We sought to evaluate evidence for the benefits and risks of acupuncture, magnets, reflexology, and homeopathy for menopause-related symptoms. Search strategies included electronic searches of online databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, Medline), direct searches of target journals, and citation-index searches. A total of 12 intervention studies were identified for review. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments resulted in few side effects. The design, study populations, and findings across acupuncture studies varied. In uncontrolled studies, acupuncture improved subjective measures of hot flash frequency and vasomotor, somatic, physical, and psychological symptoms; however, improvements were not consistent. Controlled studies of acupuncture yielded even less consistent findings. Overall, controlled studies of acupuncture did not reliably improve hot flashes, sleep disturbances, or mood when compared with nonspecific acupuncture, estrogen therapy, or superficial needling. Homeopathy significantly improved subjective measures of hot flash frequency and severity, mood, fatigue, and anxiety in uncontrolled, open-label studies. Controlled studies of magnets and reflexology failed to demonstrate any increased benefit of treatment over placebo. There is a need for additional investigations of acupuncture and homeopathy for the treatment of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. However, existing evidence does not indicate a beneficial effect of magnets or reflexology in the treatment of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Understanding whether, for whom, and how these interventions work is crucial to building the evidence base needed to evaluate any potential for these CAM therapies in the management of menopause-related symptoms.
- Hot flashes
ASJC Scopus subject areas