The effect of acupuncture in easing hot flushes and night sweats associated with the menopause has already been proved, but now a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of hot flushes that occur as the side-effect of breast cancer treatment.
The study shows acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy with Effexor (venlafaxine) at easing hot flashes in breast cancer patients, but it also improved sex drive, energy levels, and clarity of thought.
Researcher Eleanor Walker, MD, of the department of radiation oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, says “Acupuncture offers patients a safe, effective and durable treatment option for hot flashes, something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors. Compared to drug therapy, acupuncture actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects.”
The study followed 50 breast cancer patients who were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or drug treatment for 12 weeks. They were then surveyed for one year. Both groups experienced a 50% decline in hot flushes and symptoms of depression, but the acupuncture treatment appeared to have more lasting effects with fewer side effects.
There were 18 instances of negative side effects in the drug group including nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety, but no side effects reported among the acupuncture group. Patients in the acupuncture group also reported improvements in their energy, clarity of thought, and sense of well-being.
In Chinese medical thought, hot flashes and night sweats are normally associated with a deficiency of Yin. This tends to occur with menopausal women, and Yin can also be damaged by some drugs, including Effexor.
Acupuncture and other disciplines within Chinese medicine can help to control hot flushes, reduce night sweats and improve overall health and well-being.
For more information about acupuncture for hot flushes, or to book a free consultation at my Bristol or S.Wales practices, please feel free to contact me