Acupuncture Alternative For Women With Menopause

Acupuncture offers a viable alternative for managing menopause symptoms by balancing yin and yang in the body, presenting a safer option compared to hormone replacement therapy.

Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life characterized by decreased hormone production, cessation of menstruation, and the end of egg production. Typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, this transition often brings symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irregular periods, and sexual disorders.

Historically, women have turned to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate these symptoms. However, recent studies have shown that HRT may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Consequently, many women are exploring alternative therapies, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and natural dietary supplements.

Introduction to Acupuncture

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been integral to Chinese healthcare for over 3,000 years. Modern Chinese hospitals combine Oriental and Western medicine, a trend increasingly adopted in the United States.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) highlights that acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system by releasing endorphins—biochemicals that alleviate pain and regulate blood pressure, blood flow, and brain chemicals.

Theoretical Foundations of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is grounded in two major theories: yin/yang theory and five element theory.

  • Yin/Yang Theory: This theory emphasizes balance within the body. Health is maintained when yin (the less active, darker, cold, and quiet component) and yang (the more active, lighter, hot, and aggressive component) are in equilibrium. Imbalances lead to illness, manifesting as various symptoms.
  • Five Element Theory: This theory relates to the balance of organs within the body, viewing the body as an interconnected whole. Imbalances among organs can affect overall health.

Acupuncture and Menopause

In menopausal women, symptoms often arise from a low level of yin within the kidney system. Since yin is associated with cold and inactivity, a deficiency compared to yang leads to symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Treatment of Menopause with Acupuncture

The primary goal of acupuncture and herbal medicine in treating menopause is to restore balance between yin and yang by increasing the yin component. Strengthening the yin component alleviates symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. Nutritional and herbal supplements can also be used alongside acupuncture to help achieve this balance.

A recent review at the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine examined the outcomes of 7 women aged 43 to 57 who received acupuncture treatments for menopause symptoms. Treatments ranged from one to two times per week, supplemented with herbal remedies. The women reported improvements in symptoms such as irritability, low energy, hot flashes, insomnia, dry mouth, depression, night sweats, and anxiety. Of the 7 patients, 5 noticed significant improvements, 1 noticed slight improvement, and 1 experienced complete symptom relief and continued treatment for maintenance and prevention.

Acupuncture offers a promising alternative for managing menopausal symptoms by rebalancing yin and yang within the body. As new research and clinical studies continue to explore alternative treatments, women should consult with their physicians before starting any new therapies. For more information, please contact the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.


  1. What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? NCCAM Publication No D156, May 2002.
  2. Unpublished Research Project, American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, 2004.

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