Acupuncture is a well known form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that involves the insertion of fine needles into particular areas of the body to treat different levels of pain through the simulation of sensory nerves. Menopause is a natural process that females experience and it comes with an array of symptoms including hot flushes, headaches, insomnia and vaginal dryness. But can menopause be treated using acupuncture techniques?
In this blog, we will discuss whether acupuncture can help aid the symptoms of menopause if acupuncture can reverse perimenopause, and whether it can balance the hormones throughout the menopause period as well. Keep reading to find out more.
Does Acupuncture Really Work for Menopause?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into particular points of the body in order to restore energy balance and supposedly help with some illnesses. Evidence does exist that proves acupuncture can improve particular common symptoms such as hot flushes, emotional issues, insomnia and further physical symptoms.
According to a Danish study, acupuncture for menopause appeared to reduce symptoms commonly experienced during menopause including hot flushes, insomnia, excessive nighttime perspiration and emotional issues. The study showed that after 6 weeks of regular acupuncture sessions, 80% of the 70 menopausal women who volunteered for the study, noticed moderate improvements in their symptoms.
The main two symptoms that the volunteers reported having improved the most after the 6 week period included hot flushes and general flushes. However, noticeable improvements were still recorded in symptoms such as insomnia, emotional issues and skin and hair symptoms and even physical symptoms.
Therefore, this study suggests that acupuncture for menopause could be a good alternative method of treatment instead of HRT which has side effects such as the low risk of cancer. But we would advise that if you do begin a process of trying acupuncture for a menopause treatment, that you ensure that it is completed by a professional who has completed sufficient acupuncture training.
Can Acupuncture Reverse Perimenopause?
Acupuncture for menopause does not reverse perimenopause but can reduce the symptoms experienced during the transition period. These improved symptoms include reduced hot flushes and the regularity of premenopausal women’s menstrual cycle. Perimenopause quite literally means ‘around menopause’ and refers to the transition period between being reproductive and the end of your reproductive life cycle. Reversing perimenopause is not natural which is why there is no evidence to support the process but that does not mean that the perimenopause stage has to be dreaded, because there are treatments that can help ease the symptoms.
There are many simple activities and methods that you can adopt in order to help reduce perimenopause symptoms such as:
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Regulating your sleeping pattern
- Eat a moderately healthy and varied diet
- Stopping smoking
However, despite implementing these changes, perimenopausal women are not satisfied and, as a result, are still searching for natural methods to relieve their symptoms.
Academics from the Institute of Acupuncture in China released a study that demonstrated that acupuncture can have a positive effect on some symptoms experienced by women in the perimenopausal stage. These symptoms include hot flushes, reduced stress and anxiety and in some cases improved regularity of the menstrual cycle. It is significant to mention that no negative side effects were recorded as a result of using acupuncture for a menopause or perimenopause treatment.
Can Acupuncture Balance Hormones?
Acupuncture involves the stimulation of the nervous system in the body which in itself can trigger the release of endorphins that are well known for helping to deal with pain. Although acupuncture can help with relieving pain, studies show that it may also help with the production of oestrogen which is a key hormone in women from the menopausal transition.
The reduction of oestrogen is a common symptom in menopause as it is involved in the reproductive system, and the menopause is considered to signify the ending of the reproductive cycle. The increase of oestrogen produced during acupuncture for menopause could decrease the intensity of some of the menopausal symptoms including improving the regularity of menstrual cycles.
Where are the Acupuncture Points for Menopause?
Acupuncture for menopause targets specific points that, according to TCM philosophy, are related to target menopausal symptoms. Below are the main acupuncture needling points used for treating menopause:
- Du 20: Located between the ears at the top of the head, this point is used to stimulate balance and refresh the spirit of the patient.
- Spleen 6: Located just above the tip of the inside ankle bone, this point has benefits including strengthening the kidneys, nourishing blood, supporting urination, regulating menstrual cycles, relieves pain and calming the mind.
- Kidney 3: Located between the ankle bone and achilles tendon, this point helps strengthen the kidney system, regulates the uterus and helps with hot flushes.
- Bladder 23: Located in the lower back, this point is used to nourish the kidney system and strengthen the lumbar region.
Acupuncture CPD Courses and Acupuncture Training at Breeze Academy
Breeze Academy are specialists in dry needling and acupuncture training, and have an array of acupuncture cpd courses available to help you broaden your knowledge and work towards offering acupuncture as part of a menopause treatment plan. If you have already trained in acupuncture, try our Acupuncture in Women’s Health course to gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence required to bring an effective new intervention to your daily practice.