Acupuncture and Chinese herbs treat menopausal symptoms hot flashes

Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, a red face in the afternoon, night sweats, insomnia, heart palpitations, PMS, headache, vaginal atrophy, and vaginal dryness. Other symptoms that might relate to menopause include mood changes, nervousness, stress, anxiety, irritability, poor memory, incontinence, lowered libido, fatigue, weight gain, and pain.

Currently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the principal and most commonly utilized treatment for menopause. Hormonal replacement therapy helps many women with the symptoms of menopause. However, recent studies have found that there may be increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and uterine bleeding or other health problems when women receive hormone replacement therapy over a longer period of time. Even with these risks, the desired results are not guaranteed – some women have taken hormone replacement therapy for years without substantial improvement of the symptoms. Under these conditions, hormone replacement therapies are not beneficial, and could cause negative side effects. Fortunately, women in the United States have access to acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment options that control menopausal symptoms, without the negative side effects.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used to treat menopausal symptoms for thousands of years. Commonly used individual herbs include Dang Gui (Angelica), Shan Yao (Chinese yam), Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia), Bai Shao Yao (Paeonia), and Huang Bai (Phellodendron), among others. They are often used for menopause, irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and infertility in Chinese medicine. There are also many effective formulas for menopausal symptoms, including Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, Dang Gui Liu Huang Wan, and Xiao Yao San.

These formulas were devised two thousand years ago and are still used today. Well-defined acupuncture protocols have also been developed during both the remote and recent history of Chinese medicine, and are used in combination with Chinese herbs to relieve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.

In addition to traditional acupuncture protocols, new techniques such as electric-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture are often employed for different conditions, and have proven effective for menopausal symptoms.

Today, most Chinese women who have menopausal symptoms first seek help from acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Since the 1960’s, clinical research in China has shown extremely positive results that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine together are effective treatments for menopausal symptoms.

Clinical researchers have reported that many women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms – even if they have undergone the treatment for a longer period of time – can stop hormone replacement therapy with the help of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and see improvement in their symptoms.

Current studies on acupuncture treatment of menopausal symptoms in the United States and Europe also show extremely positive results.

Generally, most women with menopausal symptoms who benefit from acupuncture and Chinese medicine first see improvements in emotional problems after two to three treatments. Subsequently, hot flashes and night sweats could be reduced after five to six treatments. Ultimately, the majority of symptoms improve after ten to twelve treatments.

Women who used hormone replacement therapy were able to decrease the dosage after five to six treatments, accompanied with improved relief of hot flashes and night sweats, and were able to stop hormone therapy entirely after about ten treatments, coinciding with the disappearance of hot flashes. In general, a few more sessions of treatment are necessary after the reduction of menopausal symptoms in order to maintain lasting results.


Dr. Yang has treated menopausal symptoms for years using acupuncture and Chinese herbal formals. He has treated women on hormone replacement therapy, including patients who had undergone HRT for over ten years without the termination of obvious menopausal symptom like hot flashes, night sweats, poor sleep, and emotional problems. These conditions were improved, or symptoms were relieved, by using special techniques such as electric-acupuncture, auricular acupuncture and a combination of specific Chinese herbal formulas according to different conditions.

A 64-year-old female came to my clinic to improve her menopausal symptoms. She was referred by a lady who had help for the same problems with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. She suffered from hot flashes and vaginal burning pain with dryness for 20 years. She was diagnosed with menopause and used hormone replacement therapy for 15 years. The hormone replacement therapy reduced hot flashes and vaginal burning pain with dryness, but severe hot flashes recurred after stopping the hormone replacement therapy for one year due to appearance of nodules in her right breast. She had alternating chills and hot flashes. Chills usually occurred first, then hot flashes with sweating; the hot flashes lasted longer than the chills. She often had rashes on her face; these symptoms worsened in the afternoons and nights. She had sleep issues: difficulty getting to sleep, woke up about every hour or two and difficulty getting back to sleep. Therefore, she always felt fatigued in the morning. She had body weakness, stress, anxiety, nervousness, was overthinking with a hyperactive mind. She had vaginal burning with dryness and painful intercourse, but her libido was normal. Her appetite was normal and had one bowel movement a day with normal urination. She didn’t have pain in her neck, back or abdomen. The nodules in her right breast dispelled after stopping hormone replacement therapy. Her menstruation ended at age 49. She was thin, had dry skin and rashes with an oily facial complexion. Her tongue body was thin and small with a pale red color and teeth marks on the edges and a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was thin, weak and wiry; pulse rate was 70; her BP was 130/80mmHg. Her face, arms, hands and legs were warm to the touch. Ears Pressure Test to points corresponding to the brain, neck, waist, sacral and shenmen generated significant pain at a level of 7-8/10.

Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were Kidney yin deficiencywith disharmony in yin and yang, and shen disorders. The treatment principle was to tonify Kidney yin, harmonize the yin and yang, and calm the shen to help her sleep. Electric acupuncture points included DU20, Yintang, RN12, 14; manual acupuncture points included LI4, 11, SP6, ST36, KI3, LV3 and GB24. Acupuncture treatment was administered 15 minutes twice a week. The ear points included Brain, Zigong, Shenmen, etc. The Chinese herbal formula included Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Dang Gui, Bai Shao, Zhi Mu, Huang Bai, Gui Zhi, Niu Zhen Zi, Sheng Di Huang, Xuan Shen, Mu Dan Pi and Mu Li. It was 50g of herbal powder prescribed for one week to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per time and mixed with about 2-3 oz. warm water. A Chinese herbal formula was provided to be mixed with water to wash or soak in the local genital and vulva area twice a day. This externally used herbal formula included Ku Shen, Huang Bai, Bai Xian Pi and Bing Pian, etc.

After a few weeks of treatments, she reported improvement of chills and hot flashes. The acupuncture treatment was reduced to once a week and added point PC6. The oral Chinese herbal formula was modified and included Xuan Shen, Dang Gui, Bai Shao, Zhi Mu, Huang Bai, Niu Zhen Zi, Sheng Di Huang Mu Dan Pi, Mu Li, Suan Zao Ren, Fu Ling, Yin Chai Hu and Qing Hao. The external herbal formula remained the same. After a few weeks of treatment, she reported great improvement of hot flash symptoms, sleep, and fatigue and nervousness; the vaginal burning sensation decreased, etc. Treatments for follow up visits modified some points for acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to progression of patient.

After a few months treatment most of her symptoms improved such as hot flashes, warm body and night sweats. She could good sleep night, waking up only one to two times and go back to sleep again. Vaginal burning with dryness was gone. Pain during sexual intercourse lessened greatly. She asked for a Chinese herbal formula to last six weeks while vacationing in the North. Six weeks later she called from vacationing in the North to report that she still felt great and no more symptoms of menopause. She changed her appointment.