I am 48 years old and have been experiencing menopause symptoms for about a year. For the last three months I have been seeing an acupuncturist/herbalist born, raised and trained in China, I have seen her every week even two ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ three times a week and taking prescribed herbs 3 times a day. During this period I have gone through periods where the hot flashes were some times better and some times worse. I am currently going through a worse period again. I am starting to question if I am just wasting my time and my money and if I must simply endure this for the next several years. It is starting to strain me financially . Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
The symptoms of menopause are generally well treated with Acupuncture. My section on the subject is here.
It is difficult to offer a precise response to your question as the prognosis for the treatment of menopausal symptoms will vary depending on your particular diagnosis and the overall balance of your body. I can offer some general impressions/opinions, however.
First, the fact that a practitioner was trained in China has no bearing on the treatment efficacy. I point this out only to raise awareness to a somewhat common assumption that people have about Chinese practitioners. The training that practitioners in the US and other countries have is extensive and generally of high quality and there are just as many excellent western practitioners as those who were trained in China - and just as many of both backgrounds that have poorer results. Acupuncture, is both a science and an art form and you will get different results from different practitioners.
With regards to how often you are seeing your acupuncturist, there are some major theoretical differences among practitioners regarding treatment frequency. I, and most of my colleagues, rarely treat patients more than once a week for any condition outside of an acute trauma. We do this as the goal of acupuncture is not to "manage" a condition but to balance the body to the point where you no longer need treatments. Western medicines, herbal medicines, and frequent acupuncture all have the potential to give something to the body to balance it, but not "force" it to do it on it's own. Given a push in the right direction the body will often regulate and hold the changes but given constant stimulus it is less likely (arguably, but our opinion nonetheless) to fully regulate as there is less of a need.
When I treat patients with any condition I will generally treat weekly until the symptoms improve and then go to bi-weekly to see if it holds and then if it does perhaps monthly or even quarterly, or ideally, not until the symptoms re-occur if that happens at all.
While acupuncture is not a cure all and some people/conditions respond better than others, you should have fairly significant changes in your system within the first 8-12 treatments at the most. For menopause, if you are not getting lasting results from the treatment and you have been treated weekly for 3 months it is time to find another practitioner.
Certainly, with exercise, diet, and relaxation techniques you may be able to go through menopause without too much inconvenience, but acupuncture is very helpful and you should be getting lasting results from the treatments, especially if you have gone for some time.