Hot Flushes…don’t sweat it!!


So many women (up to 50%) suffer with hot flushes, these are usually attributed to the changes that our bodies go thru when we reach menopausal age.

What causes them?

Changes in hormone levels (increased Gonadotropins) can cause night sweats and day time hot flushes in addition to other unwanted side effects such as disturbed sleep, depression and headaches. Not much is actually understood about the aetiology of hot flushes, Western medicine believes that an increase in Gonadotropins is to blame. These are vital to the normal function of our endocrine system which is responsible for growth, sexual development and our reproduction functions.

There are other explanations which involve the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls temperature. It is thought that when hormone levels drop, as part of the menopause, the hypothalamus wrongly thinks you are too hot sending more blood to the skin and causing the body to sweat to cool the skin down!!

What does TCM think?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine we look at these symptoms slightly differently, whilst acknowledging that this decline in the bodies resources is a natural part of a women’s life. The bodies energy (Qi) and Blood are no longer needed to power reproduction and instead are concentrated on maintaining vitality into later life, this can sometime cause an imbalance which needs assistance to right itself.

Of the systems involved the Kidneys are of greatest importance, these are responsible for a great many things in Chinese medicine, such as;

Storing Jing (this the original Qi) controls birth, development, reproduction and growth

Produces marrow and Rules the bones

Rule Water and Water metabolism

Is the residence of willpower

Therefore when problems with menopause start it’s usually rooted in a Kidney Deficiency issue. By strengthening the Kidneys we can restore balance and reduce the number and the severity of many symptoms. The Kidneys have a cooling and nourishing action, and therefore help with symptoms such as dry skin and hot flushes. They also ‘rule the bones’ so it is vital to keep the Kidneys strong to ensure bone health and reduce the likelihood of early osteoporosis.

Another area which acupuncture can help greatly with is emotional wellbeing. During a significant time of change many women experience mood swings, stress and disturbed sleep patterns. Most people find acupuncture a very relaxing experience and treatments can be tailored to encompass all of the individual symptoms that a women might be feeling.

What else can you do to help?

Other ways to help are ensuring you have a healthy balanced diet and not to eat too much cold or raw food. One very good thing to try is Bone Broth, this old fashioned recipe can be found in many cultures, it has a strengthening and nourishing effect on a number of the key systems – Kidneys, Liver, Lungs and Spleen. You can find out more about this and the recipe here on my website;

It is also important not to over exert yourself, exercise is beneficial but do not over do it! Get plenty of rest and keep well hydrated.

If you would like to find out whether acupuncture can help you, call me for an informal chat on 07794 844196 or email me at

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