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Acupuncture Reduces Hot Flashes In A Flash

By: Dr. Gigi Shames L.Ac., NHD, Dipl.OM, CMT

Acupuncture can help you ease into menopause and reduce many of the uncomfortable symptoms women often experience around the ages of 45 to 55. If you are hoping to avoid hormone replacement therapy, get started early with the gentle 5000 year-old techniques of acupuncture. You may still experience some menopausal symptoms but they should be fewer and further between. Assisting the menopause transition with Chinese medicine (including points, herbs, tea, physical exercise, stress relief) can reduce or eliminate hot flashes, and also bring better sleep, more intimate moisture, and improved overall mood.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical tradition that uses over 2,000 pressure points and energy channels to improve your body's performance. Acupuncture uses disposable needles as thin as a strand of hair and places them just below the skin to stimulate pressure points. Acupuncturists have holistic approaches and often recommend herbs, exercise, meditation, and other non-invasive solutions. Treatments are essentially painless but can occasionally cause tingling sensations where the needles are placed. Multiple studies and thousands of anecdotes have shown these treatments to be effective at easing menopause symptoms.

In acupuncture theory, the endocrine (hormonal) system is closely tied to the internal balance of the Yin energy and the Yang energy. You can imagine that the Yang energy is like gasoline that fuels a car, and the Yin energy is the coolant for the car’s engine. Without the coolant, the engine overheats and begins to burn out. The same is true if there is a sharp decrease of Yin energy in menopause: lack of cooling Yin causes hot flashes, night sweats, edginess or irritability, and a feeling of being “wired and tired” at the same time.

What we do as acupuncturists is strengthen and nourish the Yin with specific points and herbs, thus making sure the Yin and Yang are more equal within the body.  This will restore your essential internal balance. In the Western way, this process is one of hormone balancing the female and male hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and even cortisol.

Most acupuncturists will recommend you start with a short series of visits (between 3 and 6) to reduce both the incidence and intensity of hot flashes.Your specific practitioner will work with you to determine the best plan; happily, for most women symptoms remain lower and less invasive even months after finishing a course of acupuncture.

Acupuncture during menopause has numerous benefits beyond regulating roller-coaster hormone levels. Other benefits include increasing energy, improving appetite, reducing insomnia, relieving depression, improving cardio-pulmonary function, and relieving muscles aches.

Great news for women in your golden years: without all the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, you will be free to enjoy a phase of life marked by extreme creativity and inspiration, passion, and professional accomplishment.

Would you like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you?  Contact a practitioner today!

About the Author:  Dr. Gigi Shames is a Doctor of Natural Health. Ms. Shames is also a Licensed Acupuncturist.  She has offices in Marin and Sonoma, and provides phone coaching. via (415) 233-0165 or

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