The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.

Research table: Acupuncture for relief of menopausal symptoms

This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, to get the most out of the tables, it’s important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.

Introduction: Acupuncture uses small needles to apply pressure to specific points on the body.

Small randomized controlled trials have studied acupuncture and relief from hot flashes in women who’ve had breast cancer and in women who’ve never been diagnosed with any cancer. In these studies, women were randomly assigned to get true acupuncture or sham (fake) acupuncture. With sham acupuncture, the needles are placed at non-acupuncture points on the body.

Study findings on acupuncture for hot flashes are mixed. Some studies have shown acupuncture reduces hot flashes more than a sham treatment, while others have found no difference between the two.

Learn more about acupuncture.

Learn more about ways to treat menopausal symptoms.

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies.

Study selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials comparing true acupuncture with sham acupuncture with at least 70 participants and meta-analyses.

Table note: Relative risk above 1 indicates increased risk. Relative risk below 1 indicates decreased risk.


Study Population
(number of participants)

Treatment Duration

True Acupuncture
Reduced Hot Flashes
Better Than
Sham Acupuncture?

Randomized controlled trials

Ee et al. [1]

women never diagnosed with cancer

8 weeks


Vincent et al. [2]

women never diagnosed with cancer

5 weeks


de Luca et al. [3]

women never diagnosed with cancer

18 months


Liljegren et al. [4]

women who’ve had breast cancer

5 weeks


Deng et al. [5]

women who’ve had breast cancer

4 weeks



Dodin et al. [6]

8 studies



Chiu et al. [7]

8 studies



Li et al. [8]

3 studies




  1. Ee C, Xue C, Chondros P, et al. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flashes: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 164(3):146-54, 2016.
  2. Vincent A, Barton DL, Mandrekar JN, et al. Acupuncture for hot flashes: a randomized, sham-controlled clinical study. Menopause. 14(1):45-52, 2007.
  3. de Luca AC, da Fonseca AM, Lopes CM, Bagnoli VR, Soares JM, Baracat EC. Acupuncture-ameliorated menopausal symptoms: single-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Climacteric. 14(1):140-5, 2011.
  4. Liljegren A, Gunnarsson P, Landgren BM, Robéus N, Johansson H, Rotstein S. Reducing vasomotor symptoms with acupuncture in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen: a randomized controlled trial. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 135(3):791-8, 2012.
  5. Deng G, Vickers A, Yeung S, et al. Randomized, controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 25(35):5584-90, 2007.
  6. Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I, et al. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 7:CD007410, 2013.
  7. Chiu HY, Pan CH, Shyu YK, Han BC, Tsai PS. Effects of acupuncture on menopause-related symptoms and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause. 22(2):234-44, 2015. 
  8. Li H, Schlaeger JM, Jang MK, et al. Acupuncture improves multiple treatment-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 27(12):1084-1097, 2021.

Updated 04/19/23