Thinking about trying acupuncture for those menopausal symptoms? Make sure they are the real deal!
Researchers say that non-invasive acupuncture, often preferred by the needle-phobic, will not have much effect on hot flashes and symptoms. In fact, in a small scientific study published in the online edition of Menopause, women with daytime and nighttime hot flashes and symptoms received laser acupuncture treatments or fake laser treatments once every two weeks over a three-month period. (Laser acupuncture (laser acupoint stimulation) is a technique that uses laser light that is applied to — but not inserted into — the skin to stimulate common acupuncture points.) Specific acupuncture points were selected from a series of 10 points and then individualized for each participant and her respective needs.
At the study’s end, no differences were seen between the groups in terms of menopausal symptoms.
Does this mean that acupuncture doesn’t work for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms? No, not at all. In fact, acupuncture has shown to be effective for alleviating hot flashes and the like. But you need real needles. If you are needle-phobic, speak a licensed acupuncturist or check out some of these wonderful links provided by the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I’ve a huge fan of acupuncture and don’t care for needles. Yet, my experience with acupuncture is that in most cases, it is virtually painless and may simply be associated with mild tingling or brief ache that quickly dissipates.
How about you? How has acupuncture worked for your symptoms?
I see many women in my practice who get relief from hot flashes with acupuncture treatments and in some cases chinese herbal formulas. Of course, you should only take herbal forumulas that have been prescribed by a practitioner who has training in their use and buys them from companies with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). Most patients find their acupuncture treatments extremely relaxing, often falling asleep while the needles are in place!