Why use Acupuncture for Menopause?

We feel it is important to view menopause as a normal phase of each woman’s life cycle. With the gradual cessation of the menstrual cycle, symptoms can be long and varied, including hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss, brain fog, insomnia, depression, anxiety, joint pain, heart palpitations, weight loss or gain, high blood pressure and headaches. Virtually all women experience some symptoms during this transition. Paradoxically, menopause can be the most empowering and enlightening period of the woman’s life. While you are experiencing symptoms, it can be difficult to see the positive changes that are happening. In recent years, menopause treatment has shifted away from the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), due to complications associated with the use of HRT. Many women are now seeking alternative or complimentary therapy for the symptoms of menopause.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture for menopause requires regular treatments, once or twice per week to begin with and then decreasing the frequency or completing the treatments usually after 10-12 treatments. Length of treatment can vary, depending on whether Chinese herbs, other nutritional strategies, exercise and stress reduction techniques are incorporated with the treatments. Treatment length also depends on the degree of severity of menopausal symptoms when beginning acupuncture.

Studies

Herbs

Traditional Asian herbal medicine provides a safe, effective treatment alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy. In Asia, acupuncture and herbal prescriptions have been used to ease menopause for hundreds of years. Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet, a Chinese herbal pharmacopeia containing herbal prescriptions for disorders including menopause and infertility, were written during the Han dynasty in 200 A.D. Many of these formulas are still in use in our modern acupuncture and herbal medicine clinics.

Asian medicine has the longest written medical tradition for treating menopause and women’s hormonal imbalances. Asian herbal medicine and acupuncture have stood the test of time. In choosing herbal products to prescribe for our patients we insist on using herbs from companies whose products have been GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified. This degree of quality control assures a lack of contamination of heavy metals and insures the purity of the herbs.

We are frequently asked questions about the lack of double blind crossover studies proving the safety and efficacy of Chinese herbs. In Asia, these costly studies have not been required because Asians trust the traditional medicine that their doctors have been practicing for thousands of years. The proof of herbal efficacy is supported by the fact that there has been very little change in the techniques used over the centuries. There are also considerable problems in designing studies due to the nature of how Chinese herbs and acupuncture work. In contrast with Western herbology, which often uses a single herb like Black Cohosh for menopausal symptoms, Asian medical tradition works by individualizing herbal and acupuncture treatments according to known patterns or complex groupings of signs and symptoms.

The practice of Traditional Asian medicine prohibits prescribing herbal prescriptions without a careful examination of the patient, assessment of her symptoms, and carefully choosing the appropriate herbs for the symptoms. If you or your doctors are concerned about your health risk for rising estrogen levels, we can work together with your doctor and with you to order lab tests to make sure your estrogen level stays within the normal parameters while taking Chinese herbs.