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Acupuncture for Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flashes FREE

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The full report is titled “Acupuncture for Menopausal Hot Flashes. A Randomized Trial.” It is in the 2 February 2016 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 164, pages 146-154). The authors are C. Ee, C. Xue, P. Chondros, S.P. Myers, S.D. French, H. Teede, and M. Pirotta.

This article was published at www.annals.org on 19 January 2016.

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Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(3):I-24. doi:10.7326/P16-9004
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19 12016.

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Most women have hot flashes during menopause. Some women use complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, to treat menopausal symptoms. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment in which thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points. Studies comparing real with sham (or “fake”) acupuncture for treatment of menopausal symptoms have shown both positive and negative results.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To determine whether Chinese medicine acupuncture is more effective than sham acupuncture when used to treat menopausal hot flashes.

Who was studied?

327 women living in Australia aged 40 years or older who were menopausal or close to being menopausal and were having at least 7 hot flashes of moderate severity each day.

How was the study done?

The women were randomly assigned to receive 10 sessions of either a standardized program of Chinese medicine acupuncture or sham acupuncture. The sham acupuncture gave the sensation of a needle prick, but it did not involve the insertion of needles into the body. The women did not know whether they were receiving real or sham acupuncture. The researchers used questionnaires to measure the severity and frequency of the women's hot flashes at baseline, at the end of treatment (8 weeks), and at 3 and 6 months after treatment. They also collected information on adverse effects that the women had as a result of the treatment. Treatments were given by Chinese medicine acupuncturists in their private clinics.

What did the researchers find?

Compared with the hot flash scores at the beginning of the study, both groups (real and sham acupuncture) had a 40% improvement in the scores at the end of treatment, and this improvement was continued at 3 and 6 months after treatment. There was no difference between groups in terms of hot flash scores. No serious adverse events were reported by either group.

What were the limitations of the study?

Most of the women were Caucasian. The study did not include women with a history of breast cancer or those who had both of their ovaries removed. These women tend to have more severe hot flashes. In addition, the sham acupuncture can cause minor physiologic effects and is not considered a true placebo treatment.

What are the implications of the study?

Chinese medicine acupuncture does not offer any benefit over sham acupuncture for treatment of menopausal hot flashes.





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Submit a Comment/Letter
If consider adding the acupuncture points for Heart heat and Liver Qi,probably more effective
Posted on March 3, 2016
Arthur Fan, MD, PhD, LAc
McLean Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC
Conflict of Interest: None Declared
The acupuncture points used in this trial were based on Kidney Yin Deficiency in Chinese medicine theory. I agree with the authors that the Kidney Yin Deficiency is the root cause of the hot flashes, however, the signs of hot flashes are more closely related to Heart Fire and Live Qi. If some acupuncture points related to Heart Fire and Live Qi were added, the treatment would have been more effective.
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