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Acupuncture eases symptoms of menopause

The jury is in for women in menopause: in a meta-analysis of all existing research on the topic, acupuncture reduces the frequency and severity of hot flashes and improves other menopause symptoms, as well as increasing the quality of life during “the change.”

A common criticism of acupuncture studies is that they are too small, so when they find a significant effect of the treatment, they can be written off as “bad science.” Never mind that many clinical trials of pharmaceuticals are also flawed by not including enough patients—now that enough smaller studies of acupuncture have been conducted, by combining their results we are finally beginning to see conclusive evidence that this method works.

In the latest meta-analysis of acupuncture for menopause, researchers assessed over 100 studies that have investigated the subject, and identified 12 studies—involving 869 participants—that met their standards for the quality of the experiments.

The data from these 12 studies were analyzed together for even more statistical power, and their results are striking. Acupuncture led to a significant improvement in hot flashes among women in menopause and, based on study participants’ answers to questionnaires, also improved their psychological, physical and urogenital symptoms and quality of life.

(Source: Menopause, 2014; DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000260 [link])

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