Research from the USA suggests that acupuncture can lead to a significant reduction in vasomotor symptoms (VMS) in menopausal women. In a pragmatic randomised trial, 209 menopausal women were randomised to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within the first six months (acupuncture group) or the second six months (wait-list control group) of the 12-month study period. VMS frequency was found to have declined by 36.7% at six months in the acupuncture group and increased by 6% in the control group. At 12 months, the reduction in VMS from baseline in the acupuncture group was 29.4%, suggesting that the treatment effect was maintained. Statistically significant clinical improvement was observed after three acupuncture treatments, and maximal clinical effects occurred after a median of eight treatments. Persistent improvements were also seen in many quality of life-related outcomes in the acupuncture group relative to the control group. Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) study: a pragmatic, randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2016 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print].
In contrast, an Australian study found that standardised acupuncture was not superior to sham for women with moderately severe menopausal hot flushes (HFs). Three hundred and twenty seven women experiencing at least seven moderate HFs daily, who met criteria for the Chinese medicine diagnosis of Kidney yin deficiency, were randomly assigned to either standardised TCM acupuncture designed to treat Kidney yin deficiency or non-insertive sham acupuncture at non-acupoints. At the end of eight weeks of treatment (10 treatments), mean HF scores were 15.36 in the acupuncture group and 15.04 in the sham group. Acupuncture for Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2016 Feb 2;164(3):146-54. doi: 10.7326/M15-1380.