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How Acupuncture Can Help Women in Menopause

The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture is one of the more popular forms of alternative medicine. It is often used to treat different kinds of pain and ailments, including headaches and blood pressure, and now, apparently, it can also help women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Menopausal symptoms can be frustrating and uncomfortable, so the news of an alternative to the hormonal treatment is something that has been welcomed by many. But what exactly is acupuncture, you ask?

Acupuncture is done by an acupuncturist, who places needles into different points (located on meridians) on the body, with the aim of balancing the individual’s energy, Medical News Today notes. It has been used to treat illness and pain, although the effectiveness and scientific research on how this is achieved is unclear. What is clear, is that acupuncture has created interest among medical publications after a small Danish study was published in the journal, BMJ Open.

The study was conducted on 70 menopausal women and found that for some women experiencing menopause, acupuncture could provide them with much-needed relief from certain symptoms. "Acupuncture for menopausal symptoms is a realistic option for women who cannot or do not wish to use [hormone therapy]," a team from the department of public health at the University of Copenhagen stated, WebMD reports. The practice could help with mood swings, night sweats, sleep problems, and hot flashes.

Although this sounds incredibly promising, it’s also worth noting that despite 80 percent of the group who received acupuncture reporting feeling as though their symptoms had reduced, a placebo effect could not be ruled out.

According to the BBC, Professor Frans Boch Waldorff said: "We can't explain the underlying mechanism behind acupuncture, nor determine how much of the effect is caused by placebo But this was a safe, cost-effective and simple procedure, with very few side-effects reported by the women.” Given the limited research, women are able to decide for themselves if this is an alternative approach they are willing to consider, which could possibly have more desirable effects than some of the other options available for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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