Acupuncture no better for menopause than ‘fake’ method, says researchers

Jan 19, 2016

Photo credit: Jon Feingersh/Getty Images/Blend Images RR

By Australian Associated Press

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is no better than a fake version for treating menopause symptoms, says a new study.

But, after eight weeks of treatment, both led to a 40% improvement in the severity and frequency of hot flushes, which was sustained six months later.

The University of Melbourne study involved 327 Australian women aged over 40 who had at least seven moderate hot flushes a day.

Half were given 10 sessions of standard Chinese medicine acupuncture in which thin needles were inserted into the body at specific points.

The others had their skin stimulated with blunt-tipped needles, which has a milder effect without penetrating the skin.

Lead author Dr Carolyn Ee said both groups may have improved due to the placebo effect or because attending a clinic to talk about symptoms could help.

She also noted hot flushes tend to improve spontaneously with time.

“This was a large and rigorous study and we are confident there is no additional benefit from inserting needles compared with stimulation from pressuring the blunt needles without skin penetration for hot flushes,” she said.

“If women want to consider having acupuncture for hot flushes they should know that although previous studies show it is better than doing nothing, our study demonstrates that needling does not appear to make a difference.”

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