Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the Treatment of Menopause Symptoms
Acupuncture and Menopause
With its close understanding of the female body, Oriental medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and quickly relieve uncomfortable symptoms due to hormonal changes throughout women’s lives.
What is Menopause
Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman’s body. This time of change may last a few months to several years. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain.
According to Chinese Medical theory, menopause occurs when a woman’s body begins to preserve blood and energy in order to sustain her vitality and allow for the maximum available nourishment for her body, especially her kidneys. The kidney is the organ Chinese Medicine sees as the root of life and longevity. Therefore, the body, in its wisdom, reserves the flow of a channel in the center of the body which sends blood and energy down to the uterus. Instead, blood and essence from the kidneys are conserved and cycled through the body to nourish the woman’s spirit and extend her longevity. Thus, in the Chinese Medicine, menopause is seen as true change in life from mother to enlightened and wise being.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Menopause
Few areas of women’s health stir up as much confusion and debate as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which normally started when the first symptoms of menopause appear. While they may alleviate hot flashes and percent osteoporosis, they will also increase the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, and have a number of significant side-effects. But HRT isn’t the only solution. Menopause is an area in in which Oriental Medicine shines. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body quickly relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, foggy mind, and irritability.
Studies on Acupuncture and Menopause
Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective treatments for hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, vaginal dryness and many other symptoms associated with menopause. Recent studies show extremely positive results:From 1997 to 1999, one of the first studies in the US to explore the effectiveness of acupuncture in alleviating hot flashes, insomnia and nervousness, conducted by Dr. Susan Cohen, D.S.N., APRN, associate professor of the University of Pittsburgh, it was found that during the course of acupuncture treatments, hot flashes decreased 35% and insomnia decreased by 50%. A follow-up study revealed hot flashes significantly decreased in those receiving acupuncture, compared to those receiving routine care.