: epidemiology and physiology, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 592, pp. 52–86.

[3] Chamberlain G, Malvern J. (1996). Lecture notes on gynaecology. Oxford: Blackwell Science

[4] British Acupuncture Council. (1999). Menopause and Acupuncture. Retrieved from:

[5] BMJ – British Medical Journal (2011, March 7). Acupuncture curbs severity of menopausal hot flushes, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com-/releases/2011/03/110307184640.htm

[6] Balusik, D. (2007). Acupuncture as Complementary Care for Cancer. Tampa Bay Wellness. Retrieved November 23, 2011 From: http://www.acupuncturebydawn.com/files/Acupuncture_for_cancer.pdf

[7] http://acupuncture.org.uk/research-review-papers/382-menopause-and-acupuncture-the-evidence-for-effectiveness.html

[8] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110307184640.htm

[9] http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/research-fact-sheets/1137-acupuncture-and-menopausal-symptoms.html

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