• Researchers found seven weeks of acupuncture treatment reduced the severity of nighttime hot flashes by twenty-eight percent among menopausal women compared with a six percent decrease among women who had a sham (placebo) acupuncture treatment.
Researchers compared the effects of acupuncture and placebo acupuncture treatment on the severity and frequency of nighttime hot flashes. Twenty-nine menopausal women experiencing at least seven moderate to severe hot flashes per day took part in the study.
All of the women underwent nine treatments from trained acupuncturists in sessions over seven weeks. Twelve of the women received real acupuncture using points selected to target hot flashes and sleepiness. The rest of the women received a sham acupuncture treatment using non-penetrating needles at random acupuncture channel points.
Throughout the study, the women reported the number and severity of their hot flashes. The results showed that nighttime hot flash severity decreased significantly (28 percent) among the women who received acupuncture versus. a 6 percent drop among the women who got the sham treatment. However, they did not see a similar finding in the frequency of nighttime hot flashes between the two groups.
Researcher Mary Huang, M.S., of Stanford University, and colleagues write that the results suggest acupuncture deserves further study as an alternative treatment for menopausal hot flashes.
The findings are published in the September 2006 issue of Fertility and Sterility.33
• According to a study published by the School of Health Sciences at the Victoria University of Melbourne city, Australia, acupuncture, herbal medicine and Tai Ji (Tai chi) exercise can be applied to prevent and treat osteoporosis. These treatments can be effective, if they are applied correctly. The therapies may also be used in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, as well as the general maintenance of women’s health during menopause.34
• Researchers observed the effects of acupuncture plus acupoint sticking of Migudan on bone mass density (BMD) and pain in patients with primary osteoporosis. Changes in BMD and cumulative scores of pain after treatment were investigated. The researchers found that acupuncture plus acupoint sticking of Migudan has definite therapeutic effects on primary osteoporosis and pain management.35
• The purpose of this study was to observe the efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion on female obesity complicated with climacteric syndrome and its impact factors. One hundred and fifty-one cases of female obesity complicated with climacteric syndrome were treated according to the basic TCM principle as “pattern/syndrome differentiation”. The obesity patients complicated with climacteric syndrome presented unusually high level of obesity index, Kupperman index and FSH levels and unusually low level of estradiol. After treatment, the obesity index, Kupperman index and FSH levels were all reduced significantly (all P < 0.01) while estradiol level was increased significantly (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Acupuncture and moxibustion achieve the significant efficacy on obesity complicated with climacteric syndrome.42
• Researchers in this study wished to compare the therapeutic effect of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM), acupuncture, and hormone therapy on menopause and the related symptoms of peri- and postmenopausal women. Fifty-seven women completed 2 months of treatment with either CHM (5 g twice daily, n = 22), acupuncture plus CHM (Kun Bao Wan) 5 g twice daily plus sessions of acupuncture, n = 20), or hormone therapy (n = 15). CHM, acupuncture plus CHM, and hormone therapy significantly decreased Kupperman score (P < .001 in each group) and number the of symptoms (P < .05). Conclusion: The application of the combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture proved as effective as hormone therapy in the treatment of menopause-related symptoms, and it achieved better outcomes than herbal medicine alone.43
• Researchers aimed to investigate whether acupuncture has an effect on menopausal symptoms and to explore whether this effect is related to changes in hormone levels. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms and other gynaecological conditions. A total of 53 postmenopausal women were alternately assigned into two treatment groups: acupuncture (n=27) and sham acupuncture (n=26). Menopausal symptoms were assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). The serum oestradiol, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) levels were measured at baseline and again after the first and last sessions. After treatment, total MRS, and the somatic and psychological subscale scores were significantly lower in the acupuncture group than the sham group (all p=0.001). The severity of hot flushes was found to be significantly decreased after treatment in acupuncture group (p=0.001). In the acupuncture group LH levels were lower and oestradiol levels were significantly higher than sham group (p=0.046 and p=0.045, respectively) after treatment, but there was no difference in FSH levels. Conclusion: Acupuncture was effective in reducing menopausal complaints when compared to sham acupuncture and can be considered as an alternative therapy in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.35
• Acupuncture is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms and other gynaecological conditions. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate whether acupuncture has an effect on menopausal symptoms and to explore whether this effect is related to changes in hormone levels. Conclusion: Acupuncture was effective in reducing menopausal complaints when compared to sham acupuncture and can be considered as an alternative therapy in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.36
• The following study does not strictly pertain to the treatment of menopause, but is relevant nevertheless. Vasomotor symptoms are common adverse effects of antiestrogen hormone treatment in conventional breast cancer care. Hormone replacement therapy is contraindicated in patients with breast cancer. Venlafaxine (Effexor), the therapy of choice for these symptoms, has numerous adverse effects. Recent studies suggest acupuncture may be effective in reducing vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women. This randomized controlled trial tested whether acupuncture reduces vasomotor symptoms and produces fewer adverse effects than venlafaxine. Those who underwent acupuncture therapy had significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other quality-of-life symptoms, including significant improvements in mental health from pre- to post-treatment. Conclusion: Acupuncture appears to be equivalent in effectiveness to drug therapy for the patients in this study, without the adverse side effects caused by venlafaxine. It is a safe, effective and durable treatment for vasomotor symptoms secondary to long-term antiestrogen hormone use in patients with breast cancer.55