Acupuncture can reduce hot flushes in menopausal women by half, researchers find
Women could halve the number of hot flushes they endure by turning to acupuncture, suggests new research.
Hot flushes, a sudden feeling of feverish heat, are the bane of women going through the menopause.
While many hot flushes last for just five minutes, as intense heat rises through the body, some women can experience up to 20 a day.
And as the menopause lasts for an average of four years, many resort to Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, to rid themselves of hot flushes.
Now new research suggests acupuncture could cut the number of hot flushes women experience by half.
In a study published in the journal Menopause, more than 200 women who had on average at least four hot flashes or night sweats a day were divided into two groups.
One group received 20 acupuncture treatments over a period of six months, while the other group received no acupuncture or any other alternative remedies.
Of the 170 women who received acupuncture, nearly half (47 per cent) reported a 47 per cent in frequency of hot flushes, within eight weeks.
And one in eight (12 per cent) reported an 85 per cent drop in the number they experienced. One in 25 (four per cent) claimed the ancient Chinese treatment cured them of the feverish flushes completely.
Author Dr Nancy Avis, of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in the US, said acupuncture could be a good solution for many women.
Dr Avis said: “Women bothered by hot flushes and night sweats may want to give acupuncture a try as a relatively low-cost, low-risk treatment.”
She added: “Women will know pretty quickly if acupuncture will work for them. Women who had a reduction in their hot flushes saw a benefit beginning after about three to four weeks of weekly treatments.”
However, acupuncture may not be the answer for everyone. More than a third (37 per cent) of participants saw their hot flushes cut by under 10 per cent.
Dr Avis added: “We had hoped to identify some of the characteristics of the women who benefited from acupuncture, but like so many treatments, we could not really tell ahead of time who would benefit.”
Dr Mike Cummings, medical director of the British Medical Acupuncture Society, said the research might persuade sceptical women to reconsider the alternative medicine.
He said: “This study is one of the first of its kind. In this, we have got some valid data for hot flushes and acupuncture.”