Real or Sham Acupuncture Fails in Hot Flash Study
Written by Editor   
Monday, March 07, 2016 12:00 AM

Real acupuncture treatments were not superior to "sham acupuncture" (non-insertive treatments) in controlling hot flashes in menopausal women, a small randomized trial in Australia found.

However, both groups did show an approximately 40% decrease baseline hot flash score at the end of treatment, which was durable when checked again at 3 and 6 months, the authors wrote.  Moreover, mean hot flash scores were slightly lower in the sham acupuncture group compared to the regular group (15.04 versus 15.36), the difference was not statistically significant.

The researcher said that she was not surprised at the findings, which suggest patients with vasomotor symptoms, or hot flashes, may benefit from regular interaction with an empathic therapist.

These findings allow clinicians to reassure patients that hot flashes do get better with time, even with a sham treatment that has minor physiological effects.

"The effects of acupuncture for improving hot flushes are unrelated to needling, and women should be informed of this if they ask about its efficacy as a hot [flash] treatment," she said.