Two studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology show that acupuncture can profoundly affect hot flashes associated with breast cancer both while undergoing treatment and those enduring them after completion of therapy.
A 2015 University of Pennsylvania study of 120 breast cancer survivors experiencing at least two episodes of hot flashes daily compared acupuncture, placebo, the medication Gabapentin, and “sham” acupuncture. Over the eight weeks of treatment and the twenty-four weeks following, the acupuncture group had the most profound reduction in hot flashes, even sixteen weeks after the last treatment
In Italy, a 2016 study from Ospedale di Carpi (Carpi Hospital) looked at 190 patients suffering from hot flashes. One group received ten weekly acupuncture treatments, and both groups received a three-month regimen of self-care diet, exercise advice, and psychological support. The acupuncture group experienced a 50% reduction in hot flash scores, with the improvement lasting for the six months of the study. The acupuncture group also had improved quality of life in both their physical and mental state.
A Memorial Sloan Kettering study published in the journal Menopause compared the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture as opposed to the medication Gabapentin for sleep disturbances in breast cancer survivors with hot flashes. The acupuncture group experienced better sleep in both the time it takes to fall asleep, time to return to sleep, and the amount of time sleeping.
It is still fascinating for me to see how easily acupuncture can enhance our overall healthcare experience and its profound impact on our broader system of medical care. Positive change is always fun and paying attention to it adds more optimism to each day!
In addition to helping women with breast cancer treatment side effects, research also demonstrates how acupuncture relieves hot flashes associated with menopause. You can read more about by reading our Acupuncture Relieves Hot Flashes article.