Otte, J. L., Carpenter, J. S., Zhong, X., & Johnstone, P. A. (2011). Feasibility study of acupuncture for reducing sleep disturbances and hot flashes in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 25, 228–236.doi: 10.1097/NUR.0b013e318229950b
To evaluate the feasibility of acupuncture as a treatment for concurrent hot flashes (HFs) and sleep disturbances.
Patients were included if they
The study used a quasiexperimental, single-group, nonrandomized design.
Ten breast cancer survivors (BSCs) completed baseline, and two withdrew after the last baseline assessment. The remaining eight BSCs completed all time points. There was no significant difference among acupuncture points used per patient for the three treatments or the four providers. Sessions were mainly conducted at a single clinic. The study described patients as having high outcome expectations for acupuncture effectiveness and its acceptability. Sleep patterns were affected: sleep latency increased and time spent awake after sleep onset decreased. The average number of HFs decreased.
Expectations for and credibility and acceptability of acupuncture in managing vasomotor and sleep symptoms were high for the BSCs.The study demonstrated minimal improvement in total sleep time and some sleep latency improvement immediately following completion of acupuncture sessions but not at week 8 (not a sustainable effect); waking after sleep onset improved.
The study showed that women may be amenable, especially highly motivated women, to pursuing acupuncture as a nonpharmacological approach to managing HFs. Further investigations with larger sample sizes are needed to note if there are any correlations with socioeconomic/cultural influences for the acceptability of acupuncture and to compare acupuncture to another intervention for the control of HFs/sleep quality.