Mind-body therapies are commonly recommended to treat vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats (HFNS). The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the available evidence to date for the efficacy of different mind-body therapies to alleviate HFNS in healthy menopausal women and breast cancer survivors. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified using seven electronic search engines, direct searches of specific journals, and backwards searches through reference lists of related publications. Outcome measures included HFNS frequency and/or severity or self-reported problem rating at post-treatment. The methodological quality of all studies was systematically assessed using predefined criteria. 26 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Interventions included yoga (n=5), hypnosis (n=3), mindfulness (n=2), relaxation (n=7), paced breathing (n=4), reflexology (n=1) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (n=4). Findings were consistent for the effectiveness of CBT and relaxation therapies for alleviating troublesome vasomotor symptoms. For the remaining interventions, although some trials indicated beneficial effects (within groups) at post-treatment and/or follow up, between group findings were mixed and overall, methodological differences across studies failed to provide convincing supporting evidence. Collectively, findings suggest that interventions that include breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as CBT, can be beneficial for alleviating vasomotor symptoms. Additional large, methodologically rigorous trials are needed to establish the efficacy of interventions on vasomotor symptoms, examine long-term outcomes and understand how they work.
Bibliographical noteThis article has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology.
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology on 11 November 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0167482X.2016.1235147
- Hot flashes
- night sweats
- mind-body interventions
- vasomotor symptoms