This is an overview of CAM treatments that have been evaluated by CAM Cancer for hot flushes related to cancer treatment. The CAM treatments have been categorized according to the currently available level of evidence. Please click on the different categories to view an assessment of these treatments. Please note that this is not a list of recommended treatments.

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Introduction text (coming) for overview page of content related to hot flushes

At the time of assessment, the available evidence did not suggest positive effects for any of the treatments evaluated by CAM Cancer for this symptom, please view Evidence is inconclusive and Evidence suggests no effects.  


The available trial data for acupuncture in alleviating hot flushes are contradictory. A Cochrane review (n=16 RCTs, including 5 RCTs in cancer patients) found that acupuncture had a small effect on the severity but not the frequency of hot flushes in breast cancer patients. However, the results of the studies were inconsistent, and the quality of the evidence was considered to be low. The conclusions of eleven reviews published after the Cochrane review (ranging from two to 21 studies with mixed study designs) are contradictory, primarily due to differences in the interventions compared and the risk of bias.

Generally safe when administered by a professional qualified practitioner. Mild adverse effects, such as pain or bleeding at the site of acupuncture can be expected in about 10% of all cases. Serious complications seem to be very rare.

Read the full version of the Acupuncture summary.

Black cohosh

The available evidence is contradictory on the effect of black cohosh on hot flushes. The results are based on one SR (n=6 mixed study designs) and an additional RCT (n=85). In the SR, two uncontrolled trials and an open-label RCT found improvement on hot flushes; however, the remaining RCTs and cohort study found no significant difference. A subsequent open-label RCT had significant effects but had some methodological limitations.

Black cohosh is generally considered safe with only transient and mild adverse events. Case reports of hepatotoxicity associated with the use of black cohosh exists.

Read the full version of the Black cohosh summary. 


The available data are contradictory on the effect of hypnotherapy on hot flushes. Two RCTs (n=15, n=60) are available, one RCT (n=15) found no significant difference compared with Gabapentin, while the second RCT (n=60) found hot flushes were reduced with hypnotherapy compared with no treatment.

Generally considered safe when administered by qualified professionals. Contraindications include acute psychoses, severe personality disorders, and an inability to be hypnotized.

Read the full version of the Hypnotherapy summary.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Few trial data are available for the effect of PMR on hot flushes. One RCT (n=82) found a significant reduction in hot flushes.

Generally considered safe when administered by a qualified practitioner. Some concerns have been raised about the use of relaxation therapy interventions among individuals who have a history of psychiatric disorders.

Read the full version of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation summary.



The available evidence suggests homeopathy not to be effective for hot flushes. A SR (n=3 RCTs) concluded that there is no convincing evidence of a beneficial effect.

Generally safe, and there are no serious direct risks associated with homeopathy. There are indirect risks if homeopathic preparations are used in place of conventional cancer treatment.

Read the full version of the Homeopathy summary.


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