As menopause approaches, approximately 85 percent of U.S. women experience hot flashes and up to 50 percent of them continue having them for several years.(1) The sudden flushing of the skin that often leads to sweating, and/or feeling very warm and sometimes, chilled, is a frustration that many women seek to find relief from.
Acupuncture has been suggested as a way to help ease hot flashes, but now, a new study conducted by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reinforces its effectiveness.(2) Researchers assessed hundreds of other past menopause-related studies, looking at ones where acupuncture played a role in providing women with relief from hot flashes. They also studied women ages 40-60 who were currently experiencing menopause, observing them as they tried a variety of acupuncture techniques, ranging from traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture (TCMA), ear acupuncture, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture and acupressure.(2)
They concluded ” . . . that acupuncture positively impacted both the frequency and severity of hot flashes.”(2) NAMS executive director Margery Gass, MD., says that “The review suggests that acupuncture may be an effective alternative for reducing hot flashes, especially for those women seeking non-pharmacologic therapies.”(2)
It’s thought that acupuncture may be helpful because it helps to reduce endorphins in the part of the brain that affects thermoreguation, which is related to core body temperature.(2)
The Mayo Clinic is on board with acupuncture as an alternative way to help manage hot flashes. In fact, according to the clinic, acupuncture, along with relaxation practices such as yoga and hypnosis, may be beneficial for women, as is maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding spicy foods.(3)
Foods that help minimize hot flashes
Foods that can help naturally fight hot flashes include drinking herbal teas like chamomile, eating nuts, and enjoying potassium-boosting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.(4)
Avoidance of alcohol and caffeine is also important as they can elevate the intensity and duration of hot flashes.
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