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Moxibustion for treating menopausal hot flashes: a randomized clinical trial

Park, Ji-Eun RN, BSc1; Lee, Myeong Soo PhD1; Jung, Soyoung BSc1; Kim, Aeran BSc1; Kang, Kyungwon MS1; Choi, Junyong OMD, MS1; Park, Jongbae KMD, PhD2; Choi, Sun-Mi OMD, PhD1

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318198cdf7

Objective: A hot flash is a general postmenopausal symptom experienced by approximately 75% of climacteric women. Women often turn to complementary and alternative medicines to relieve hot flashes. Moxibustion is one such medication. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of moxibustion on hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.

Methods: Fifty-one participants were randomly assigned into three groups, namely, moxibustion 1, moxibustion 2, and waiting list (control). The moxibustion groups received 14 sessions of moxibustion treatment for 4 weeks at acupuncture points. Our protocol was supported by evidence from clinical experts (Moxa 1) or published literature (Moxa 2), and we followed all participants for an additional 2 weeks after the end of the study. Our primary outcome measures were frequency and severity of hot flashes. Secondary outcome parameters included quality of life (Menopausal-Specific Quality of Life Scale) and Menopause Rating Scale.

Results: Fifty-one women participated in our study. By week 4, the difference in severity and frequency of hot flashes had become statistically significant between the treatment groups and the control participants. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference in Menopausal-Specific Quality of Life Scale scores between treatment group 2 and the other groups.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that moxibustion reduces both the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes as compared with those in control participants. We would recommend further studies with larger samples and possibly including placebo controls.

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese method that uses the heat generated by burning herbal preparations containing Artemisia vulgaris to stimulate acupuncture points. In this study, 4 weeks of moxibustion treatment reduced both the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes.

From the 1Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea; and 2Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

Received October 21, 2008; revised and accepted December 2, 2008.

Funding/support: This study was supported by the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (K08010).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Sun-Mi Choi, OMD, PhD, Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Deajeon 305-811, South Korea. E-mail:

©2009The North American Menopause Society