New York: Acupuncture may help reduce the severity of hot flashes -- a typical symptom of menopause -- in nearly 50 per cent of women, a study has found.
Acupuncture is a system of alternative medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points along what are considered to be lines of energy (meridians), used in the treatment of various physical and mental conditions.
"Women bothered by hot flashes and night sweats may want to give acupuncture a try as a relatively low-cost, low-risk treatment," said lead author Nancy Avis, Professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, US.
For the study, the team included 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged between 45 to 60 who had on average at least four hot flashes or night sweats per day.
These women were further randomised to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within six months or to a control group.
"Women who had a reduction in their hot flashes saw a benefit beginning after about three to four weeks of weekly treatments," Avis added.
Of the 170 women who received acupuncture, a small group of women (11.9 per cent) had an 85 per cent reduction in hot flashes by the eighth week of the study, Avis said.
Forty-seven per cent of the study group reported a 47 per cent reduction over this same time frame.
However, 37 per cent showed only a minimal reduction of 9.6 per cent in frequency of hot flashes, while 4 per cent reported a 100 per cent increase in hot flashes, the researchers concluded in the paper published in the journal Menopause.