Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Menopause Health Center

Font Size

Meditation May Cool Hot Flashes

Stress-Management Program Cut Number and Severity of Menopausal Hot Flashes in Study

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 13, 2006 -- Easing stress through meditation may help turn down the heat of hot flashes caused by menopause.

A small new study shows that menopausal women who participated in a stress reduction program that included meditation experienced significant relief from hot flashes and improved their quality of life.

Hot flashes and night sweats affect most women at some point during menopause. Researchers say that in many cases, women regard them as little more than a nuisance. However, 10% to 20% report experiencing hot flashes that cause considerable distress and seriously disrupt their lives.

Alternative Treatment for Hot Flashes

About one-third of menopausal women seek treatment for hot flashes.

Until recently, the standard treatment was hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But in the wake of studies suggesting HRT can raise the risk of heart diseaseheart disease and breast cancerbreast cancer in some women, it is only recommended for short-term use, and alternative therapies are becoming increasingly popular.

In the study, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, researchers evaluated the effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program on hot flash severity and quality of life in 15 menopausal women (average age: 53.6) experiencing an average of at least seven moderate to severe hot flashes per day.

The women kept a diary of their hot flashes during the seven-week stress-reduction program and the four weeks immediately after.

The stress-reduction program consisted of eight weekly 2 1/2 hour classes over seven weeks, during which the women received training in the following:

  • Body scan meditation: a gradual moving of attention over the body from feet to head to bring awareness of bodily sensations, done while lying on the back.
  • Sitting meditation: focusing on the flow of breathing and other bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions while sitting upright.
  • Mindful stretching: exercises designed to develop awareness during movement.

The women also received two guided meditation compact discs to practice at home for 45 minutes, six days a week.

Meditation Eases Menopausal Symptoms

The frequency of the women's hot flashes decreased by an average of 39%, the study found.

In addition, the average severity of the hot flashes decreased 40% over the course of the 11-week study.

A 28% improvement was also seen in overall quality of life, with most women saying they were better able to cope with their hot flashes after the stress-reduction program.

Researcher James Carmody, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and colleagues say the results of this small study suggest mindfulness-based stress-reduction programs that include meditation may be feasible and effective in managing menopausal symptoms, and warrant further study.

Today on WebMD

woman walking outdoors
How to handle headaches, night sweats, and more.
mature woman holding fan in face
Symptoms and treatments.
woman hiding face behind hands
11 ways to keep skin bright and healthy.
Is it menopause or something else?
senior couple
mature woman shopping for produce
Alcohol Disrupting Your Sleep
mature couple on boat
mature woman tugging on her loose skin
senior woman wearing green hat
estrogen gene

WebMD Special Sections