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Acupuncture Helps Hot Flashes

Posted 12/31/2013

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  From Wiley Reports, comes this short article about the value of "real" or sham acupuncture in reducing hot flashes experienced by women taking an AI. The study was done at the University of Maryland and indicates that both modalities can be helpful.

  In and of itself, that is interesting and potentially useful information. What I find more intriguing is that both treatments were helpful. "Sham" acupuncture apparently refers to treatment when the needles are not actually inserted. The short discussion suggests that this other type likely carries a benefit that is less well understood but real. I am surprised that the article does not include comments about a possible placebo effect that we know is intense in many situations.

  Here it is:

Breast Cancer Patients Experience Fewer Side Effects from Anticancer Drug When Receiving Either Real or Sham Acupuncture

A new analysis has found that both real and sham acupuncture treatments may help alleviate side effects of drugs
commonly used to treat breast cancer. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American
Cancer Society, the findings may help clinicians improve care for cancer patients. The results also raise the question of whether sham acupuncture is truly inert or may, like real acupuncture, have beneficial effects.


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