A Yale University/University of Pittsburg study of women with hot flashes due to conventional breast cancer treatment reveals that women receiving acupuncture have less hot flashes. The randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial collected data “in the National Institutes of Health funded General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) associated with Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH). The study was approved by the Yale University Institutional Review Board (IRB). Interviews, acupuncture treatments, educational sessions, and laboratory test specimen collection for all study participants took place at the GCRC.”
The researchers measured a 30 percent reduction of hot flashes for women receiving acupuncture. The women received traditional acupuncture points indicated for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms including acupuncture points for sleep distubances, loss of concentration, pain, headaches, and anxiety. They received a total of eight, 20-30 minute, acupuncture treatments over a period of 12 weeks. The first four acupuncture visits were administered once per week and then once every other week following.
In most cases, the use of the chemotherapy agent tamoxifen initially caused or intensified hot flashes. Other hormonal agents also caused the hot flashes. The study shows that acupuncture is an appropriate treatment protocol for women receiving chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer. The study also measured physical improvements for women receiving acupuncture over the control group, “There was a significant difference in the average physical quality of life scores from Week 1 to Week 11 in the Acupuncture Specific treatment group. This indicates the acupuncture treatment had an impact on physical symptoms separate from hot flashes.”
Cohen Su M, Rousseau Ma E, Berg Ju A, Jolivet Ri , Dixon Ly , Vulte Je , Kern II Jo . Menopausal Symptom Management With Acupuncture For Women With Breast Cancer . WebmedCentral ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE 2011;2(2):WMC001544.