Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture may be helpful in reducing hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Here's why:
Acupuncture helps to regulate hormone levels: Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms are thought to be caused by changes in hormone levels, particularly a decline in estrogen. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture may help to regulate hormone levels, which could lead to a reduction in hot flashes.
Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation: Inflammation is thought to play a role in hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, and acupuncture has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Acupuncture helps to reduce stress: Stress can exacerbate hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, and acupuncture has been shown to have stress-reducing effects.
While there are many acupuncture points that may be helpful for reducing hot flashes, here are some commonly used points:
Conception Vessel-4 (Guanyuan): This point is located on the midline of the abdomen, two finger-widths below the belly button. It is thought to be helpful in regulating hormone levels and reducing hot flashes.
Spleen-6 (Sanyinjiao): This point is located on the inside of the leg, four finger-widths above the ankle bone. It is thought to be helpful in regulating the menstrual cycle and reducing hot flashes.
Kidney-3 (Taixi): This point is located on the inside of the ankle, midway between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon. It is thought to be helpful in regulating hormone levels and reducing hot flashes.
Heart-7 (Shenmen): This point is located on the wrist, at the crease where the hand meets the wrist. It is thought to be helpful in reducing anxiety and stress, which can exacerbate hot flashes.
Large Intestine-4 (Hegu): This point is located on the hand, between the thumb and index finger. It is thought to be helpful in reducing pain and promoting relaxation.
Below are some common foods and beverages that some women may want to avoid or limit to help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes:
Spicy foods: Spicy foods, such as hot peppers and curry, can raise body temperature and increase blood flow, potentially triggering hot flashes.
Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate and body temperature, potentially exacerbating hot flashes. Coffee, tea, and some soft drinks all contain caffeine.
Alcohol: Alcohol is a vasodilator that can increase blood flow and trigger hot flashes in some women.
Sugary foods: High-sugar foods, such as candy and sweetened drinks, can cause blood sugar levels to spike and then crash, potentially triggering hot flashes.
Fatty foods: High-fat foods, such as fried foods and fatty meats, can cause the body to work harder to digest, potentially increasing body temperature and triggering hot flashes.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for centuries to treat a variety of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. Here are some commonly used Chinese herbs for these symptoms:
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis): Dong quai is a root that is often used to regulate hormone levels and alleviate hot flashes.
Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa): Black cohosh is a root that is commonly used to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng): Ginseng is an adaptogen that can help to balance hormone levels and alleviate hot flashes and night sweats.
Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa): Rehmannia is a root that is often used to tonify the kidneys and alleviate hot flashes and night sweats.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Licorice is a root that is often used to tonify the spleen and alleviate hot flashes and night sweats.
It's important to note that Chinese herbal medicine should be used under the guidance of a licensed practitioner who can help to determine the appropriate herbs and dosages for your individual needs.
Nicole Peterson, LAc, MAcOM is a licensed acupuncturist in Ashland, Oregon. She loves sharing her passion for natural approaches to health through her online blog and at her clinic, Ashland Family Acupuncture. Contact us for an appointment or free consultation. 541-631-9649