Menopause is a transitional time. Lasting up to 12 months, this process can cause many uncomfortable symptoms that are disruptive to your daily life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “The physical symptoms, such as hot flashes and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy or — for some women — trigger anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss.”
These symptoms can affect work, physical activity, and relationships. That is why it is important to seek relief. In the case of acupuncture, the practice can be a great way to relieve some of the symptoms.
The basis of acupuncture is to realign the body’s energy flow or QI. When in menopause, the body’s energy flow is unaligned. That is why acupuncture can be so helpful. Using thin and light needles that do not hurt, an acupuncturist places them in certain trigger points on the body to help realign the energy flow. The points used and the length of treatment, as far as number of sessions and weeks, will depend on each individual.
One of the major symptoms of menopause is hot flashes; acupuncture can ease these. There was one trial where half the women were given fake needles. These women thought they were getting real needles, but they did not see a change in symptoms. The women getting real needles did see a change, however, showing that acupuncture does work for this symptom in particular.
Acupuncture can also help with other symptoms of menopause such as anxiety and depression. The practice has been used for these symptoms on their own, so the fact that this has been successful means that the practice can be used for menopause-induced anxiety and depression. Acupuncture will help alter chemicals to relieve these symptoms. When done over longer periods of time, the treatment is generally more effective.
As for other symptoms of menopause, science agrees that acupuncture works. According to an article on Acufinder, “From 1997 to 1999, one of the first studies in the United States to explore the effectiveness of acupuncture in alleviating hot flashes, insomnia and nervousness, conducted by Dr. Susan Cohen, D.S.N., APRN, associate professor of the University of Pittsburgh, it was found that during the course of acupuncture treatments, hot flashes decreased by 35% and insomnia decreased by 50%. A follow-up study revealed hot flashes significantly decreased in those receiving acupuncture, compared to those receiving routine care.” This means that acupuncture can relieve or decrease symptoms for the duration of the menopausal process.
As in all cases of medical situations, it is best to consult your doctor to make sure the treatment is comprehensive and effective for you. Acupuncture as an alternative to regular medicine for treating menopause holds much promise, and during this disruptive time in your life, this is enough to make it worth considering at the very least.