Acupuncture benefits for menopause
A 2019 study found that 5 weeks of acupuncture reduced hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disruptions in women dealing with menopause symptoms.
While the researchers couldn’t rule out the placebo effect in their study, they also concluded acupuncture was “a safe, cost-effective and simple procedure, with very few side-effects reported.”
“Acupuncture affects fascia, it affects our connective tissue,” researcher says. “And in real time, under fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), the insertion of the acupuncture needle changes which parts of our brain light up — so, it’s changing the way our brain reacts.”
There are several symptoms of menopause that acupuncture may help with, including:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- mood swings
- vaginal dryness
Hot flashes and night sweats
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is rooted in yin and yang theory, the idea that all things are composed of two opposite forces. When those forces are in balance, says TCM, the body is healthy.
“Whenever a woman has hot flashes, one of the things we’re assessing is what is the relationship of the yin and yang in her kidneys, and how can we support that,” researcher says. “We want the kidneys to be well-nourished.”
It is said that acupuncture can help treat the hormonal imbalance causing heat to rise in the body. Along with acupuncture, it is also advised that patients should eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
The American College of Physicians recommends acupuncture for those managing lower back pain. Using acupuncture needles at pressure points in the body can stimulate the central nervous system, causing it to release pain-relieving chemicals, such endorphins. These can help alleviate aches associated with menopause.
Mood swings and anxiety
It’s very easy to feel incredibly crabby or like our brains are not firing on all pistons when our hormones are out of balance.
Researchers in a 2013 studyTrusted Source found that acupuncture can alter neurotransmitters in the brain to alleviate conditions such as anxiety and nervousness, improving overall mood.
Patients can feel that acupuncture gave the peace and relaxation patients struggled to find. During the sessions, the muscles are relaxed and the thoughts stop racing.
One 2019 studyTrusted Source on cognitive behavioral therapy and acupuncture for insomnia found that, while CBT was more effective, acupuncture still showed clinically significant results.
The acupoint three-yin intersection (SP6), a pressure point just above the inner ankle, plays an important role. In addition to receiving needle treatment at this spot, soaking feet at home can help improve sleep.
Acupuncture may help increase blood flow and lower blood pressure in your body, which can reduce fatigue-inducing stress on muscles like the heart.
A 2017 study found that acupuncture was effective at reducing cancer-related fatigue, and another studyTrusted Source in the same year found that acupuncture and moxibustion were effective at treating chronic fatigue syndrome.
Hormonal imbalances during menopause can reduce the natural fluid production in the vagina, leading to dryness and pain during sex.
According to reseaches, needles inserted in acupuncture points can sometimes help stimulate the release of neurochemicals that can counteract imbalances.
“We use acupuncture to help bring balance into the system,” some researchers say. “Shifting those patterns shifts hormonal imbalances, and [people] who tend to have dry vaginas from menopause notice they’re feeling more fluid in their body and sex isn’t painful.”