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Acupuncture may ease hot flushes

THE ancient therapy of acupuncture, practised for more than 2000 years, could be the answer for many women experiencing debilitating hot flushes, researchers say.

Around two million Australian women are going through or approaching menopause, and many are experiencing hot flushes that interfere with their daily lives.

With some women seeking alternatives to HRT, an Australian study is leading the way in finding suitable safe and effective alternative treatments.

Following promising results from two smaller trials, Acupause is the world's largest study of menopausal women trialling acupuncture for the treatment of hot flushes.

Acupause is a joint trial by the University of Melbourne, Jean Hailes for Women's Health, Monash University, RMIT University and Southern Cross University.

Trial coordinator Dr Carolyn Ee began the study after successfully treating menopausal women in her clinic with acupuncture.

"Acupuncture is a very safe treatment," Dr Ee said.

"We are excited because this study is likely to show whether or not acupuncture is an effective treatment for hot flushes."

Already, almost 200 women have joined the study, and researchers are seeking more women to take part in the trial.

It involves keeping a diary of hot flushes over seven days at various points of the trial, as well as attending 10 acupuncture sessions at locations across Australia (including metropolitan Melbourne, Melton, Mornington, Echuca in Victoria, Ballina-Byron in NSW and Southport on the Gold Coast).

The acupuncture treatment may be real or placebo treatment.

There are some promising early signs from women who have already participated.

Preliminary evidence from earlier smaller trials has shown that acupuncture may be helpful, particularly for hot flushes and night sweats.

For details of the study and how to join, go to: http://www.jeanhailes.org.au/research/open-projects/1265-acupuncture-for-hot-flushes-acupause

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