Women of menopausal age regularly experience a number of symptoms due to the hormonal changes in their bodies. While there are many options available to combat them, there isn’t one definitive solution. In light of a new study from scientists in North Carolina, there’s evidence that acupuncture is a reliable, proven source of comfort for menopausal women.
The research, published in Menopause Journal, was led by Professor Nancy Avis. Together with her fellow researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Center, 209 women were enlisted between the ages of 45 and 60 who had not had a period for three months, and were experiencing approximately four hot flashes or night sweats over a 24-hour period. Participants were evaluated and randomly divided into two groups.
The first group received acupuncture treatments over the course of six months, and were assessed for the following six months. The second group did not receive acupuncture for the first six months, instead receiving treatments during the latter six months. Each participant was allowed up to twenty treatment sessions with a licensed, local acupuncturist during their alloted six months, and were encouraged to keep a diary of their experiences.
Professor Avis says the decision to let the participant decide how many treatments and how often they received them was to make the study as close to the “real world” as possible.
After the first six months, the first group reported an average 36.7 % drop in the frequency of hot flashes, compared to before they began treatment. In comparison, the second group noted an increase of 6%. After a year, the first group reported having 29.4% fewer hot flashes and night sweats compared to before treatment.
“Although acupuncture does not work for every woman, our study showed that, on average, acupuncture effectively reduced the frequency of hot flashes and results were maintained for 6 months after the treatments stopped,” said Avis.
This is not uncommon – at the Acupuncture & Wellness Center, part of our mission to helping patients is first making sure they respond to treatment. More often than not, we have tremendous success with helping reduce the frequency of night sweats and hot flashes.
She adds: “There are a number of non-hormonal options for treating hot flashes and night sweats that are available to women. Our study showed that acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist can help some women without any side effects. Our study also showed that the maximum benefit occurred after about eight treatments.”
These findings correspond with the treatment protocols here at the clinic. As the effects of acupuncture are cumulative, it can take up to several treatments before the body begins to permanently change its behaviors.
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