Hot Flashes and How Acupuncture Can Help
This article was updated on: 09/15/2018
What are hot flashes?
Hot flashes are often associated with menopause and are a sudden, temporary onset of body warmth, flushing and sweating, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is not known for sure what causes hot flashes, but scientists believe that reduced hormone production in the ovaries during menopause affects a woman’s regulation of her body temperature and can cause hot flashes.
Hot flashes may begin around the time of your last menstrual period and can last for many years. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) many women feel that hot flashes and trouble sleeping are the biggest problems associated with menopause.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is technique of traditional Chinese medicine where specific points of the body are stimulated by inserting thin needles through the skin, according to the National Institute of Health.
You will have to partially disrobe to receive acupuncture, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted, but much less than the prick of an injection needle since acupuncture needles are much thinner. If you feel a deep heaviness or numbness the treatment is working.
In the U.S., most acupuncturists receive a diploma from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Some conventional medical practitioners, including dentists and doctors, also practice acupuncture. Learn about Medicare coverage of acupuncture.
How can acupuncture help hot flashes?
That National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has funded research to learn if acupuncture can reduce the frequency of hot flashes associated with menopause. At time this article was published, the NIH research was still ongoing.
Research reported by Harvard Medical School suggests that electroacupuncture may be effective for better sleep for women troubled by nocturnal hot flashes as well as breast cancer survivors. Electroacupuncture uses a pulsating electric current. The study did not report on the effectiveness of standard acupuncture in treating hot flashes.
Research by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center suggests that eight weeks of acupuncture treatment can reduce hot flashes by half for 50 percent of women. Researchers in the study described acupuncture as “relatively low-cost, low-risk treatment.” The source reporting the study, Science Daily, did not clarify the frequency or duration that women need to receive acupuncture in order to maintain relief from hot flashes.
Acupuncture may be safer than hormone treatment for hot flashes. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, women who received a certain kind of estrogen and progesterone were at significantly higher risk of higher risk of stroke, heart attacks, breast cancer, dementia, urinary incontinence, and gallbladder disease.
Do you have more questions about Medicare coverage of acupuncture?
If you have any questions about your Medicare plan options or would like help finding Medicare Advantage plans that may cover acupuncture, just let me know. We can discuss some of your options in a one-on-one phone consultation, or I can email you some personalized options; use the links below to set that up. You can always look for plan options using our Find Your Plan button.