Having Problems With Menopause? You May Want To Try Acupuncture, Study Finds
For thousands of years, acupuncture has been hailed as a saving grace for a variety of ailments. More recently, it's gone mainstream, as people all over the world turn to this ancient practice to fend off chronic stress, inflammation, pain, fertility struggles, and more.
If the thought of needling your way to happiness sends nervous shivers down your spine, researchers just found yet another reason to convince you to face your fears and give it a try. Research published in BMJ Open found that women suffering from the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause—we're talking hot flashes, mood swings, skin problems, and more—felt a whole lot better after five weeks of acupuncture treatment.
For this study, conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, 70 women going through menopause received just 15 minutes of treatment per week. After six weeks, 80 percent of the study participants reported that they felt the treatments helped with their symptoms.
These improvements are a good sign, but this study isn't without its limitations. Namely, these effects could be due to the placebo effect (since it's very hard to do a placebo-controlled trial with a hands-on treatment like acupuncture), and the study looked at only a small group of women. Regardless, this opens up the conversation for treatment options for menopausal symptoms that go beyond traditional Western medicine.
Menopause typically occurs around age 50 and comes with a number of annoying symptoms like hot flashes, excessive sweating, sleep problems, mood swings, and low sex drive. These symptoms can be seriously debilitating, and many women want to try to manage them naturally. Enter acupuncture or other natural remedies, which can make worlds of difference for women affected by these issues.
Acupuncture works by unblocking your "chi," or metabolic energy, according to ancient Chinese practice. This chi supposedly runs just about every function of your body. When it gets stopped up, your body can't perform as it should, resulting in chronic pain and stress.
Though acupuncture may seem a bit daunting—you're literally being stuck with very thin, fine needles, after all—you may want to consider it as an option if you're struggling with chronic ailments or hormonal troubles. The little needles could go a long way in improving your health and ultimately quality of life.
Elizabeth Gerson is a former mindbodygreen intern and a student at Stanford University studying Psychology and Communication with a specialization in Health & Development. She has also written for SFGate.com and The Stanford Daily and runs a paleo(ish) food Instagram, @healthy_lizard.