When you get a hot flash, a feeling of heat begins to spread throughout your body. The upper body and face are most impacted during this time. The body suddenly becomes overheated, causing some people to sweat, which may later lead to chills. The skin may become flushed or have red blotches scattered through the region. During some hot flashes, you may even experience a rapid heartbeat that leads to an anxious feeling.
During acupuncture treatments for hot flashes, an emphasis is put on the kidney and spleen meridians. Your acupuncturist will select the points used during your treatment based on your specific body. Once the points are selected, a long thin needle will be inserted into the spot. Inserting these points will create balance by strengthening or calming where needed.
You will know what a hot flash is when you experience it. Many women have described it as a feeling of burning up inside. There is almost always no warning, and it can be very challenging to determine what triggers might make it worse. There really is no way to prepare for these changes except to have some ideas of what causes the problem and how to fix it.
The only treatment options for hot flashes in Western Medicine practice are medications. Many people are beginning to search for alternatives to prescribed medications. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and has proven effective for many disorders. Here are a few proven studies that acupuncture can help to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Acupuncture for postmenopausal hot flashes – In this study, a group of 29 participants experiencing hot flashes were placed into two groups. One of the groups received acupuncture, while the second group received placebo acupuncture. They were then asked to record the amount and severity of their hot flashes. The group that received the acupuncture noted a significant decrease in the severity of their hot flashes, although the frequency did not change.
Acupuncture for hot flashes in women with breast cancer – A group of 190 women diagnosed with breast cancer was broken into two groups. Both groups were given information on self-care to follow for 12 weeks. One of the groups received acupuncture along with self-care for a total of 10 sessions. The group that received acupuncture along with the self-care recorded a significantly lower hot flash score than the group that was not treated.
Hot Flashes treated with acupuncture – A group of 56 women aged 44 – 55 who had at least four hot flashes a day were placed into three randomized groups. One group was treated with usual western medical care, the second group was treated with traditional acupuncture, and the final group was given sham (fake) acupuncture. While there was a decrease in the frequency of hot flashes amongst all three groups, there was a significant decrease in the acupuncture and simulated acupuncture groups.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on maintaining well-being throughout the body, mind, and soul. This is done by focusing not simply on the symptoms we may have but on what could be causing those symptoms. Hot flashes are likely caused by a deficiency in our Yin (our cooling and stillness system) coupled with an increase in our body’s heat. Our body can begin to warm up from too much activity or too little activity. A hot flash occurs if the Yin cannot cool down this extra heat.
Hot flashes most often occur as hormone levels change in women. This hormonal change is called Perimenopause in its earliest stages and progresses to full Menopause. As the estrogen level in the body begins to decrease, symptoms like hot flashes and abnormal menstrual cycles clue us into the change within our bodies. Researchers believe the hypothalamus has greater sensitivity once the estrogen begins to decrease. The hypothalamus is located deep in our brains and controls our body’s temperature as one of its many functions. During the transition to Menopause, the thermostat can easily be tricked into believing your body is overheating. The result is a hot flash designed to cool you off, even if you have the opposite feeling.
Hot flashes are uncomfortable and can interfere will your life. Adding an alternative like acupuncture can help you begin getting back some normalcy in your life. The trained and experienced practitioners at the EBOM clinic can get you started with a routine that will carry you into the next phase of your life.
Each individual may have a different treatment plan for hot flashes. There are a few standard approaches that practitioners often tailor to meet the needs of their patients.
Hormone Therapy Replacement – Replacing some of the lost estrogen levels is one way of controlling menopausal symptoms. However, there can be risks associated with estrogen therapy, such as the development of endometrial cancers. People should work closely with their providers to receive the lowest dose available to keep their symptoms under control.
Antidepressants – The use of antidepressants is an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for those that cannot use that approach. You may not experience the same decrease in symptoms, but taking these medications may curb the hot flashes to a manageable place.
Home Remedies – There are things you can do to help ease the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. The first thing is to dress in layers. If you get that flushed feeling, this will allow you to shed an outer layer quickly. Try to avoid too much caffeine or alcohol as these cause the body to heat up and could trigger a hot flash to occur.
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