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Menopause Relief Through Alternative Medicine

Menopause is a natural part of life, bringing with it the eventual end of ovulation, menstruation cramps, and more. Unfortunately, before the end, comes an entire new list of symptoms which can cause a negative impact on the life of women around the world. The research for menopause relief is ongoing, with many improvements found regularly.

One of the more popular methods of symptom relief which has begun to find greater footing over the past decade is that of alternative medicine, particularly acupuncture. Before you turn up your nose at the practice, it’s prudent to look at recent research and see the results which the scientific community has presented in regards to how this method of relief works on menopause sufferers. The British Acupuncture Council states: “Women seeking acupuncture for relief of symptoms associated with the menopause may suffer from a variety of symptoms that may present in a configuration that is unique to them. One of the strengths of acupuncture is in the tailoring of treatment to that unique individual. However, it also makes for difficulties when designing studies to examine its effectiveness.”

Before pinpointing the overall effectiveness of acupuncture as a tool against menopause symptoms, however, you must first understand the basics of the treatment.

Understanding Acupuncture

Acupuncture first appeared in roughly 100BCE, although some historians believe that bone and stone instruments dating back before this time may also have been used for the same purposes. The practice involves the insertion of tiny needles at different points along the body to produce pain relief. Recently, the needles are thought to help with more than pain alone, and have been applied to women undergoing menopause as well to decrease symptoms and make everyday life easier.

Acupuncture is considered a safe practice, as long as it is being administered by a trained professional. If the needles are inserted improperly, there is always a chance of a pierced nerve, which could cause semi-permanent or permanent damage.

Clinics offering acupuncture offer relief from a number of maladies, including morning sickness, joint pain, muscle stiffness, and even infertility. Many men and women swear by the practice and receive ongoing treatments at regular intervals.

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause occurs in women between the ages of 45 to 56, although it can appear earlier or later depending on physicality and hormone levels. During this time the women stops producing eggs, and may undergo a number of different symptoms, such as muscle fatigue, irritability, memory loss, hot flashes, and restless leg syndrome.

The cause of these symptoms is thought to be hormonal, and there are some medicinal treatments available to prevent them. In some cases, medicinal treatments are not safe due to cancer risks, and therefore alternative practices are sought out. When herbal remedies fail, many women turn to acupuncture and other forms of healing to get the job done.

New Studies

To provide support for menopause sufferers considering acupuncture as a method of symptom management, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center performed a study which found that hot flashes were significantly lowered during acupuncture, and continued to remain lessened for as long as six months after the treatments stopped. Medical News Today reports: “For their study, Prof. Avis and colleagues recruited 209 women aged 45-60 who had not had a period for at least 3 months and who were having, on average, at least four hot flashes or night sweats per 24-hour period in the previous 2 weeks.”

These participants underwent acupuncture at different intervals to determine whether or not the frequency of hot flashes lessened during treatment. The findings showed that there was more than a 36% drop in the symptoms during treatment compared to those who didn’t use acupuncture.

Other Natural Methods Of Management

Acupuncture may seem promising through the publication of data offered by the scientific world, but it still isn’t a practice for all women. Other natural methods which have become popular include yoga, breathing exercises, and botanicals. Herbal remedies have been around for centuries, so it should come as no shock that women are now turning to these botanicals as a form of relief. Web MD explains: “Botanicals are medicines that are derived from plants. They have been used for centuries by "folk healers" and are the foundation for nearly half of prescription drugs used today. Botanicals are sold in the form of herbs and nutritional supplements and make up a large part of alternative medicine therapies.”

One such botanical being used frequently is called black cohosh. It is an herb, which has a root used in a number of medicinal devices. It has been known to provide similar effects to that of estrogen, aiding in everything from hot flashes to menstrual cramps.

Soy based products, flax seeds, and vitamin E are also used to fight a number of the recurring traits associated with menopause. Applied directly to the skin, taken as a tincture, or swallowed as a supplement, these natural remedies can relieve negative symptoms and give you back the ability to carry on with everyday life. Whether hot flashes are keeping you from sleeping, or irritability is making it difficult to continue work relationships, there are ways to find normalcy again.

Before taking black cohosh, or any other herbal remedy, be sure to consult with your doctor. While many of these alternative medicines are safe for use, some medical conditions may prohibit them from daily routine. Your physician will be able to go through the properties of each treatment and show you the best method for your medical needs.

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