Acupuncture for Treatment of Menopausal SymptomsSome women reach middle age and are barraged by mild to severe menopausal symptoms. Because of this natural transition, their life for the next few years can be drastically changed. It seems like a cruel joke as it slams down upon the female race with little relief offered by conventional medicine. Acupuncture for treatment of menopausal symptoms is a powerful alternative option. It has the ability to not only ease discomfort but possibly shed new light on this life changing ‘affliction’.

In the Thick of It
Menopause is the permanent end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and although it may seem like cause for celebration it could be several years of physical and mental anguish before relief is in sight. Not every women struggles with severe symptoms yet even the mildest presentations can be challenging. These can vary from individual to individual and include indications such as:

  • Mood fluctuations (similar to premenstrual syndrome): depression, anxiety, irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Achey muscles and joints
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vasomotor symptoms: These are the famous hot flashes and night sweats caused by the expansion of blood vessels.
  • Reduced Lubrication: Vaginal dryness, dry mouth and dry eyes

Acupuncture: Ancient Relief Finally Gets Its Due
The history of acupuncture is skeptical with some believing its origin dates back five thousand  years based on alleged hieroglyphic images depicting the practice. Most agree that the two thousand year old mark is sufficient especially due to the mention of acupuncture in the text, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (The Neijing Suwen). In any event, conventional medicine has wholly embraced acupuncture. Not only based on its historical track record but through rigorous testing applied to a wide variety of ailments that it has benefitted in one way or another. For menopause, acupuncture has been found to help relieve many symptoms especially hot flashes and night sweats. Some past random studies have reported insufficient evidence regarding acupuncture for menopause relief however there have been two studies that refute these findings. These studies have brought to light the many benefits this ancient practice can offer to those who may have been wary of stepping away from other conventional treatments such as HRT (hormone replacement therapy) which has been linked to possible cancer risks.

The first study was conducted in Daejeon, South Korea at The Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and Meridian Research Center, Division of Standard Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. The goal was, “to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture plus usual care for relief of hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms compared with usual care alone in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.” The findings were positive stating in their conclusion that, “Our results suggest that acupuncture in addition to usual care is associated with marked clinical improvement in hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.”

The second study reported by ABC News and in the Los Angeles Times was conducted by the Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey. It found significant improvement when acupuncture was applied and compared to sham (random) locations. The acupuncture points below describing meridian (pathway) location, Chinese name and English translation were used in the study to address menopausal symptoms.

Stomach – ST36 (Zusani – Three Mile Point): Located on the outer lower front leg just below the knee. This is one of the most effective and important points used for general wellness as a result of tonifying Blood and Qi (pronounced “chee” – life energy force).

Large Intestine – LI4 (Binao – Upper Arm): Outer (lateral) upper arm adjacent to the bicep. Used to dissipate phlegm and alleviate pain.

Kidney – KI3 (Qixue – Qi Hole): Lower abdomen just below the belly button (umbilicus). Targets irregular menstruation, diarrhea and dysuria (painful urination).

Liver – LR3 (Taichong – Great Surge): Top of the foot behind the space between the large and adjacent toe. Used for depression, irregular menstruation, headache and weakness. Mover of Qi and Blood.

Forehead – EX-HN3 (Yintang – Hall of Impression): Midpoint of the forehead between eyebrows intended for headache and insomnia relief.

Converging Vessel – CV3 (Zhongji – Middle Pole): Lower abdomen just above the pubis used for relief of metrorrhagia (blood, hormone, fibroid imbalance) and dysuria.

The results of this study as reported by the Los Angeles Times were as follows:

“At the end of the study period, the women who got acupuncture showed more relief from their symptoms compared to their counterparts who got the fake treatment. Their hot flashes were less severe (there was no change for women who got the sham treatment). Both groups had improvements in their psychological symptoms (as measured by the Menopause Rating Scale), though the benefit was much greater for women who got acupuncture. In addition, estrogen levels were significantly higher for the women in the treatment group compared to the controls.”

Dr. Arya Nielsen of the Beth Israel Medical Center Department of Integrative Medicine, NYC comments on acupuncture treatments for menopause relief: “I think women experience fewer hot flashes and less intensity when they have hot flashes, so it returns the quality of life…This is very significant.”

Working with a capable, compassionate, licensed acupuncturist for your menopause symptom challenges is essential. In addition, using a variety of other remedy choices (i.e. botanical medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition and nutraceutical supplementation) can be paramount in experiencing the full spectrum of relief and healing. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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