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The frequency of hot flushes, and other menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS), can be reduced by almost half for about 50 per cent of women with eight weeks of acupuncture treatment, according to American researchers. The study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health, examined responses to acupuncture in 209 menopausal women who were experiencing at least four hot flushes or episodes of night sweating per 24 hours. Women were randomised to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within a six-month period, or to a waitlist control group. Of the 170 women in the acupuncture group, 11.9 per cent achieved an 85 per cent reduction in VMS frequency by the week 8 of the study. The largest group - 47 per cent of those who received acupuncture - reported a 47 per cent VMS reduction over the same period. Thirty-seven per cent showed only a minimal reduction of 9.6 per cent in VMS, while four per cent reported a 100 per cent increase in VMS. Among women in the waitlist control group, 79.5 per cent reported a 10 per cent decrease in VMS frequency at week 8. Baseline VMS frequency, number of acupuncture treatments in the first eight weeks, and traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis were all significantly related to the trajectory of VMS reduction in the acupuncture group.

Trajectories of response to acupuncture for menopausal vasomotor symptoms: the Acupuncture in Menopause study. Menopause. 2016 Sep 26. [Epub ahead of print].


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