Ladies, we ain't got it so good. From puberty's cruel days to the monthly hormonal reminder it left behind to the seemingly impossible act of childbirth (and I won't even mention our self-imposed torture a la high heels, bikini waxing and constantly falling for Mr. Wrong), you'd think we'd have something much more wonderful to look forward to as we age than menopause. But there it sits, looming and waiting like the dreaded first workout after our Christmas Cookie and Pie Diet. Only, a billion times scarier. But there is hope—a recent study revealed acupuncture might significantly decrease the symptoms associated with menopause.
The findings of a study published in the March edition of the journal Acupuncture in Medicine conducted by Portland's School of Nursing's Cheryl Wright and Mikel Aickin, concluded that women suffering from hot flashes and other common menopause conditions showed significant decrease in symptoms with acupuncture treatments. In just ten weeks, the group of women receiving the acupuncture showed considerably lower occurrences of hot flashes and mood swings than the women who received fake acupuncture, where the needles did not fully penetrate the skin. The researchers also concluded that the relief in symptoms among the women receiving acupuncture did not occur as a result of any change in their hormone levels, suggesting the acupuncture had an effect directly on the symptoms themselves.
Long revered throughout the Chinese culture, acupuncture uses needles to stimulate certain points on the body to release "Chi" or energy that can be blocked, resulting in diseases, health issues or emotional conditions. It has received a lot of media and clinical attention in the U.S. in recent years and some mainstream insurance plans now even cover it. Many people swear by it—using it to treat a number of ailments from relieving arthritis symptoms, regulating digestion and relieving stress.
Acupuncture has been used with much success in treating fertility issues for women and men, too. According to Dr. Sharon Barr, a Los Angeles based acupuncturist specializing in women's fertility, "Chinese medical treatments promote harmony and provide both gentle healing and deep nourishing energy." She says the needle stimulation "helps restore the normal balance and flow of Chi so organs and bodily systems can work in harmony."
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