Menopause is defined as occurring 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle and signals the permanent end of menstruation and fertility. This happens over a 2-10 year period as hormonal levels fluctuate with the ovaries eventually secreting less estrogen. It is this lack of estrogen that is believed to contribute to hot flashes and night sweats, which affect 65% of women in menopause. Known as vasomotor symptoms, hot flashes are the main reason some women seek relief with hormone replacement therapy, (HRT).
Because of the results of recent studies calling into question the safety of HRT, many women now seek out support from approaches such as acupuncture to regain and properly balance their energy as they make the transition into what Chinese Medicine calls the “Second Spring”.
Acupuncture is a popular treatment because it can balance the hormonal system and can optimize adrenal function. The adrenals come under a lot of pressure during this time because they take over most of the estrogen production as ovary activity winds down.
In a study published through the National Institutes for Health in the USA, acupuncture treatments were found to have significantly improved hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.1. Because acupuncture is a holistic medicine, the accompanying complaints such as night sweats, fatigue and mood swings, insomnia and anxiety and are also often resolved.
Lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing menopausal symptoms. The most important of these would be stress reduction. This may be achieved through calming, reflective activities such as meditation, Qi Gong, or yoga. Women also benefit by keeping active and eating foods that support the adrenals and have calming effect on the hormonal system.