Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes drive many women to seek natural remedies and medications for relief. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine may offer support for hot flash sufferers. When used in conjunction with usual care methods, acupuncture is a helpful adjunct in relieving menopause-related hot flashes. A practitioner will select certain points based on your symptoms and medical history. Talk to your doctor about acupuncture and menopause, and see a licensed acupuncturist or massage therapist.
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The Role of the Kidneys
The kidneys, according to Chinese medicine theory, house your essence or jing, which is all the energy with which you are born. Associated with water, these organs help counteract fire and heat from the heart or liver. The kidneys are also associated with your reproduction and growth; as such, during menopause -- when your reproductive capacity is coming to a close -- your kidney energy may be waning. Your acupuncturist may select points to strengthen your kidney energy and help reduce heat associated with hot flashes.
Helpful Kidney Points
Though selection depends on your particular symptoms and conditions, your practitioner may choose to needle kidney point 1, which is located on the sole of the foot. Stimulating this point can promote calm and strengthen kidney energy. Kidney points 3 and 6 may also be selected to strengthen the kidneys and cool hot flashes and night sweats. Kidney 7 may also be useful as it helps regulate sweating and clears heat.
Imbalances in the liver, conception vessel and heart can also, according to Chinese medicine theory, lead to hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The liver and gallbladder are linked to female fertility and reproduction as well as anger and frustration. Needling points like liver 2 and 3 can reduce fire and potentially prevent hot flashes. The heart is associated with fire, and the conception vessel can also support hormone and fertility functions. Stimulating heart 7 can also reduce fire and help promote sleep, and heart 6 might reduce sweating associated with hot flashes. Conception vessel point 4 is often used to increase yin, from which cooling fluids are made.
The above-mentioned points can be combined in different ways over the course of a few treatments. Points like stomach 36 can supplement almost any acupuncture treatment, and may be added to your treatment. Stomach 36, according to Peter Deadman's textbook "A Manual of Acupuncture," strengthens overall energy, clears fire, promotes calm and nourishes blood and fluids. For sleep disturbances, the extra point Anmian -- located below the ear -- is helpful. Give your acupuncturist an accurate medical history and symptom list to ensure he can provide you with the best treatment for harmonizing your body.
- "Menopause"; Effects of Acupuncture on Hot Flashes in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women; K.H. Kim, et al.; March 2010
- TCM Basics: Kidneys
- "A Manual of Acupuncture"; P. Deadman, et al.; 2001
- Yin Yang House; Acupuncture for Menopause; 2006