Menaupause (Hot Flashes)

Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman's body. This time of change may last a few months to several years. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as women bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain.

According to Traditional Chinese Medical theory, menopause occurs when a woman's body begins to preserve blood and energy in order to sustain her vitality and allow for the maximum available nourishment for her body, especially her kidneys, which is viewed as the root of life and longevity. Therefore, the body, in its wisdom, reserves the flow of a channel in the center of the body which sends blood and energy down to the uterus. Instead, blood and essence from the kidneys are conserved and cycled through the body to nourish the woman's spirit and extend her longevity.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and quickly relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, foggy mind, and irritability.

The mental and emotional symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture on which your acupuncturist can create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for Traditional Chinese medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi. This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.

Show Case 1 – Acupuncture for Hot Flushes (Acupuncture in Medicine, USA, 2011)

Traditional Chinese acupuncture curbs the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, suggests a small study published on March 8 in Acupuncture in Medicine.

The study shows that effects did not seem to be related to changes in levels of the hormones responsible for sparking the menopause and its associated symptoms. The authors base their findings on 53 middle aged women, all of whom were classified as being postmenopausal -- they had spontaneously stopped having periods for a year. Their somatic (hot flushes) urogenital (vaginal dryness and urinary tract infection) and psychological (mood swings) symptoms were measured using a five point scale (MRS).

Twenty seven of the women received traditional Chinese acupuncture twice a week for 10 weeks, with needles left in position for 20 minutes without any manual or electrical stimulation. The rest were given sham acupuncture.

Hormone levels of estrogen, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinising hormone (LH) were measured before the study began and after the first and last acupuncture sessions in both groups to see if these changed.

The results showed that those women given traditional acupuncture had significantly lower MRS scores for somatic and psychological, but not urogenital, symptoms at the end of the 10 weeks than their peers given the sham treatment. The symptom registering the sharpest fall in severity was that of hot flashes. Furthermore, the effects seemed to be cumulative, with stronger results seen between the first and last sessions.

Estrogen levels also rose, while LH levels fell in the group treated with traditional Chinese acupuncture. Low levels of estrogen and high LH and FSH levels are characteristic of the menopause, as the ovaries start to fail.

But because of the differences between the groups in these various hormones to start with, there was little evidence to suggest that any hormonal fluctuations were themselves responsible for the changes in symptom severity, say the authors.

They suggest that the explanation for the reduced severity of hot flushes might be that acupuncture boosts the production of endorphins, which may stabilize the body's temperature controls.

The authors caution that their study was small and that they did not monitor how long symptom relief lasted, but they suggest that traditional Chinese acupuncture could be an alternative for those women unable or unwilling to use hormone replacement therapy to ease troublesome menopausal symptoms.

Show Case 2 – Acupuncture for Hot Flushes (Acupuncture in Medicine, Turkish, 2011)

According to British Medical Journal – Acupuncture in Medicine, Turkish researchers randomly assigned 53 women with menopausal symptoms whose periods had stopped for at least a year to receive either real acupuncture or "sham" acupuncture using blunted needles that are designed to appear as though they penetrate the skin without actually doing so. After 10 sessions with a licensed practitioner who had at least six years of experience, women treated with acupuncture reported significantly fewer hot flushes and mood swings. Additional sessions appeared to offer additional benefits, particularly against hot flashes.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is usually explained through unscientific terms such as Qi (life energy), Ying and Yang, the Five Elements, and meridians. But the current study, along with a growing body of additional research, is beginning to uncover the science behind acupuncture, and helps explain how it might help a number of conditions, including pain as well as nausea from chemotherapy or pregnancy.

For example, scientists can now measure changes in neurotransmitters or hormones that are triggered by stimulating the musculoskeletal system at known acupuncture "points," or meridians. And MRI or PET scans to visualize changes in the central nervous system. In this acupuncture and menopause study, researchers measured levels of two hormones--estradiol and luteinizing hormone--both of which normally decline with the onset of menopausal symptoms. Estradiol levels actually rose slightly in women receiving acupuncture treatment. In addition, acupuncture might boost endorphins, which could help stabilize body temperature as well as mood.

Acupuncture typically poses few risks when performed by an experienced, licensed practitioner or medical doctor trained in acupuncture. So I would recommend it, along with an individualized nutritional and exercise program, for some women with menopausal symptoms.

Suite 601,
1435 Boul.St-Martin Ouest,
Laval, H7S 2C6

© 2022 All rights reserved.