The Journal of the National Cancer Institute in September 2013 has revealed that HRT increases the risk of breast cancer by 24%. The purpose of prescribing HRT is to prevent heart disease and strengthen bones as post-menopausal women can suffer from brittle and weak bones.
Unfortunately the research confirmed that HRT did not reduce heart attack risk but in fact actually increased the risk of stroke. The research involved analysis of over one million mammograms and reviewing nearly ten thousand patients with cancer.
Can acupuncture help with the symptoms of menopause?
With this in mind, acupuncture seems like a good choice to treat menopause instead of taking HRT.
The first ever written record of any treatment that could treat the symptoms of menopause were from Chinese medical texts dating back hundreds of years. These same treatments are still be used today.
The menopause symptoms of hot flashes and depression can be treated with acupuncture
In addition, Chinese medicine has undergone extensive research in China and in the West over the last 50 years and there are studies on acupuncture and Chinese herbs treating for example, hot flashes.
Many women report increased anxiety or feel depressed when menopause starts and acupuncture is also useful to address these symptoms.
Why did traditional acupuncturists treat the kidneys to treat menopause?
Traditional Chinese medical theory views that the kidneys have a role in controlling the reproductive system and the kidneys also control the bones. Think of the connection between the kidneys and urinary organs and hence the reproductive organs and you will understand why ancient Chinese physicians equated the kidneys with reproduction and the modern concept of hormones. In addition, modern medicine views that the kidneys have an important function with calcium metabolism as it processes vitamin D into calcitriol. Over two thousand years ago Chinese acupuncture physicians used to influence and strengthen bones via treating the kidneys.
Are Chinese herbs used to help menopause?
Some Chinese herbs like xu duan and gu sui bu have been used traditionally improve kidney energy and strengthen bones yet these herbs contain no calcium in their constituents. From a modern medicine perspective, this may be because these herbs treat the mechanism of calcium metabolism and hence benefit the bones.
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre in Wellington says “There is more and more research being done with acupuncture and women’s problems and the research is not just limited to fertility enhancement. Menopause is one such research topic, and there are many women who do not want to take HRT“.
Acupuncture NZ has over 600 practitioners throughout New Zealand.