Today approximately 40 million American women suffer with the unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms of menopause — about 80% of them having hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes may be the single most aggravating symptom during menopause. Hot flashes are the subjective sensation of intense warmth in the upper body, neck and face. Since hot flashes occur most frequently at night, it is not uncommon for women affected by them to experience insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and depression. They may occur in 80% of menopausal women, and may last for up to five years. Depressing indeed!
Women are also looking towards holistic therapies to treat their symptoms. In 2002, the results of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study showed that conventional combined hormone replacement therapy poses serious health complications to women’s health and well-being. Hormone replacement therapy doesn’t only fail to help many women, it actually increases the risk of many cancers, as well as gallbladder disease, stroke, and heart attacks.
Acupuncture therapy is a well-known, safe, effective and natural remedy to re-balance the nervous, circulatory, and endocrine (hormonal) systems, and all glands in the body. Additionally, acupuncture helps circulate the natural flow of energy so that the body can initiate the healing process. Patients feel a sense of increased well-being and a higher energy level. All of this with no side effects!
A new study, published in the online journal Acupuncture in Medicine, showed that women who suffer from hot flashes night sweats and other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause were able to find relief through acupuncture.
The study included 53 postmenopausal women who received either actual treatment or a placebo treatment over a course of five weeks. The real acupuncture group got pierced with the needles at 10 acupuncture points while the placebo group got poked with blunted needles that did not penetrate the skin.
Results showed that at the end of the study period, the women who got acupuncture showed more relief from their symptoms compared to their counterparts who received the placebo treatment. Their hot flashes were less severe and estrogen levels were significantly higher for the women in the treatment group compared to the controls.
The beneficial effects of traditional acupuncture, according to the researchers, did not appear to be related to changes in levels of hormones that trigger menopause and its associated symptoms. The researchers suggested that traditional acupuncture may offer an alternative for women who cannot or do not want to use hormone replacement therapy to ease menopause symptoms like hormonal night sweats.
Another study included more than 260 postmenopausal women experiencing, on average, seven or more hot flushes per 24 hours during seven consecutive days. This study, conducted at the National Research Center in Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that frequency and severity of hot flashes fell in the acupuncture treatment group. The acupuncture group also experienced better sleep and better physical well-being.
So in a nutshell — acupuncture can curb hot flashes and night sweats, balance the endocrine system, improve sleep quality and energy levels, increase your immune function, promote mind-body relaxation, and strengthen metabolism. All of this combines to promote better health and an enhanced quality of life! High five, acupuncture!
For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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Author: Andrée Lambertson
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