Hot flashes are the bane of menopausal women everywhere and if even acupuncture could work women would be eternally grateful. Hot flashes are annoying and uncomfortable and they make daily living difficult. You never know when hot flashes will strike and they cause you to take extreme measures to retain your comfort level. From fans at work to turning down the heat at home, you try to overcome them but you just can’t.
Western medicine typically offers estrogen pills to help with hot flashes, but not everyone can take them. For those that can, they don’t always work. And of course, they have side effects, too. So, what is the alternative to traditional treatment of hot flashes? Well, alternative is the operative word here, and an alternative medicine, specifically acupuncture, may hold the key – at least for some women.
Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine that has been practiced in the Far East for over 3,000 years. It is based on the principal of your body being in a balanced state. The theory is that if your body is unbalanced then it reacts with pain, illness, or hot flashes. I think you’ll agree that during menopause, your body is unbalanced. So how does acupuncture solve that?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body has meridians, or pathways, along which your energy flows. A blockage in a pathway can cause an imbalance in your body and produce symptoms of this imbalance. Along these pathways are acupoints that are related to parts of your body that reside along a particular meridian line. This is what is accessed by the acupuncture needles that are used and when these acupoints are stimulated they relieve the blockage and restore the balance, thereby reducing or eliminating the symptoms.
Hot flashes are a result of menopause, which is a result of the decreasing production of estrogen and progesterone. By the time menopause ends, these chemicals are no longer produced by your body at all. In Chinese medicine, this would signal an imbalance. Women suffering from hot flashes would go to an acupuncturist to get their body back in balance. In the west, we have no alternative, but estrogen replacement, sometimes anti-depressants or even anti-seizure medications are prescribed. In some women, they offer relief.
With acupuncture, the practitioner takes your history to find out exactly what symptoms you are having. You may also be experiencing night sweats, dizziness, or irritability. Letting the practitioner know all of your symptoms gives them the ability to track the meridians being affected and determine the best acupoints to use for your treatment. Epic Healthcare in Highland Village, Texas can help you if you’d like to go this route. Call them at (972) 355-0083 if you have further questions. They can help.
There are very few complications as long as it is performed by a licensed practitioner. As with anything else that gets popular, there is always someone who will hang out a shingle and claim to be an expert. Sadly, these people give the real acupuncture practitioners a bad name. There have been problems with infections from unsterilized needles and other problems related to needle insertion, but they are related to unlicensed practitioners. Acupuncture has been practiced for millenniums. If it wasn’t safe, it would have died out a very, long time ago.
As with all practices counter to western medicine, research is ongoing to determine if acupuncture works and if it does, how does acupuncture actually succeed? The answer to the original question is yes, acupuncture can help with hot flashes. Recently, the journal Menopause reported that new research indicates that acupuncture can cut a woman’s hot flashes in half. That’s right, acupuncture can reduce the number of hot flashes you get by half. Half of the women in the study had their hot flashes cut in half, 12 percent reported that their hot flashes dropped 85 percent and four percent declared that they were cured of hot flashes altogether.
The Oxford Journals has been reporting on various studies of acupuncture and its benefits. In one study, they tested out the meridians using radioactive dye. The study concluded that when an acupoint is activated with an acupuncture needle the dye moved swiftly along the meridian that the acupoint was associated with. This indicated that there is a connection between the acupoints and the meridians illustrated by Chinese medicine. Sham acupoints, ones that are not true acupuncture points or ones that are not associated with a certain meridian, used in this study showed that the dye randomly diffused around the sham points.